They say the food business is a good business, because people will always have to eat. By this standard, fast food can be the most lucrative type of all. People flock to you for quick, convenient food, whether it’s a busy mother’s post-day-care drive-by, or partying college kids in search of late-night fries. Fast food is often cheaper than home-cooked meals, and it resolves the drama of doing dishes.
The emphasis – whether it’s a drive-in or a diner is speed. Food should be ready in minutes so your customers can tuck in. The bulk of fast food feeders focus on take-out. They want to finish up and move on to the next part of their day, and they get cranky if you make them wait. There are three stages where snarl-ups can develop.
Fix your time gaps
The first stage is that customer who can’t quite decide what they want to order. They hem and haw as the line piles up behind them. This type of customer makes life harder for servers, because every customer after them will be extra surly and easily provoked. But slow customers aren’t a problem you can fix. The second factor is the service, which you have full control over.
You can put systems in place to ensure orders are processed swiftly, efficiently, and accurately. Put your fastest servers on the busiest shifts and optimize service layouts, both in the kitchen and at the counter. Finally, there’s your payment process. For customers who pay cash, you have to ring up the till and make change, losing precious minutes.
These minutes can add up to hours or even days over the course of a year. And every extra minute you spend on one customer is a potentially lost sale from another customer. They may get tired of waiting, or be locked out at closing time if the line is too long. Credit cards can change the payment period from minutes to seconds. They can just swipe and leave.
You can build a loyalty program based on credit cards, increasing the chances they’ll come back to your restaurant. Loyalty points and discounts are a good incentive, and once they build the habit, they’re hooked.
So how do you start accepting credit cards at your fast food restaurant? Find a good merchant processor. You want someone that verifies customers instantly, because that leads to faster payments. Find a company with no application fees and quick approvals. It helps if they offer bonuses, like card programing and POS (point of sale) systems at no extra cost.
For more information on credit card processing for your fast food restaurant, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.