Alipay says more than 500 restaurants Australia-wide have already signed on, and aims to bring more than 2000 restaurants into the program in the coming months. Nicholas Seafood, based at the iconic Sydney Fish Market, is the first to go live with the technology.
The program sits within the Alipay app ecosystem, and allows Chinese customers to scan an in-restaurant QR code to bring up a digital menu, and self-order and pay for their meal.
According to Alipay, self-service in the restaurant industry is growing in popularity in Australia. However, adoption remains low compared to China where self-service through mobile apps is becoming very common, due in part to the low cost of adoption compared to the costlier self-service kiosks which with Australians may be familiar.
Alipay ANZ country manager George Lawson said the mobile ordering and translation service would help Australian restaurants better market their service to Chinese visitors, who contributed $11.5 billion to the Australian economy in the year ending September 2018.
“Anyone who has travelled to a country with an unfamiliar language knows the challenge of trying to read a menu or communicate with restaurant staff. This is no different for many Chinese guests in Australia. This initiative will enable Chinese guests to more effectively interact with Australian restaurants and thereby create a better overall customer experience," he said.
“Chinese tourism is an essential contributor to Australia’s thriving hospitality sector, and we are committed to helping merchants tailor their offer to meet the needs and expectations of this key market through our new mobile ordering and translation service, and our other mobile payments, lifestyle and marketing tools.”
Nicholas Seafood manager Jason Berkeley said: “Chinese visitors have always been an integral part of our customer base. Now in addition to our fresh, high-quality seafood, we’re excited to offer this new app-based translation and ordering service to create memorable dining experiences, and best-in-class customer service.”
According to Alibaba's lifestyle platform Koubei, there are currently more than 300,000 restaurants on the Chinese mainland using “scan and order” solutions. For each meal, the estimated time to order food and pay for the bill is reduced by one-third, making the customer experience substantially more efficient.
Alipay says the in-app program also provides additional backend functionality for restaurant staff and management, including supply chain and customer relationship management, and other marketing and ordering tools.
According to Alipay, tens of thousands of merchants in Australia now offer Alipay, which also recently signed deals with major financial institutions Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Tyro.
Worldwide, Alipay and its regional partners claim more than one billion active users.