It’s the end of a meal and the waiter places a discreet leather bill holder on the edge of the table. In goes the card, back comes the receipt. Before the customer signs, they think about the service they’ve had. Do they want to show some extra appreciation for the meal and service? All it takes is two seconds to write a figure on the receipt before they sign with a flourish. It’s not very secure, but it’s oh-so easy.

This loss of simplicity is the reason why John Hart, CEO of Restaurant and Catering says that payment with PIN only (coming in to effect on 1 August 2014) is the biggest change to the hospitality industry since the introduction of the GST. While PIN authorisation will increase security, it will also take away the elegance and familiarity of signing to pay.

Customers will have to get used to the change, but tips will be affected. They’re a valuable source of income for hospitality workers, but the tipping culture in Australia means some coaxing is necessary. With PIN payments, the process of tipping will be less streamlined, so customers may tip less – or worse, not at all.

You could overcome this by employing clever methods. Coach your staff on building rapport. Leave mints at the end of the meal. Or you can focus on the crucial moment when the card leaves the wallet. Think about it: if you make tipping easy at point of payment, then getting rid of signatures shouldn’t affect how your customers say thank you.

So when August 1st rolls round, use these five tips to improve tips:

  1. Keep your customers at the table

    There are fast and friendly cafes where people queue up to order and pay. No problem with that, but there’s no impetus to tip. Then there are long, lazy dinners. This is where table service matters. It’s also where tips come in to the equation, but only if you’re providing just that: service. Forming a queue to settle the bill after a delicious meal with matching wines? It doesn’t seem right. And if the experience feels cheap, it’ll be reflected in the tip amount. Solve this problem and make your customers feel special with wireless, mobile terminals that can be brought to the table.

  2. Make tipping private

    When Chip and PIN was rolled out in the UK, tips fell by 15%. Without the discretion of that little leather bill-holder, tipping (or lack thereof) becomes more obvious. No one likes someone hovering over their shoulder while they’re deciding on a tip! The best way to make your diners comfortable is to use mobile wireless EFTPOS terminals. That way staff can leave the terminal at the table while they attend to someone else – no hovering necessary.

  3. Make split bills a no-brainer

    A group dinner finishes and, of course, everyone wants to split the bill. Mobile terminals will take care of this, but if each person in a large group pays separately, you’ll feel the clock ticking. Add up slow payments over a whole night and less tables will be turned. This means less customers and of course – less tips! If your terminal has a smart ‘tap, tip and go’ function for amounts under 100 dollars, payment will be even faster than signing. And with no-brainer prompts that split bills and ask for a tip from each person, your staff will still get rewarded for their hard work.

  4. Don’t keep your customer waiting

    It’s the end of lunch hour on a Friday and four tables want to pay – at the same time. No need to panic. If you’ve thought ahead, your EFTPOS terminal should be integrated with your restaurant management system. Integration means that you can handle multiple payments and your Point of Sale won’t ever be locked down by another bill that’s being processed. So keep your customers in a good mood – and ready to tip – with prompt service every time.

  5. Simple payments make staff happy

    If your POS is integrated with your terminal, it makes payment faster and eliminates room for error. Your staff won’t need to worry about keying mistakes on a busy Saturday night. And restaurant managers will spend less time on reconciliation. So your staff will be more relaxed, and when your staff are happy, it’s reflected in how they deal with customers. Service with a smile means the tips will go up and you won’t wear losses from re-keying errors.

Integrated mobile payments

The easiest way to employ all five tips (to get more tips) is to make sure you have Tyro’s Integrated Pay@Table solution. Contact Tyro or your POS vendor before August 1 2014 so you can keep your staff happy and the tips flowing.