The Peterbrooke Chocolatier has a new recipe for mobile payments: it's blending Apple Pay with NCR's order-ahead and mobile point of sale technology to engage its customers in a new way.

The appeal of Apple Pay is that it is available to any merchant that wants to accept it, no matter how small, said Jeff Smith, chief operating officer of Peterbrooke, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based company that has about two dozen locations in the Southeast. "A lot of times these new payment and merchant platforms are rolled out to just the big guys," he said.

Merchant preference is expected to play a major role in how Apple Pay and other mobile payment options co-exist.  Some large retailers have shut off Apple Pay in favor of the merchant-backed CurentC wallet, which is still under development.

But Apple Pay pairs well with tablet-based point of sale devices, which are favored by small merchants, Smith said. Peterbrooke is using the NCR Silver mobile point of sale system and the Silver Sidewalk app, which has an order-ahead feature that supports Apple Pay as a payment option on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The service, which also and also includes customer loyalty programs, is free until Jan 1, 2015.

The chocolate shop hopes the order-ahead function can reduce wait times and handle digital payments faster, given Apple's use of TouchID fingerprint recognition to authenticate transactions, Smith said. "We have a lot of special orders and a couple of our locations have curbside loading," Smith said.

Consumers will order on the Peterbrooke app, and can set a time for pickup. Apple Pay appears on the mobile device's screen as a payment option. The store can access its loyalty program through the iPad mobile point of sale app.

There will be come adjustments as consumers and staff get used to Apple Pay, though Smith said that based on some early feedback, he's not concerned about a major usability problem.

"All indications are positive that both Apple Pay and order ahead will work seamlessly once our guests and staffs are oriented to how it works," Smith said. Peterbrooke did not give uptake figures for early deployments.

NCR Silver enables merchants to accept credit cards on both touchscreen point-of-sale terminals and those of Apple Inc.’s iPads, iPods or iPhones.

In addition to Apple Pay integration, NCR has also recently updated Silver to support links to accounting software, loyalty programs and  centralized business management controls that cover multiple location. Loyalty is a key feature Apple Pay does not currently offer a loyalty program.

NCR sees "pickup" businesses, such as coffee shops, food trucks and pizzerias as the sweet spot for the order ahead/Apple Pay combo.

"These risk losing customers because the line is too long…Peterbrooke has a grab-and-go business," said Justin Hotard, president of NCR Small Business.

The merchants will also likely drive a large number of in-app payments from patrons who order and pay ahead of time, said Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent, in an earlier interview. In-app payments should make up most of Apple Pay's early business, he said.

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