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Pei Wei expands Apple Pay acceptance following successful pilot

Fast-casual restaurant chain Pei Wei has expanded acceptance of Apple Pay to all of its nearly 200 locations following a successful pilot in 16 outposts last month, underscoring the growing demand for mobile payments among diners.

Apple Pay is the first step into mobile payments for the chain, which offers a made-to-order Asian-inspired menu. Pei Wei has found that Apple Pay is helping it to increase customer service and restaurant efficiency by enabling locations to safely and quickly process transactions.

“The success of our pilot affirmed our decision to rollout Apple Pay to our nearly 200 restaurants nationwide,” said Clay Dover, chief brand officer at Pei Wei. “We observed a high percentage of overall transactions coming from Apple Pay as well as increased efficiency at our registers.

“Apple Pay is functionality that our guests not only want but expect,” he said. “As a company we aim to be the first choice in Fast Casual for our guests and by implementing Apple Pay and other technology solutions, we believe we are and will continue to meet and surpass the expectations of our guests.”

Efficient payments
Pei Wei launched Apple Pay acceptance as a pilot in its 16 Phoenix area restaurants in July. The technology became available at all of Pei Wei registers nationwide on Aug. 4, 2015.

The Apple Pay implementation follows the company’s investment in new payment terminals, pin pad devices and point-to-point encryption.

To use Apple Pay, Pei Wei diners hold their iPhone near the contactless reader while keeping a finger on Touch ID. If they are using Apple Watch, they can double-click the side button and hold the face up to the contactless reader. A subtle vibration and beep will let them know the payment was accepted and verified.

Apple Pay authorizes transactions with a one-time unique dynamic security code to protect diners’ information.

Loyalty launch
The launch of Apple Pay at Pei Wei follows the chain’s introduction of a digital loyalty program last month.

My Wei Rewards members earn 10 points for every dollar spent at Pei Wei and are able redeem them for a free entrée once they reach 1,000 points, with 500 points earned upon signing up. Other bonus point opportunities will be presented throughout the year.

Members also receive exclusive benefits such as advance tastings, access to members-only special events and unique experiences, plus a free surprise during their birthday month.

To earn and redeem points, members provide their phone number at the register.

Pei Wei sees Apple Pay as the first step in its mobile payments journey and will continue to explore other methods.

“Mobile payments are transforming point-of-purchase and as the technology continues to catch on, it will play an increasingly important role in helping us serve our guests with speed and ease,” Mr. Dover said.

“We’re currently investigating other payment options to give our guests even more flexibility to use their preferred method of payment,” he said.

“In order to meet and surpass the expectations of our guests, we believe we must continue to explore and optimize our mobile presence. Mobile payments is a foundational piece in how we transform this presence.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York