bartaco revolutionizes the dine-in experience with Amazon Pay and OneDine
bartaco is elevating the dining experience with a new ordering and payment system.
Historically, restaurants have accepted only credit and debit cards as payment alternatives to cash. This legacy approach has led to several points of friction during the dining experience such as slow ordering and checkout processes, leading to lost revenue, diminished satisfaction, and other challenges. In response, bartaco is elevating the dining experience with a new ordering and payment system that allows guests to enjoy their meals and moments without unnecessary delays or disruptions.
To accomplish this, bartaco integrated Amazon Pay with OneDine—an all-in-one checkout solution that combines tap-scan QR codes on tables and receipts with existing tech stacks. This innovation positioned bartaco as the first restaurant group in the United States to deploy Amazon Pay, leading the way for a more modern in-restaurant dining experience.
Reimagining social dining experiences
Founded in 2010, bartaco is known for its casual yet modern dining. With 30 locations across the United States, its menu features various tacos, rice bowls, and handcrafted cocktails, appealing to a diverse clientele. The restaurant’s mission is straightforward: to provide a relaxed dining experience where good food and a laid-back atmosphere are central.
“Our goal is that we want you to feel like you’ve escaped. You want to enjoy the people that you’re with,” says Scott Lawton, Founder and CEO of bartaco. “We don’t want it to be a cumbersome or time-consuming process to place an order.”
At bartaco, customers typically order several small plates, each priced at just a few dollars. This dining style leads to guests placing orders multiple times during their visit. However, bartaco’s previous digital ordering system required customers to pay for each order separately as they made them. This disrupted the relaxed, communal atmosphere of the restaurant and, in some cases, deterred customers from ordering additional food and drinks.
“I realized that we had to find a solution where you could scan the QR code, order from the menu, and keep a check open,” says Lawton. “The one thing that I had noticed was my per-person average had dropped by 25% because people got tired of having to pay every time.”
Streamlining the restaurant payment process
To streamline the dining experience, bartaco wanted to let customers keep their tabs open and pay at the end of their meals rather than after every order. After exploring different solutions, the restaurant discovered OneDine. “OneDine was the only solution out there that could integrate with my legacy point-of-sale system and keep a check open,” says Lawton. “We asked OneDine to team up with us and develop what became a very customized solution.”
After solving the open-check challenge, bartaco began to look into ways to reduce the amount of time guests took to input their payment information at the beginning of their dining experience. For guests, entering payment information and going through the verification process when they’d just sat down with family and friends was frustrating and disrupted their ability to engage with one another. So bartaco began to explore frictionless payment options. During a chance encounter at the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC), Lawton shared the company’s vision with an Amazon representative. Intrigued by the potential of the project, the Amazon Pay team reached out to bartaco to kick-start a collaboration that would transform the restaurant’s digital ordering experience.
When you dine at bartaco, you can now initiate an order by tapping a QR code, which opens a tab on your device through OneDine. You can tap the Amazon Pay button to integrate OneDine with the credit card information stored in your Amazon Pay account and select your preferred payment method stored in your Amazon Wallet. This setup uses the Saved Wallet, a feature that saves customers’ preferred payment details for future use.
To facilitate a smooth payment process, the system also incorporates a preauthorization feature unique to Amazon Pay. “When you place your very first order at bartaco, you’ll have to go through the preauthorization stages that Amazon requires, which are less tedious than actually keying in your credit card,” says Lawton. “When you’re in the system, though, you’re in the system for all of our locations. So, when you order, you just tap the Amazon Pay button to pay, and you don’t need to preauthorize again. It’s now easier, and it’s a one-and-done solution.”
At the end of the dining experience, guests can close their tab directly through OneDine, charging the final amount to the preauthorized card. If they forget, bartaco can close the tab for them. “Even the receipt process is easier for us,” says Lawton. “Everybody’s used to getting their Amazon receipts, and our receipts through Amazon Pay look like a regular Amazon receipt in your email.”
Offering customers the ability to order and pay digitally has allowed bartaco to improve table turnover time and operational efficiency. This gives guests the opportunity to order more with ease because ordering and paying is so quick and seamless.
“That initial part of the order, which is one of the more socially important times when you sit at a table, was very clunky before Amazon Pay,” says Lawton. “It’s much better now. Amazon Pay has solved a really key hospitality moment that was not feeling right under our old system.”
Advancing future dining with technology
The new digital ordering system at bartaco marks a milestone: the company has become the first US restaurant group to successfully implement Amazon Pay, with promising results. As bartaco looks to the future, it seeks to introduce preordering capabilities and use customer information to personalize the dining experience.
With these initiatives, bartaco is not only keeping pace with industry trends but setting new benchmarks for service and customer engagement—supported by OneDine and Amazon Pay. “Amazon was incredible,” says Lawton. “When you work with a big company, you think you’re going to get lost in all these silos and deal with all these people. But with Amazon, it has felt very personal. My team has felt really supported. It’s been a great collaboration so far.”