UK adults now spend the equivalent of an entire day each week online, a report from communications regulator Ofcom revealed earlier this year. In fact Britons are so addicted to their smartphones that they check them every 12 minutes.
So it comes as no surprise that burger chain Byron has begun rolling out a new payment bot to its restaurant sites, which enables customers to pay for their bill using Facebook Messenger.
Chains have been increasingly dabbling in ways to make paying the bill easier, with Wagamama launching an app earlier this year which it described as “Uber for diners” as it allowed Brits to walk in order, eat and then go. Research has shown that waiting for the bill longer for 10 minutes frustrates customers.
The Byron ‘bot’
But Byron is taking things a step further. The new option works by the customer opening Facebook Messenger, selecting the Byron restaurant location and entering the table number. The bill is recalled from the system and displayed in Messenger for the customer to approve and pay with one click. Customers can also split the bill via Messenger.
Hospitality tech company Flyt created the ‘bot’ behind this technology and reckons it could soon become the norm in restaurant chains across the UK.
Steve de Polo, managing director of Byron said: “We have previously provided our customers with the ability to pay and leave when they want via our own app. This latest innovation using Facebook Messenger further decreases the friction for giving our guests control in how they choose to pay.
“We’re proud to be the first to roll out this service and are in the process of making it available across our restaurants.”
The tech is currently being used at Byron’s Farringdon, Holborn and Central St Giles sites.
However, the bot was first piloted by Mexican chain Wahaca earlier this year, with 14.5% of payments made in restaurants using the ‘bot’.
Tom Weaver, CEO, Flyt commented: “Most pay-at-table experiences are app-powered so the diner has to download the restaurant’s app in order to pay. But this bot makes pay-at-table easily accessible as Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion monthly active users worldwide.
“It’s the perfect example of how relatively simple tech can be used to improve the customer experience and draw more people to your restaurant. Plus, this tech also makes it possible for smaller QSRs to support pay-at-table without having to build their own apps.”
The bot first made its debut at the F8 Facebook’s Developer conference in May where it was showcased as one of Facebook’s favourite applications of its bot technology.
At the time Heath Black, product manager at Facebook Messenger, said: “It’s a great example. The wait staff are seeing tips 15% to 20% higher than they normally do. Not only is the Messenger experience helping businesses; it’s also helping the people that keep businesses running.”