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Wagamama lets restaurant patrons pay for meals via mobile app

Wagamama, a British pan-Asian casual restaurant chain, is teaming up with MasterCard to let customers use a mobile application to pay for meals, adding speed and convenience to the dining experience.

The Qkr! app with MasterPass will let customers who are in a hurry pay as soon as they wish. The app, now available to use in 112 wagamama restaurants in the United Kingdom, points to the mobile mind shift’s role in raising consumer expectations for the service industry.

“Wagamama food gets served hot off the wok and as fresh as possible, still steaming and still sizzling,” said Andre Johnstone, head of digital and loyalty for wagamama, London. “Our customers don’t like waiting for their food and they shouldn’t have to wait for their bill either.”

Easy and convenient
Qkr! with MasterPass app is an easy payment service to use. First, the consumer downloads the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Next he or she signs up by filling in the details.

When the customer is ready to use the app, he or she checks in with the chosen wagamama restaurant, requiring Internet connectivity.

Ensuring speedy bill-paying.

The patron then receives a code to present to the waiter. The code links the bill on the retailer till to the patron’s table and shows up on the app.

The code also can be used to split the bill if one is eating with others.

Next, the customer selects what he or she has eaten for checkout. Once a receipt is provided within the app, the customer may leave the restaurant.

Customers register with any payment card, not just a MasterCard. Downloading the app means customers’ transactions will receive the protection of MasterCard, which processes 65,000 secure transactions a minute.

Wagamama’s app has undergone extensive testing to ensure customers can make faster and more convenient payments, whether on their own or in a group.

The need to put customers in control of payments reflects heightened expectations related to the mobile revolution and growing prevalence of smartphones in modern culture.

Overall sentiment around mobile payments is on an upward trend. Last year, 94 percent of global conversations on the topic were favorable, compared with 77 percent in 2013 and 70 percent in 2012, MasterCard informed Mobile World Congress 2015 this week in Barcelona, Spain.

More than one-third of consumers are more likely to access technology-related functions in restaurants than they were two years ago, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.

With the rise of functionalities such as mobile ordering, mobile payments and redeeming rewards on smartphones, restaurants are able to market more efficiently to consumers, especially millennials that use mobile devices most frequently.

Increasing options
The rising usage of technology in restaurants can be attributed to increased options, especially with large brands incorporating Apple Pay and other mobile wallets.

Meeting mobile-raised expectations.

However, some consumers still prefer to interact directly with restaurant employees, proving that the restaurant industry must carefully intertwine technology with hospitality, a sector where human communication is imperative.

“Wagamama teamed up with MasterCard so customers can pay when they are ready, using their mobile in-restaurant,” Mr. Mather said. “They don’t have to wait for the bill or the card machine and they can now leave the restaurant when they are ready and without waiting.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York