Smart phone

Pay by Phone: Michelin restaurants sign up to Apple Pay

The steady march of Apple Pay continues. Very soon you’ll be able to pay for your meals at a few of London’s premier restaurants using your iPhone.

Chains such as Starbucks, Pret a Manger and Wagamama were quick to sign up for Apple’s eWallet solution when it was launched, but upmarket eating establishments did not initially seem keen.

However, as these days the consumer usually gets what the consumer wants, the following Michelin-starred restaurants have decided to start allowing diners to pay for their meals by phone:

• Lima
• Lima Floral
• Comptoir Gascon
• Opso
• Salmontini
• Chisou

Apple Pay was launched in the UK in mid-July this year. Users download an update to their phone which links their Apple device to their bank account or credit card. Plenty of UK finance providers signed up for Apple Pay as soon as they heard the system was to be launched in the UK (it has already been running in the US for several months – the UK was the first country outside of the US where Apple Pay was launched), although some – including Barclays – did not. Users can use their phone in the same way that some credit and debit cards can be used for contactless payment at chip and pin terminals. Transactions can be confirmed and verified by the use of Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint recognition system.

Customers are able to pay via Apple Pay if they have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ or an Apple Watch. Mobile payment is expected to continue to rise in popularity, with twenty million users generating over £15 billion of revenue by 2018.

Hugely responsible for this change in attitude towards Apple Pay has been Apple’s partnership with the Uncover app. This app allows customers to make last minute bookings at some of London’s top restaurants.

“The billing process – from receiving the request from the customer, to the customer actually paying is dramatically reduced thanks to mobile payments,” said Dan Ziv, the head of product at Uncover. “This will allow wait staff to focus on other areas of service rather than the rigmarole around payments.”

Several eateries have welcomed Apple’s eWallet innovation. “We have always been technology forward and it is clear that mobile payments are the wave of the future, as consumers will expect to have a seamless end-of-night experience,” said Gabriel Gonzalez, the managing director at both Lima and Lima Floral.

Uncover, which was only launched five months ago, says it has so far delivered revenues of over £650,000 to the 275 restaurants registered with the service, and hopes that the partnership with Apple Pay will see this figure greatly increase.

“There is already an expectation from diners that the best restaurants will accept mobile payments,” said Uncover’s Ziv. “We are getting ahead of the curve by providing a unique point of difference for both customers using the app, as well as our roster of restaurants who are acknowledging the demand for this functionality.”