Tuesday, 30 April 2019 18:26

Alipay brings mobile order, translation services to Australian restaurants


Chinese mobile payments provider Alipay has partnered with online food and travel marketplace HarkHark in a deal offering restaurants around Australia a mobile "scan to order" platform and free menu translation service, to enable them to more effectively reach Chinese visitors.

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 and HarkHark are also offering restaurants a free menu translation service which, in tandem with the promotional tools already available to merchants in the Alipay app, are designed to bridge the gap between Australian restaurants and Chinese consumers. The translation service is also being adopted by other popular tourist destinations, including Sovereign Hill in Ballarat.

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.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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