TGI Friday's opens tech-equipped restaurant for commuters

Restaurant chain TGI Friday's has launched its inaugural 'fast track' restaurant in the UK, which has been designed to meet the dining and technology needs of busy commuters.

Opened at Manchester's Piccadilly Station on Wednesday (6 August), the restaurant aims to serve main meals to visitors within ten minutes of their order – as well as allow them to check and charge their mobile devices through the provision of Wi-Fi, power sockets and USB charging points.

It's the first TGI Friday's outlet of its kind to open in the UK, and it comes with an open-plan kitchen that allows guests to see their food being cooked.

Jane Sadler, general manager for TGI Friday's Manchester Piccadilly, commented: "It's a great pleasure to be opening the first of Fridays' 'fast track' restaurants, and it couldn't be a more perfect location than in one of the busiest railway stations in the country."

The nod towards tech by TGI Friday's comes as a number of the larger global food chains trial new mobile technologies with the aim of enhancing the customer experience.

McDonald's and Pizza Hut are among the companies trialling the use of interactive table solutions, while Dunkin' Donuts said recently that it is confident of growing its business through digital initiatives such as its mobile app, which includes payment and loyalty features.

It is a competitive marketplace for tech firms looking to provide the tools required to help retailers and hospitality companies achieve their new digital goals, and another new partnership was announced earlier this week.

Mobile payments company Zapper has partnered with point of sale (PoS) systems provider Mypos to bring a new integrated mobile payments service to the latter's restaurant clients.

QR codes will be printed on bills, and diners can then use their free Zapper app to scan and pay their bills without having to wait for a card terminal. As well as providing a quick payment method for customers, the system allows the business to captures customer details they can use in follow-up marketing campaigns.

James Hole, business development manager for Mypos, said: "We have utilised Zapper's QR code technology to complement our traditional and mobile PoS applications, in providing a simple, fast and secure way to pay.

"At peak times of service, time is of the essence and with the use of Zapper, customers can pay the bill at their own convenience without any reliance on calling the waiting staff to the table."

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