Leading hotel to trial new graphene-based bill payment technology

The Lowry Hotel, in Manchester, is to trial a new contactless payment system – which uses graphene-enhanced paper and waiterless payments – for the first time in the UK hospitality industry.

Payper’s five-second payment method uses graphene’s unique properties to enable a customer’s mobile phone to detect the receipt data, providing an instant option to pay on their smartphone screen.

The payment system will revolutionaries the way customer’s pay their bill as it provides a convenient and contactless way to pay in seconds, without waiting for staff or downloading an app.

The pioneering idea is being commercialised by Manchester start-up Payper Technologies, co-founded by Dr Thanasis Georgiou.

Fellow co-founder, Renate Kalnina, said: “The pioneering idea was conceived by the founder, Dr Thanasis Georgiou after he was left waiting to pay the restaurant bill for 20 minutes.

“After spending 10 years on advanced material research, he saw a clear opportunity to use graphene to address this industry problem.

“We solved the issue of card terminal jams and downtime, allowing restaurants to run their operations more efficiently at a reduced cost.

“Throughout development, we needed a way to manufacture graphene, which meant having a good understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different techniques. We were able to formulate conductive inks that have sufficient characteristics to work with our antennas.

“Once we had manufactured the graphene antenna rolls, we then built the necessary software to handle the payments. We are now in discussions with multiple restaurants who have expressed an interest in trialling the technology.”

Renate added: “At the home of graphene’s isolation, we are delighted to be able to trial this new technology in Manchester at The Lowry Hotel River Restaurant.”

Research by Payper found that 69% of customers said that paying is one of the most infuriating experiences when dining out.

Payper’s research has indicated this more streamlined checkout process will result in increased customer loyalty, and a 30% uplift in customer lifetime value.

Adrian Ellis, general manager at The Lowry Hotel, said: “We are delighted to be the flagship hotel in the UK trialing this new enhanced payment method to our customers.

“Graphene was isolated at The University of Manchester, so it really is a privilege to be using a product that not only makes the customer journey more convenient, but is also supportive of the city the product was founded.”

Stronger than steel and thinner than paper Graphene is a single, thin layer of graphite — the soft, flaky material used in pencil lead.

It is a mere one-atom thick, the first two-dimensional material ever discovered.

Despite this, graphene is also one of the strongest materials known. With a tensile strength of 130 GPa (gigapascals), it is more than 100 times stronger than steel.

It also has powerful electrical properties and is highly flexible and transparent – perfect for use in portable electronics.