Usually, one of the least enjoyable parts of going out to eat is paying the bill. With all of the creative ways you work to "wow" your customers, from signage to social media to redesigned spaces, what are you doing to impress guests at the close of their meal? We talked to a few operators who are thinking outside of the traditional check presenter.
Geraldine’s, on the fourth floor of the Hotel Van Zandt, in Austin, TX, delivers its checks inside vintage books (shown above) that highlight Texas history and Austin Music. Geraldine’s Director of Food & Beverage, Tobias Peach, says, “Guests love it and often comment on the books being a charming surprise at the end of their meal.”
At Honey Salt in Las Vegas, owner and founder Elizabeth Blau says that when Honey Salt first opened, they were looking for new ways to connect with friends and guests and chose notebooks as check presenters. “The notebooks started as just a fun and easy presenter, but soon guests were writing mini reviews, notes to servers and chefs, and it just kind of took off,” says Blau. “We have a whole cabinet of them in the office, and sometimes it’s great to flip through and be able to relive the stories of the restaurant. I much prefer them to reading Yelp reviews.”
Emory’s on Silver Lake in Everett, WA, uses a digital bill folder to cleverly disguise a high-tech RAIL payment terminal inside the otherwise normal looking check presenter. G.M. Robert Frost says the main reason they made the switch was for customer card security. “We didn’t want to be the restaurant that had a customer’s card information breached,” he says. “The system has helped us from both a labor standpoint and from an efficiency standpoint. It's made our table servers more efficient, and as a result, we're able to turn tables more quickly.”
Several restaurants in San Francisco are testing a new app called Saylii, which asks customers to share their experience via writing, voice recording or video at the time of check payment, according to Saylii c.e.o. Esther Kuperman. “We’re seeing that the restaurants are getting reviews from people who generally never post reviews,” says Kuperman. “Usually the ones who go on Yelp are either angry or love it; here we see many happy or neutral customers.”
More check delivery ideas
• Utilize branded wooden clipboards and attach postcards showcasing local artists or upcoming events at the restaurant.
• Use an item that represents your brand, such as a miniature pizza paddle, a mason jar, or a coffee cup to deliver the check.
• Attach the check to a personalized photo album that highlights the buildout—or history—of your restaurant.