The 2011 Contactless Monkey Awards Finalists – High Throughput Food

For our third and last group for this week we have the famous High Throughput Food category, and we’re not talking about egg and chips being slung around in some greasy café somewhere north of Watford Gap. No, this high throughput food is take-away, nutritious and healthy (our finalists tell us so).

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;

Well, up first, it’s EAT (UK) and they are being nominated for their take-away service and their use of contactless technology in the process. 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, first at 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.

Up next it’s the home of the Whopper – Burger King. Burger King operates throughout Europe, with contactless acceptance already enabled in Turkey. In the UK it has about 64 company owned outlets and 419 franchised outlets. Up to the start of 2010 in the UK it had accepted cards but via  ‘swipe and signature’ only.

Whilst the business case for acceptance of cards via Chip & PIN was ‘strong’ the incremental cost for adding contactless was significant. However, Burger King clearly understood the benefits of contactless payments and the ‘vision’ of these payments migrating to mobile. It, therefore, took the decision to include contactless as part of the migration to Chip & PIN. All the company owned sites went live in 2010 including acceptance of contactless at the drive-thru.

The approach Burger King take to rollout across all sites is to start with the company owned sites and then ‘enforce / sell’ it to the franchised outlets. Already in the UK there is very strong interest from the franchised outlets. Concurrently, Burger King are looking at contactless acceptance in Italy & Spain. It has made card and contactless acceptance much more ‘prominent’ to the consumers resulting in better ‘customer journey’ and removing some the ‘stress’ at the point of purchase. You could say that they decided to ‘have it their way’, (i know, I know…)

Then we have Prêt à Manger (UK). For those who have been living on the Moon for the past decade, let’s introduce Prêt once more. Prêt creates handmade natural food to take away in 225 stores (less than 5% of those are outside of London). Contactless technology was originally trialed in 7 stores across London, before the company took the decision to rollout the technology across all their stores by April 2009.

Prêt is a high profile brand name that got behind contactless payment right from the start, rolling the technology out across all their sites and is now the largest contactless customer for the acquiring bank. Prêt tells us that the new technology improves the speed of transaction for the customers and that over 1400 contactless readers have been implemented within their sites. They also tell us that in terms of usage contactless currently equates to 5% of all card transactions.

The actual winner will be announced on the 14th April at the awards dinner in London. Will you be there? We’ll provide the food….