Introducing the 2011 CMA finalists – In Restaurant Dining.

Don’t be fooled by the new name. We may have gone upscale in our new TLA but the CMA’s are still the Monkeys (now the Contactless Monkey Awards). For the next few weeks, we’re turning the blog over to Contactless Intelligence and letting them do the run down of the categories and nominations for the 2011 Contactless Monkey Awards, sponsored by VISA Europe. Both here on the Krowne blog and on C-I.TV we’re going to give more information about the categories and the final nominees in these categories.

Today – In Restaurant Dining.

This category rewards those companies who have done the most to promote and install contactless technology into their franchises and restaurants – both in the background or foreground and especially in terms of payment. Our three nominees this time are all from the UK and are;

  • McDonalds (UK)
  • Baxter Storey (UK)
  • EAT (UK)

Let’s look at the finalists.

First up it’s McDonalds. This company is the premier Quick Service Restaurant brand in the world. In addition to the standard quick service food offering McDonald’s now also supplies breakfast to millions of people every day. The vast majority of the transactions taken are under £15 which means that this is an ideal environment in which to implement Contactless Payments and gain the benefits of speed and convenience.

McDonald’s has recently changed every component of the Cashless Payment System – this commenced with Phase One which was the replacement of the card payment software. In Phase Two all of the PIN Entry Devices (PEDs) have been replaced with Contactless enabled units from Ingenico. Phase Three enhances the software with a new, groundbreaking approach to Contactless payments – McDonald’s will be the first retailer in the UK to implement Contactless nationally on the latest VISA NFC 2.1.1 specifications.
The POS automatically detects that a transaction is a candidate for Contactless payment, i.e. £15 or less, and enables the PED accordingly. The customer is alerted to the fact that Contactless can be used by the display of the universal Contactless “ripple” symbol on the PED.

Previous implementations of Contactless payment by other retailers have suffered from lack of knowledge on the part of the staff and the customer. This has been managed internally within McDonald’s through extensive restaurant management training and unique marketing materials to educate the customer.

The McDonald’s implementation puts the information in the eye line of the customer and primes the device so that no additional action is required on the part of the McDonald’s crew member. Consequently it becomes as easy to complete a contactless transaction as it is to do a Chip and PIN transaction. This has made the behaviour change in the customer (as great as that for the introduction of Chip and PIN) easy to accomplish.

There are around 1200 restaurants to be found in a variety of locations, with 8000 contactless devices installed and their intention is to increase the pace of acquisitions with a target of 30 new restaurant openings per year from 2010, which will create up to 1800 new job opportunities annually. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) launched a touch-and-go card allowing cardholders to pay for everyday items worth less than £10, with the combination of a Formula 1 team and a McDonalds drive-thru in London playing host to the first public payment in UK. Any globally issued VISA or MasterCard contactless card can be used in the system.

As an early adopter, McDonalds has been able to pursue its much quoted initial experience “For every 6 seconds saved at the POS you can realise a 1% increase in sales”

Baxter Storey is our second nominated finalist and also hail from the UK. They are an independent contract caterer in the UK and have also participated in the Barclaycard in-house contactless trial in their Northampton offices. Baxter Storey has also fully supported contactless technology from the outset, amending and adjusting their working practices to allow the development of contactless technology from its inception. At present there are four Barclays sites that are contactless/cashless; London (3 tills with around 10,000 staff), Birmingham (500 staff), Northampton (5 tills, around 3,000 staff), Westwood (1250 staff), Wavertree (1400 staff), Poole (1200 staff), Kirby (600 staff) and Radbroke (2700 staff). All of these sites no longer accept cash but offer guaranteed contactless customers on site, especially as often there are no alternative catering facilities in the vicinity. Pricing of food and drink is kept competitive to encourage spend from Barclays employees who can either load a pre-paid eWallet on their employee IDs or pay with their standard Barclaycard contactless debit/credit cards.

As well as these 9 sites with retail catering facilities, there is a total of 18 sites with catering & vending facilities with employees travelling from site to site.

Last, but not least is EAT (UK).

EAT serve sandwiches, soups and snacks prepared by hand to take away at around 100 stores throughout London, serving about 350,000 customers per week and with an average transaction value of less than £10, provide ideal conditions for contactless technology implementation. EAT first implemented contactless in 2008, for the Moorgate branch before rolling out on a wider scale through their other branches.

EAT are credited with being one of the original companies to adopt contactless technology. They were the first to introduce Contactless as a fully integrated solution with till software and have been proactive and willing to build awareness of the technology, by supporting contactless retailer forums and have been happy to share their experiences with others. EAT have also run a number of contactless promotional campaigns. The company is working with Barclays and a number of other solutions providers on NFC customer loyalty schemes. The company employed a 2-phase deployment to contactless payment rollouts . Phase 1 targeted 25 stores in London and phase 2 (completed February 2010) rolled out contactless payments to 75 stores nationally.

So there are our three nominees in the In Restaurant Dining category. The winner? Well, you’re going to have to check back here on the 14th April (say about 11:00pm GMT), when all winners will be announced. Until then…