Steak ‘n Shake Partners With PopPay as More Restaurants Try Biometric Payments

Steak n Shake Teams With PopPay as Restaurants Try Biometrics

As restaurants look to meet consumers’ demand for quick, convenient payments with stored credentials — and to gather more consumer data in in-store transactions — more brands are trying out biometric payments. Casual dining chain Steak ‘n Shake is the latest to test the technology.

The restaurant brand, which has more than 500 locations around the world, announced Friday (June 23) that it is deploying payments technology company PopID’s pay-by-face capabilities at select locations, with plans to expand it to 300 restaurants.

“Our partnership with PopID is a key part of our effort to provide guests with a fast and seamless ordering experience,” Steak n Shake Chief Information Officer Keith Correia said in a statement. “When using PopID Check In, a guest does not need to use their phone or take out their wallet as part of the ordering process. They will automatically be checked in for loyalty rewards, and they can choose to make an automated payment with PopPay.”

The opt-in capability enables loyalty members to access their loyalty rewards by scanning their face at self-service ordering kiosks and, if they so choose, to pay by face scan as well. The technology can also pull up past purchase information for more convenient reordering.

Restaurant customers seek out the opportunity to pay with stored credentials, as findings from PYMNTS’ study “How We Pay Digitally: Stored Credentials Edition,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), revealed. The study, which drew from a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, found that 62% had made digital restaurant purchases with stored credentials in the previous month, while only 56% had done so with credentials entered manually.

With this pay-by-face technology, PopID is slowly integrating biometric payments into more kinds of restaurants and foodservice venues. For example, last year, the company partnered with Levy Restaurants to bring the technology to San Diego’s Pachanga Arena’s concessions stands, and in 2021, the tech firm teamed up with automated boba bar startup Bobacino.

In an interview with PYMNTS at the time, Darian Ahler, the boba bar’s CEO, said one of the key advantages of the technology is its ability to integrate data-informed personalized recommendations into the purchasing process.

“In some cases, if you’re a repeat customer, it’ll say, ‘Hey … I saw you got the Matcha Matcha last time. Do you want that again?’” Ahler explained. “It speeds up that ordering process, as well as … garnering that loyalty.”

Overall, biometric payments are increasingly making their way into the restaurant industry. Panera Bread, for instance, the St. Louis-based fast-casual brand with more than 2,100 locations across the U.S. and Canada, announced this spring that it is rolling out Amazon One pay-by-palm capabilities for rewards members.

In a conversation with PYMNTS, George Hanson, the brand’s senior vice president and chief digital officer, explained how the technology is part of the chain’s broader loyalty strategy.

“We … said, ‘For this to really be impactful in our business, we really need to take the scale and the opportunity that [Amazon is] presenting around the payment side and merge that with an ability to for loyalty identification,” Hanson said.