Tuesday , August 20, 2019

AmEx Acquires Resy Reservation Platform; Shift4 Unveils Pay-at-Table System

Payments firms continue to strengthen their offerings in the dining sector as evidenced by Wednesday’s announcements from American Express Co., which said it had acquired reservation platform provider Resy Network Inc., and Shift4 Payments, which is launching a pay-at-table system called SkyTab and providing it to new merchants at no cost.

Founded in 2014, New York City-based Resy offers  software for restaurants that includes table management, customer relationship management, and booking, as well as a consumer-facing restaurant reservation mobile app and Web site. Resy currently works with approximately 4,000 restaurants in 154 U.S. cities and 10 countries, seating more than 2.6 million diners a week, AmEx said.

AmEx said the acquisition will support its growing list of “digital-first” benefits and services for its cardholders, and drive volume for its restaurant merchants.

“Resy was created to both connect people who love dining out with new, notable, and hard-to-get-into restaurants across the globe, as well as help restaurants’ businesses grow and thrive,” said Chris Cracchiolo, AmEx’s senior vice president of global loyalty and benefits, in a news release. “We look forward to working with the Resy team to continue to grow the Resy digital platform, and develop new ways to further connect our cardmembers and restaurant partners through unique access and experiences.”

American Express expects the acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, to close this summer. AmEx also said it is working with other firms it recently acquired—personal travel assistant app Mezi; British dining reservation platform Cake Technologies; airport lounge location and booking platform LoungeBuddy, and Japanese restaurant-reservation platform Pocket Concierge—to develop a suite of new digital capabilities for its cardholders.

Meanwhile, Allentown, Pa.-based merchant processor Shift4 Payments said its new SkyTab pay-at-table terminal and software integrates with various point-of-sale systems, including the company’s Harbortouch, Restaurant Manager, Future POS and POSitouch software brands, as well as Oracle Hospitality, formerly known as Micros. More integration partners will be announced soon, Shift4 said. SkyTab also integrates with Shift4’s Lighthouse business-management system, the company’s back-end POS management and reporting portal.

The SkyTab device from Shift4 Payments. (Image credit: Shift4 Payments)

In addition to payment acceptance, SkyTab also will prompt diners to rate their service at the end of the transaction. If the rating is below a predetermined threshold, a text-message alert will be sent to management immediately, enabling the restaurant to address unhappy customers and resolve their concerns before they leave to prevent negative online reviews, Shift4 said in a news release.

Shift4 was a pioneer in the free POS terminal wave that swept the merchant-acquiring industry more than a decade ago. While some observers criticized the tactic for its corrosive effect on industry profits, Shift4 believes its use with SkyTab could help it book new restaurant clients. New Shift4 restaurants can get more than one free SkyTab per location, a spokesperson tells Digital Transactions News. The cost for existing merchants is $149 per device.

“Although pay-at-the-table is standard practice throughout the rest of the world, it has struggled to gain any sort of widespread adoption in the U.S.,” Shift4 chief executive Jared Isaacman said in the release. “The efficiency and security benefits are undeniable, but the high cost of these devices has hindered adoption. SkyTab is the U.S. payment industry’s first pay-at-the-table solution at a price point that makes it really compelling for restaurants.”

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