5 Payment Security Trends for Restaurants in the Age of Cybercrime

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Restaurant owners must stay informed about industry trends, including payment trends that help maintain customer satisfaction, streamline transactions, and, most importantly, enhance security measures.

Protecting sensitive customer data, especially when accepting online reservations and using digital payment gateways, is essential for restaurants because cybercrime can severely impact customer trust and reputation.

This article will explore five payment security trends for restaurant owners to keep their customers safe and their money secure in the age of cybercrime.

Has There Been a Rise in Cybercrime?

Cybercrime includes all criminal activities carried out using digital devices or networks. Cybercriminals use technology to commit fraud, identity theft, data breaches, computer viruses, scams, and other malicious acts.

Cybercrime is surging as the globe becomes more interconnected and reliant on technology. In fact, 2023 saw a notable increase in cyberattacks, resulting in more than 343 million victims

From contactless payments to QR codes, restaurants are also embracing the latest technologies to improve customer satisfaction and streamline transactions. 

However, the more technology used to run your restaurant, the greater your chance of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

31% of all retail and hospitality businesses have experienced some form of security or data breach. Meanwhile, 89% have experienced more than one attack per year.

There are several payment trends in the restaurant industry that owners must adapt to in order to satisfy their customers and streamline their in-house operations. However, we’re going to take a specific look at payment security trends: 

Online Bookings 

Customers are now able to book and pay for their table online, which has many benefits for the business, including: 

  • Reduces losses from no-shows. Online bookings often ask for deposits through payment links. Customers who have paid a deposit are more likely to show up for the reservation. 
  • Reduces staff error. A booking date or time can easily be understood wrong over the phone if there is a bad line or a member of staff writes it down wrong.
  • Easier to change and cancel. Customers can access and manage their booking online if they need to make changes. This is often a more straightforward process than trying to contact the restaurant. 
  • Keep your business running 24/7. Customers can make an online reservation at a time that suits them, which makes it easier than finding a time to call your restaurant during your opening hours and make a booking.

However, online bookings are also safer for customers as they minimize the risk of sharing card details and personal information over the phone if you use a secure online booking platform.

Online booking platforms create a secure environment by using SSL certificates—tiny data files that bind a cryptographic key to your organization’s details and protect card details and more.

Payment Gateways

A payment gateway enables restaurant businesses to securely and efficiently accept, process, and manage various payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets.

Secure payment gateways protect customer data, especially financial information, against cybercrime breaches.

Payment Analytics 

Restaurants can now gather data on consumer behavior, purchasing activity, and payments through analytics. The data will support value-driven service offerings and provide consumer insights for better decision-making.

However, this activity will result in more information collection and processing, including personally identifiable information (PII). 

If you want to collect payment analytics, you must comply with privacy and data protection legislation, payment regulations, and security standards.

QR Codes

It has become normal for restaurants to replace physical menus and payment methods with QR codes. This saves time, reduces paper waste, and offers merchants lower fees.

QR codes allow customers to order and make contactless payments from their smartphones without leaving their tables or speaking to staff. 

Luckily, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payments are more secure than cash or check payments because they are encrypted and require bank authorization from the customer.

PCI DSS Compliance

The ever-growing popularity of credit and debit cards has led to data theft, a common crime with immediate monetary benefits to cybercriminals. Here are some examples in the restaurant industry: 

  • Point-of-sale (PoS) malware. Cybercriminals steal the data stored in payment cards’ magnetic stripes, clone the cards, and charge the accounts connected with the victim.
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. Cybercriminals intercept and alter the communication between the restaurant and the payment processor, stealing payment information.
  • Skimming. Cybercriminals use a small electronic device to steal a customers payment details.

One of the best ways to protect customer data is to maintain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, which ensures that the restaurant taking card payments complies with a set of rules and regulations. 

PCI DSS compliance is a requirement for all businesses that handle payment card data. 


The restaurant industry is moving fast, and adopting these payment security trends is no longer an option; it’s critical. 

By understanding these six trends, those in the business can gain valuable insights into how the latest technologies can improve both security and efficiency.

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