Wahaca: pioneering digital integrations for next level customer experience

Mexican street food sensation, Wahaca, has 13 locations across the UK. Its mantra is to create a sustainable
restaurant business that is ageless and classless. It believes everyone should eat with their hands (or forks if they really want to) – get stuck in and be social, knowing the food they’re eating isn’t costing the earth in the process.

The Challenge

As well as its forward-thinking social and sustainability missions, Wahaca is a technology innovator; it was also one of the earliest adopters of mobile payments in the UK. In line with its mission for fuss-free, easy dining, Wahaca wanted guests to be able to finish their meal, pay and leave whenever it suited them, without having to flag down or wait for a staff member. With traditional check and payment pressures taken off servers, staff could then concentrate on delivering great customer service and assist guests who prefer or need face-to-face help. In addition to enhancing the in-restaurant experience, Wahaca also wanted to let customers order food conveniently from their phone, wherever they are, for pick up.

When exploring digital payment options, Wahaca knew a challenge would be the several existing back-end systems they had that any new technology would need to integrate with. These included their point of sale, Acteol CRM system and Toggle’s gift card service. An integration with these systems was a top priority; it would lead to greater automation – and efficiency – of the payment process, gift card redemption, guest detail capture and subsequent marketing activity. Importantly, it would also mean a more streamlined experience for customers.

The Solution

Online ordering

In February 2021, Wahaca launched online ordering for collection across its stores. Customers can use their own device from wherever they are, select a store they want to collect from, order and pay. The online menu is fully enriched with allergen information, images, descriptions and the ability to modify your meal.

Pay at Table

A few months later in April, Wahaca rolled out QikServe’s Pay at Table solution. After their meal, guests are invited to scan a QR code with their mobile, there’s no app download needed. This takes them straight to their bill where they’re able to split the check if they want and pay using their preferred method including ApplePay, Google Pay, Visa and Mastercard. As their receipt can be sent to their email inbox, they’re free to leave without flagging down a server.

QikServe worked closely with Wahaca and its other technology providers to develop an integrated, feature-rich, digital payments journey. POS integration meant, once guests had paid, their check was automatically closed off on the till allowing servers to see the latest status of their table and reset it for the next seating. An integration into Acteol allowed contact details to be automatically captured post-payment, triggering a feedback email to gather information about the customer experience. The next phase involved completing a Toggle integration to enable convenient gift card redemption during a Pay at Table checkout. When Wahaca were asked ‘Why QikServe, they
explained, “There are many solutions that interact with Micros RES. The majority of them are pay before ordering. There are only two or three that allow the customer to pay at the end.”

The Results

Wahaca grew its click and collect service quickly in the first few months following launch. Between February 2021 and March 2021, it increased online ordering for collection revenues by 115%. Wahaca has also achieved significant adoption of Pay at Table, reaching 95% uptake in some stores and 80% adoption overall. Integrations into Wahaca’s POS and CRM have made a significant difference to operating efficiency. Automatically capturing customers’ details during payment means removing any secondary data capture steps that would negatively impact the customer experience. The integrations that have been built will again add to a more seamless omni-channel experience where purchased gift cards can be redeemed using Pay at Table and not just direct through a server inputting it into the POS.