The agony of a five minute wait

22-12-16 14:50 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

I have long been frustrated by the whole process of paying in restaurants. In a busy place, it can take quite a while to actually settle the bill and leave. 

As a technology geek, I can’t help but feel there must be a better way. Particularly when the waiter is dealing with a point of sale system and a backend food ordering system that, theoretically, my phone should be able to communicate with directly. 

And this is becoming reality now. A little while ago, Mastercard introduced a service called “QKR” in the United Kingdom. It was readily adopted by the Asian-fusion restaurant chain, Wagamama.  

The idea behind the service is simple: You show the unique number from the app to the waiter, they check you in – and boom! – you can now order items from the app directly to your seat. Then, when you’re finished, you can check-out and pay in a few taps. Simple as that!

This simplifies the restaurant experience  so much. I now prioritise any restaurant with these types of functionalities, especially when I’m with my wife and young boys. As any parent of hyperactive children knows, the ability to exit a restaurant at the ‘right time’ is a prized feature. 

I tend to find myself in some low-level agony when I have to wait around to be served at restaurants without these functionalities. Equally, when it comes to get the bill, I’m finding – more and more – that I don’t have the patience to wait around anymore. 

Thanks to innovations, such as QKR at Wagamama, I’m now resetting my expectations completely, and not waiting to order or to pay is becoming the new normal. I was happy waiting to get the bill a year ago. Today, that five minute wait is agony. 

This is what we’re dealing with every day here at Nordea: The pace of customer expectation is shifting fast – so much that existing processes can become new agonies really quickly –  particularly in this rapidly evolving digital world. Our challenge is to identify and solve these new agonies swiftly and – ideally – inspire and delight our customers in the process. 

Can I get the bill please?

/Ewan Macleod, Chief Digital Officer at Nordea. Follow me on Twitter: @Ew4n

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