Tanjarine is looking to improve card security in restaurant payments as it deploys a tablet-based system that is also meant to improve the customer experience.
The Tanjarine system allows diners to order food and make payments from a 10-inch tablet provided to each person, while the waiter uses a 5-inch Tanjarine tablet to monitor orders and deliver meals.
Each customer's tablet has a card reader built in, and swiped card data is encrypted at the reader head to eliminate opportunities to steal data, said Bob Dykes, president of Tanjarine.
"On the security side, we differ a bit from others with our encryption at the reader," Dykes said. "Often, data from a card swipe is not encrypted and it is just going off to the payment processor with full data."
Mountain View, Calif.-based Tanjarine, a unit of TouchTunes Corp., is in the midst of a national rollout of its system, which has a solid starting target of more than 73,000 bars and restaurants worldwide that use TouchTunes for its in-house music and entertainment (which diners can control from the Tanjarine tablets).
Restaurants pay a flat fee for use of the entire Tanjarine system, though game and music payments go directly to Tanjarine, Dykes added.
The tablet provides a second screen for the restaurant to place advertisements or information about specials, and also for Tanjarine to showcase its music and game offerings.
Tanjarine is riding the wave of momentum that the mobile tablet is enjoying with consumers, said Richard Oglesby, senior analyst at Double Diamond Payments Research.
"The concept of paying on a tablet is becoming much more common because Square has really laid that groundwork," Oglesby said. "It's far from mainstream at this point, but there is enough of it around that consumers are becoming pretty comfortable with it already."
Paying from a restaurant's tablet is a similar experience to making a purchase from a mobile e-commerce site, he said.
"On the retail side, we are seeing a lot more tablets show up as POS devices and consumers have seen their cards swiped through a wedge attached to a PC for decades, so from a security perspective, the consumer perception of a swipe on a tablet would not be much different," Oglesby said.
Tanjarine joins a crowded field in the restaurant tabletop POS arena, as rival vendor OpenTable has concluded testing in the San Francisco region and is currently offering its service in more than 50 restaurants or chains in New York City, with plans to expand into 20 more cities by the end of the year.
Diners who make a restaurant reservation using OpenTable provide their credit card information and then view and pay for their checks at the restaurant with a few taps on the OpenTable app on their smartphones.
Other competitors play off variations of the same general theme that diners don't want a waiter to carry their payment cards away from the table.
Heartland Payment Systems partnered with Tabbedout last year to develop mobile payment capabilities in restaurants.
Israel-based MyCheck made its debut in New York City last year, offering a mobile pay app that lets users open, view and pay their tabs with credit cards or PayPal accounts.
Snapfinger's mobile payment app allows patrons to check in, order and pay through a mobile device through a linked credit, debit or prepaid card, or gift cards, Google Wallet or a PayPal account.
Viableware targets high-end restaurants with Rail, a handheld device that resembles the leather folders waiters use to present checks to patrons.