If the launch of Apple Pay wasn’t enough to convince you that paying with your phone is a growing trend, a new partnership between beacon maker Gimbal and payment facilitator Tillster might.
Tillster provides software and other tools to enable self-ordering and checkout at big corporate restaurants. Its list of clients include Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Boston Market, Zaxby’s, and McAlister’s Deli. If you’ve ever placed an order through the California Pizza Kitchen mobile app, Tillster enabled that transaction.
Earlier this year, Tillster rolled out the ability to pay for your meal at your table via mobile app. The app links to your tab in a restaurant point of sale and lets you reorder food you’ve already ordered and pay at the table without interacting with a waiter. However, it wasn’t as seamless as it could be. For that, Tillster needed to a way to track the consumer as soon as they walked in the door — this is where beacons comes into the picture.
Gimbal’s beacons, which communicate directly with your mobile phone, allow Tillster to alert a restaurant as soon as you walk through the door and take the appropriate next step before you even get to the table. For instance, it enables consumers to walk into a restaurant, get seated, and then start ordering without ever talking to a waitress.
Beacons will also expand the restaurant’s ability to push coupons and deals to customers when they’re not in the restaurant. In example, a restaurant could set up a coupon that gets pushed to a customer around lunchtime if they are within a hundred feet of it.
A number of startups, like Cover and Dash, have already created apps that let consumers pay for a meal from their phone; Cover even uses beacons to enable mobile checkout. However, those apps have focused on individual restaurants in major cities. Tillster is enabling mobile payments in restaurants for the rest of the country by focusing on chains.