Today, we are used to being able to book a table online, order food via an app and pay by card when we are still sitting at the table. But it certainly hasn’t always been like that! In the early 1900s, for example, it was relatively common for workers to receive part of their wages in alcohol. Does this mean that they could also pay with alcohol as currency?

Read on for more examples of how things used to be, and how far we’ve come.

  • From vending machine to express checkout

In the early 1900s there was something called a vending machine restaurant. Guests then pressed a button with the desired dish, which they then had to pick out themselves from various cabinets. Behind the wall of the restaurant, cooks worked to fill the cabinets with different dishes. This sounds like it was the express checkout of the day, doesn’t it? The Express Checkout today is the place where you, as a guest, both order and pay for your food via a touchscreen. Maybe a bit more high-tech today though.

  • From artwork menus to order app

In the mid-20th century, it was not uncommon for restaurant menus to be painted like works of art in beautiful cardboard. The front often consisted of a painting in bright colours depicting a family or a couple drinking wine. Red was a popular colour on menus back in the days. Nowadays, the menu is something that the guest can find uploaded online, and it is also becoming increasingly common for restaurants to offer an ordering app. An app where the guest simply places his order.

  • From cash, to credit card, to mobile card terminal

Before the 1950s, only cash existed as a means of payment for restaurant visits. A funny story is that the credit card was actually invented in 1949, during a visit to a restaurant! The idea came from American Frank McNamara, who forgot his wallet when he went to pay for food. He later founded Diners Club, the world’s first credit card. As many as 9 out of 10 currently pay by card when visiting restaurants, and many restaurants are moving towards being completely cashless. Guests are also expected to be able to pay on the spot at the table, so mobile card terminals are now almost a must for restaurants.

Is your restaurant keeping up with digital developments? Download the guide below to find out if you’re doing it, and how you can change it if you’re not quite there yet!