Credit card processing is not optional if you expect to grow your restaurant business. Guests no longer pop their head inside the door and ask if you take debit or credit cards–it is assumed that you do. You may have a small core of loyal customers who know to come prepared to pay cash, but that number is unlikely to grow no matter how pleasing the cuisine. Something completely out of your control, such as a possibly severe weather warning or a drop in the stock market can turn a usually busy night into a slow night. If your restaurant is operating on the average profit margin, which is 3%-5% you’ll feel the pain. The good news is money paid by credit card for restaurant bills is available almost immediately. When it comes to survival in business, cash flow is king and credit card income generates positive cash flow.
Selecting a credit card processing merchant service for restaurants
- Getting started with credit card processing is not difficult. However, it is important to choose a merchant service you can depend on to tailor your card processing system to your specific needs, including your type of restaurant.
- A corner deli or small family restaurant may only need one register with point of sale capabilities.
- Restaurants that deliver directly to the customer and street vendors may want mobile point of sale technology.
- Self service restaurants doing a brisk business throughout the day may need multiple terminals to meet the demand for fast payment check-outs.
- A large and busy dining restaurant may wish to incorporate a combination of terminals. You may want one or more stationary terminals so servers can quickly complete the credit transaction and return the customers card. In addition, you can arm your servers with portable hand held terminals to complete transactions tableside.
As the proprietor, it’s important to protect your good standing with your merchant service and the bank that backs them. One way to do that is minimize chargebacks, which are demands for refunds. Restaurants generally enjoy a low rate of chargebacks which is a great benefit. Of those they get, the majority is due to the patron’s belief that he or she did not get what they paid for. So, it’s important to keep your menu descriptions and photos accurate and to carefully choose your descriptive adjectives. For example, if dessert does not come with the meal, it’s probably better not to show it in the entrée photo. “Authentic Italian house dressing made in our own kitchen” had better be true or you may have disgruntled diners.
Is credit card processing for restaurants cost effective?
You will find hundreds of statistics that support the cost effectiveness of accepting credit cards, no matter what business you are in. It’s a valuable service that customers expect. Your sales will likely increase substantially; often doubling and even tripling or more. It’s also a business expense, and so it is therefore tax deductible. Additionally, studies have found that people spend more when they use a credit card. For example; Mom and Dad choose your establishment for their weekly date night. You can guess they’re more likely to be paying cash because they order ice water to drink and skip the hors devours and dessert. Customers tend to loosen up on their frugal ways if they use a credit card to pay instead of counting out bills. Add two cocktails and one dessert to split for, say, an additional $20 or $30 on the bill and you’ve rendered your merchant fees inconsequential.
For more information on credit card processing for restaurants, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.