Mastercard Roundup: Cheesecake Factory, Pizza Hut Look at Future Of Contactless Pay

Partnering with Mastercard on contactless pay streamlines the dining experience, boosts discovery, and confers loyalty benefits, representatives explained.

Mastercard’s digital payment platform, MasterPass, is set to go live for in-store contactless payments in more than five million brick-and-mortar locations across 77 countries — but what does that mean for its partners and their consumers?

Following last week’s event at One World Observatory, we caught up with representatives from existing MasterPass partner Cheesecake Factory and potential partner Pizza Hut to discuss the “tipping” point for contactless pay — and why MasterPass is about building loyalty, too.

GeoMarketing: What does the MasterPass partnership mean for Cheesecake Factory? And how will it improve the experience of the customers who come in?

Alethea Rowe, senior director, public relations: Well, it’s really exciting. I’ll start with the guests first: We recently introduced our Cake Pay app, testing it last year and then rolling it out system-wide earlier this year in the second quarter. We’re still in the initial phases of it, but it’s going really well.

Then the MasterPass integration will start next month — making payment [even more] seamless for guests. We, of course, have had a great relationship with MasterCard for years, and when they brought this opportunity to us, it was really exciting.

Basically, with the [MasterPass TV spot] that will start airing in September, this will really bring more awareness, not only to MasterPass, but to us and the Cake Pay app, which we’re really excited about.

How do you view the value of the app — is it about the efficiency? Loyalty? Or both?

Well, I think it’s a little of both. First and foremost, it’s about convenience for the guest. It’s about anything that we can do to make their experience more convenient, as well as overall enhance the general dining experience — so the mobile payment app really allows the guest to leave when they want. You don’t have to wait for the server to bring your check, you can check out when you want.

Also, we realize that our restaurants are very busy. It’s a bit of a time commitment to dine with us, so anything that we can do to expedite that for you — if you want to expedite it — we enable and enhance that experience and therefore, help build loyalty.

MasterCard has also done really well in terms of helping people discover where places are. You’re opening a new Cheesecake Factory in Queens — does the partnership help with awareness in that regard? 

MasterCard is doing a national campaign behind MasterPass, which the Cheesecake Factory is featured in, so that will bring a whole level of awareness to us that we haven’t had before. We don’t usually do a lot of advertising.

As far as [other discovery benefits], we’ll see. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.

GeoMarketing: Is Pizza Hut a MasterPass partner for contactless pay?

Meysam Moradpour, director of digital ventures: We consider MasterCard as a potential partner for 2017.

What I like about MasterCard, I think it’s what the President said [in his event introduction speech]: It’s a platform for commerce. It’s not just in-store or in-app, what we already have on our websites. It’s a platform.

I think as Pizza Hut evolves, we just need to make it even simpler to order a pizza. We want to be on all channels, and depending on where things go with VR, and all the other things next year… I think that’s a very interesting path.

How could the integration expand the possibilities for loyalty? If I’m using a pizza app and I’m ordering food, then I’m probably already loyal. 

Yeah. So we’re going to launch our loyalty program next year. We can’t say when, but with MasterPass it will be a very seamless experience. You have your Pizza Hut Hut Lovers already stored in your card, so whenever you tap you’re going to see a real time value of the rewards you have, and it will be automatically updated.

You don’t have to carry it with you, and you can check it anytime — that’s the seamless experience that we want to give. Every time you purchase something, everything gets updated with your rewards, so you as a consumer don’t have to worry about it. You have it right there every time.

That would be the perfect scenario if it plays out. MasterCard has the abilities, we want to explore and see how we can make it work.