U.S. restaurants' EMV migration has lagged behind other retail categories for several reasons, including the hassles of replacing centralized payment systems with pay-at-the-table routines that chip cards often require. But another reason: Restaurateurs have other priorities.

EMV's anti-counterfeiting properties address one narrow concern, but mobile and digital payments open up entirely new business opportunities, as evidenced by the recent deluge of order-ahead apps. And even this trend leaves a lot of room for innovation.

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