Owning a restaurant can be a challenging undertaking. The competition is fierce and restaurants have to stay current with trends. Restaurant owners must establish new ways to connect with and entice potential customers.
The quickest way for a restaurant to increase sales is to accept the most preferred form of payment – plastic. In today’s marketplace, it is critical for a business to accept credit cards. Consumers tend to carry very little cash for added convenience and personal security reasons. Allowing consumers to pay with credit typically results in more impulse buys and higher ticket sales. In fact, restaurants have reported an immediate increase in profitability by simply accepting plastic forms of payment.
Arming yourself with industry knowledge can help obtain a competitive processing program and avoid hidden fees. There are a few simple guidelines to follow to ensure that the credit card processing program is competitive and cost effective: 1) Request an interchange-plus pricing model. Interchange has been commonly limited to large merchants with high processing volume. Now smaller, independent restaurants have access to the same program. Interchange-plus credit card processing, also known as “cost plus” or “pass through” credit card processing, is a credit card processing pricing program in which the merchant is charged the freight wholesale cost for each card type that a customer presents plus a fixed markup (basis points) for processing services. The interchange rates along with the dues and assessments are set by the three major brands: Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. This “cost” is not negotiable and is standard with every processing company. One basis point is equal to 1/100th of a percent. Depending on the basis points, interchange-plus pricing is the lowest cost, most transparent pricing model in the merchant services industry. 2) Pay attention to the transaction fee. Transactions fees add up over the course of a month. The recommended fee per transaction for restaurants is $0.10. 3) Lastly, inquire about the potential setup costs. The credit card processing industry is a competitive industry and many processors offer free account setup and terminal download services. However, it is important to review the contract, as these associated, unspoken fees can be easily overlooked and cost the restaurant hundreds of dollars before a single transaction is processed.
A restaurant without a website today is equivalent to a business without a telephone 30 years ago. Customers are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Bing) to find restaurants that can serve their needs and satisfy their appetite. Without internet presence, restaurants risk losing a potential customer to a competitor found online with just a few simple mouse clicks. Internet presence can be easily and successfully achieved with a user-friendly site detailing menu items and restaurant highlights.
With the rising web-based and cell phone culture, consumers are turning to self-service order placement. Online ordering menus featured on restaurant websites allow customers to order directly from the website. This allows restaurants to tap into the 75% of people who order takeout at least once per month. An online ordering solution can provide an additional revenue source for the restaurant and streamline the ordering process. The order is immediately delivered to the restaurants fax machine, email, or internal point of sale terminal for preparation. This ordering system allows for improved communication with the customer and more detailed ordering tracking and management function.