Mobile Commerce

Outback Steakhouse Beefs Up With Mobile Payments

Dining chain Outback Steakhouse is on track to release a smartphone app by the end of the year that will let customers pay their tabs at the table, with the help of their smart devices.

Nation’s Restaurant News said Tuesday (Aug. 4) that executives from Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of the chain, unveiled the plans that day during a conference call with analysts. The site said that the app will look to help streamline the customer experience, with the app enabling diners to run the gamut from registering for the waitlist to paying at the table at the meal’s conclusion.

During the call with analysts, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, Liz Smith, the chief executive officer of Bloomin’ Brands, said that the company has “been working on the app for a long time.”

And, noted the executive, the app will have a second iteration, with as-yet-to-be-defined additional functionality.

Outback now joins a roster of restaurant chains that have been working with apps to get customer turnover and profits to increase — along with dining satisfaction, of course. Among the peers that have already ventured down the app road are Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and Chili’s Grill & Bar, which have brought tablets to the table in order to streamline bill payments. Other firms are looking to bring that concept to fruition, noted Nation’s Restaurant News, specifically mentioning the Buffalo Wild Wings chain.

For Outback, the elimination of “pain points” starts with the experience before actually getting to the table (i.e., the waitlist) and then hastening the process of settling the bill. In industry terms, waiting for the table and waiting for the check represent the parts of the dining experience that are among the least pleasurable moments for the diners themselves.


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