Lonely Hearts Cafe x luca
More time, more flexibility, more tips

Header Image: by Ruby Gold Photography

Since December 2023, the Lonely Hearts Cafe in Berlin-Neukölln has worked with luca Pay, the digital payment solution from luca. Their conclusion after two months: more time for good service, more space in the small restaurant, more flexible payment processes for the guests, and more tips.

Lonely Hearts Cafe

Amy and Nicola Phillips opened their nostalgic breakfast eatery in 2021. The menu features English and American classics, while the loudspeaker plays a lovingly compiled diner playlist. The motto: Comfort food with friends.


Background Image: by Ruby Gold Photography


Mahlowerstr. 32, 12049 Berlin | (+49) 30 612 960 61

Type of Restaurant:

Café and brunch venue

With luca since:

12 / 2023

Solutions used:

POS system:


The Challenge: Little Flexibility and Lack of Space

Amy and Nic Phillips opened their atmospheric Lonely Hearts Cafe in 2021. When they took over the space, they also inherited the previous owner’s existing POS system – and with it the infrastructure surrounding the payment process. It consisted of cash payment and inflexible card readers that had to be placed next to the tablet at the POS so that guests could pay by card.


This quickly led to the popular but small breakfast restaurant regularly having to cope with crowds of people at the counter, especially on busy weekends. “This we had for our first couple of years. It wasn’t impossible, it was just frustrating,” says Amy Phillips, founder and hostess of the café.

The Solution: More Payment Freedom for Everyone

Knowing that their payment process was not yet flexible enough for the requirements of their restaurant, the decision-makers were faced with a choice.


Traditional Card Readers?


“The POS provider advised us to upgrade our card terminals to a new card reader,” says Amy Phillips. “This device is quite good, it also has a similar tipping option to luca. But it doesn’t solve our problem the way luca can, because it doesn’t give the guests any agency. The service staff would still have to go to the table, have the card reader in their hand, and accept the payment.”


As British-born women and young entrepreneurs, the Lonely Heart Café team is generally open to the topic of payment. “We are open to trying out new things. Especially because it is quite normal in the UK and the USA to pay by QR code. I think that Germany tends to lag behind in such things, partly because of the importance of data protection.”



Or QR Code Technology?


“I was skeptical at first because I don’t really like new technology – you can tell from our café concept that we are nostalgic people,” says Amy Phillips.

What finally convinced them to choose luca as the new payment process for their restaurant was, firstly, the time luca takes to understand the problems of the industry they want to serve, “luca cares about the needs of the restaurants and has taken them into account in their design.”


In addition, most of her guests are international anyway, so luca’s QR code solution luca Pay made additional sense for her restaurant.


“The whole process with luca is really simple: just a router that you plug in. I can also talk to Kim, the account manager, about any problems. So as long as you have someone to talk to if something goes wrong, I can get on board with innovative technology.”

All payment systems are going to cut into your sales, so there’s always going to be fees. But we, as a queer-owned feminist business, prefer to give our fees to a disrupter of the industry.


Amy Phillips, Lonely Hearts Cafe, Berlin

The Collaboration: Independent QR codes on every Table

The café began by printing the luca QR codes on their receipts. After a month, however, the team switched to contactless NFC tags. Their guests can now scan the luca QR code at any time, split their bills among themselves, and pay independently.

Amy Phillips: “There were a few initial issues. But luca quickly fixed it, and now our guests are happy to use the system. It works well for us.”

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Lonely Hearts Cafe - Exterior
Foto: Vera Landmann

Small, fine and flexible: the Lonely Hearts Cafe

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Lonely Hearts Cafe - Interior
Foto: Ruby Gold Photography

The Results: Valuable

→ More Time for Great Service

“The most important thing is that luca keeps the situation more relaxed when the café is busy. Because the customers are staying at their tables more rather than crowding around the counter. So when the barista is working, they don’t have the pressure of having to cash out waiting guests in between making tickets, but instead have more time to focus on the overall guest experience.”


The speed of the luca Pay payment process is also an asset because it “shortens and simplifies the already clunky payment process.”

→ More Flexibility for Guests and Service

“Our tables are often occupied by larger groups who want to pay individually, especially at weekends. This usually takes a lot of time. With luca, guests can do this themselves. This saves time for us, but also gives our guests more freedom. Because if they want to pay, they can do so immediately and don’t have to wait for us.”

→ More Tips for the Team

“More tips make my team very happy! And that is one of the biggest advantages that luca has brought to our restaurant.”

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