How much does Pay at the Table cost?

It can be very difficult to budget for a pay at the table solution because there is so much to look at and so little is found online. This article is a cost comparison of four different pay at the table solutions: QR Code on Receipt, Fixed QR Codes on the table, Handheld Tablets, Tablets on the table. This article does not compare the pros and cons of each. If you are looking to understand what the value is of each of these solutions read here. Cost is not the only thing to consider and one solution will not work for every restaurant. That being said cost can be a critical decision for you and knowing some basic costs ahead of time may narrow down what you look at.

QR Code on the Receipt

We will start with the best price, FREE! Well kinda… It depends what point of sale you are using. With COVID-19 every company jumped in to help in a different way. We saw many point of sales include QR codes for payment on a bill as a free upgrade. If you happen to be in the market for a new point of sale this could be a great option. Before you take the company’s word for it be sure to ask them where they have a customer using this and try it yourself. As many companies made this software “free” they didn’t put a lot of money into development or thought into how it might be used. The most common mistakes we saw are:

It only works with iphones- missing 40% of your guests

It didn’t work at all- we got an error message

They make the guest download an app to use it resulting in NO ONE using it

Fixed QR Code on the Table

These are offered by third party companies like Taby and you will find that most of the costs are a small monthly subscription more similar to something you would pay for online ordering. Taby’s price is $150 location / month and a one time fee of $10/ QR code. Unlike the QR code on the reciept this works as a self checkout solution (like Table tablets). The reason this is still one of the lowest cost solutions is because the guest carries the hardware and network costs with their smartphone. You can find Taby Pricing here. Some things to consider when looking at different providers:

Do they integrate with your POS?

These QR codes will be on your table. How do they look in your restaurant? Do they have options or room for customization?

Handheld Tablets

Handheld tablets typically have a purchase cost and some sort of monthly subscription cost. A tablet that can take orders and do payments runs around $600 one time and about $40-$50 per month. A Restaurant with 35 tables should budget $5,500 to purchase and install. You will need one of these for each of your wait staff working. A few things to look out for when shopping for these:

If the tablet advertises order taking does it work with your POS?

Your wait staff are busy, they will drop these and eventually they will break. Keep an extra $600-$1,200/ year available for when this happens.

Make sure your wireless network is PCI compliant for credit card security and that you have strong signal in all parts of your restaurant. Things like stone walls, backsplash or metal beams destroy wifi signal and you may need to spend additional money to deploy a quality secure network. A good Meraki system can cost around $5,000 per location installed and will cost between $60-$100 per month billed annually.

Tablets on the Table

This is the Ferrari of pay at the Table when it comes to cost but there is so much information from publicly traded companies that show they make a return on their investment in less than a year. Ziosk is the clear leader of tablets on the table. Before you even consider looking at tablets know that most tablet providers will require a minimum of five locations to even take your restaurant on as a customer. This is because your restaurant will need to have a full time IT person dedicated to helping you manage or troubleshoot issues. It is often difficult to determine if a tablet is not working. Is it power? Network interference? Damage from a drop? Is it covered by a warranty? They want your restaurant to do some preliminary boots on the ground work when troubleshooting problems.

When you shop for these you will find pricing is all over the place but it is not on their website! This makes it hard to shop for and pricing will vary a lot depending on how that business is doing and how big your restaurant is. For a restaurant with 35 tables you can expect to see $20,000-$50,000 for purchase and installation. Some tablet vendors have been able to offset these prices by offering paid games on the tablets therefore lowering the costs of initial purchase and pushing the cost onto your guests. Monthly you can expect to pay between $250-$350 per location for the software that runs on the tablets. Keep in mind that your internet provider wifi won’t cut it, you will need a solid Mesh network that is also PCI compliant. You should plan for $5,000 for an installation with hardware and about $60- $100/ month billed annually. Some locations report one to two tablets breaking each month resulting in an extra $500- $1,000 per month in hardware costs depending on how your agreement handles these costs. With hardware there are always costs, the question is will you cover these costs or push some of them off to your guests at your restaurant?

Why is Taby so much cheaper than Ziosk?

Taby gives your guests the same self checkout experience that Ziosk offers with their tablets however Taby is a SaaS (software as a service) offering which means they don’t carry the same costs that Ziosk carries. See the image below that explains.

Related Articles:
Compare 4 common Pay at the Table Solutions
Taby vs Ziosk and why Taby is 4% of the cost