Guide to Credit Card Processing for Restaurants

restaurant credit card processing

You already know that the restaurant business is as tough as any industry. So why not give yourself all the advantages you can?

That is the goal of this restaurant credit card processing guide. Here’s a little bit of what we will cover:

  • (POS) point-of-sale systems for restaurants
  • The best credit card processors for restaurants
  • Credit card tips for restaurants
  • Credit card fraud at cafes and diners

That isn’t all. We will sprinkle in five stats that give you deeper insights into the minds of restaurant customers these days.

POS Systems For Restaurants

38% of restaurant operators say their restaurants were not profitable in 2023.

That stat is tough to swallow. But knowing the struggle is real may convince you to maximize your POS features


Sure, your restaurant POS system should make payments a breeze and offer…

  • Variety of tipping options on-screen or on-paper
  • Quick pay-at-table options
  • Efficient table management
  • Fraud prevention


Those are musts. But food and beverage businesses must go the extra mile with their point-of-sale platform if they are to become and stay profitable.


We suggest using payment technology to offer a warmer experience for your customers. This can be as simple as using the POS to remind staff of the names of regular customers. Many servers handwrite their own name on the bill and adding the customer’s name creates even more of a personal touch. Example below.


“Great to see you again, Mrs. Tanner.”


Use the same idea to track birthdays of frequent customers so you can send them coupons or a Happy Birthday email or postcard. Do the same on major holidays.


It may seem like a simple thing.

Yet, going a tad beyond the norm can increase customer loyalty in a big way. Don’t underestimate the “likability factor” that keeps customers frequenting businesses they love for years and even decades!


Bottom line? Please, use the data collected by your restaurant POS to personalize customer interactions and marketing efforts.

Birthday emails have 342% higher revenue per email than other promotional emails.


How can you be sure you’re maximizing your restaurant POS, though?


Choose The Best Credit Card Processor For Restaurants

The following stat shows the importance of choosing the ideal credit card processor for your business.


Nearly all (98%) restaurant operators cite higher labor costs as an issue, and 97% cite higher food costs in 2024 (


Cutting labor costs is difficult with the labor market unbelievably tight and food prices are out of your control. That means you have to find savings elsewhere. Where better to cut costs than those related to credit card fees?


There are several proven tactics for lowering your transaction fees.


The best way to reduce fees is by choosing a reliable, honest restaurant credit card processing company.


At National Processing, we take pride in being all of the above. Not to mention, our $500 Guarantee gives you a risk-free opportunity to see why so many restaurant owners have been with us for years.


But you don’t have to take our word for it. 

We did a transparent breakdown of fees and other feature comparisons of several processing companies – check it out here.


Any comparison you decide to do on your own, please remember to consider:

  • Fees
  • Application process
  • Clarity of contract
  • Contract cancelation fees
  • Customer service reviews
  • Ease of integration with other software/equipment
  • Security level of provider tools


It’s also smart to talk with other merchants about their experience with specific providers.


Now we should look at specific credit card tips for restaurants.

restaurant credit card processing

Credit Card Tips For Restaurants

How much difference can small tweaks make in your food and beverage business?


The only way to know is to test a few out, such as using your point-of-sale system to track:

  1. Frequency of visits by each customer
  2. Average spend per visit
  3. Popular days/times for dining
  4. Preferences for dine-in vs takeout/delivery
  5. Payment method trends
  6. Preferred payment types 
  7. Order modifications
  8. Frequent substitutions 
  9. Items commonly added to orders (sides, drinks)
  10. Effectiveness of upsell prompts and tactics
  11. Redemption rates of coupons or loyalty rewards
  12. Impact of discounts on order values 
  13. Sales volumes and tip percentages by server
  14. Party size averages (and on which days/times)
  15. Differences in orders based on party size
  16. Customer lifetime value 
  17. Reactivation campaign success (for lapsed customers)
  18. Differences in ordering patterns and preferences
  19. Cross-restaurant behavior for multiple locations


The more you track your diners’ patterns, the more you can improve your offerings.

With just a couple of the above data points (likely already inside your payment platform history), you can optimize your restaurant in numerous ways.


For one, adjusting your menu to feature best-sellers and remove rarely-ordered items will be simpler. Two, you can judge the effectiveness of marketing campaigns based on real-time sales data. Three, creating or enhancing a loyalty program will be based on real insights. Four, you can make more precise food orders and staffing decisions.


These available learnings and small adjustments will help your business profit from rising demand for dining out…


33% of U.S. diners are eating out more than they did 6 months ago as of Q2 2024.

Just be sure to not let additional profits slip away via fraud.


Credit Card Fraud In Restaurants

DoorDash and similar services have made it easier to get restaurant food delivered to customers who want to “dine out – at home.”


Yet, this trend also leads to additional fraud and complaints that affect restaurant credit card processing. 

  • Delivery is typically out of the control of restaurant staff and in control of third-party delivery workers.
  • Card-not-present fraud is more likely than card-present.


Choosing an experienced restaurant credit card processor that cares as much about fraud prevention as you do helps with the second point. Be sure you fully understand how all the fraud-prevention tools work and that your staff is trained on best practices. 

Friendly fraud, where customers dispute legitimate transactions, is a major source of chargebacks impacting restaurants.


As for complaints that can lead to restaurant credit card disputes and chargebacks? There’s only so much you can do about delivery services and their policies and gig workers. Still, there are strategies for reducing customer complaints generally.


Three Strategies To Reduce Customer Complaints

Foster a culture of customer care. Not just with words and policies, rather encourage a deep care for the people who could choose any dining establishment in town – but choose to break break at yours.


Create an actionable plan for managing online reviews. Is the review system unfair to business owners? Yes. Big Tech believes the customer has a right to leave negative reviews – even if the customer did not do business with you (true story, browse Yelp to see)! Regardless, reviews aren’t going away, and they affect your food and beverage business’s bottom line, so make a plan.


Always be improving communication. Clear and consistent communication between the kitchen, servers, and customers is paramount. Language and lingo matter, so ensure everyone is on the same “verbal page.” A Kitchen Display System can relay orders directly from the point-of-sale system to the kitchen staff (eliminates need for handwritten tickets).


Just keep in mind the litany of things that can lead to customer complaints and credit card chargebacks. To name a few…

  • Incorrect transaction amount
  • Business name not recognized on credit card statement (hypothetical example: Chilis vs. Brinker International)
  • Delayed food delivery or damaged food containers


Time to call it a wrap with one more vital stat and two restaurant credit card processing questions we get a lot.


Restaurant Credit Card Processing Summed Up

In the U.S., 80% of diners are ordering food online for delivery or takeout the same amount or more compared to the previous year (DoorDash).


Times have changed for business owners in the food and beverage world.

Inflation, supply chain struggles, and labor shortages are the tip of the iceberg. Fraud is the new “fly in the ointment” that’s becoming more troublesome in an industry that had low chargeback rates traditionally. 


Still, with the strategies and tips we laid out, you can keep up with fast-changing times and use payment technology to overcome these hurdles. 


It’s a shame so many restaurant owners don’t utilize the powerful tools and data their payment platform provides. Even worse is when the payment processor doesn’t offer assistance in maximizing their payment platforms.


National Processing is here to guide you all the way so you enjoy max benefits from your credit card processing system.


Plus, we will save you huge money from day one. Get started at no risk. Our $500 Guarantee has you covered, ensuring you get the lowest rates possible – bar none.

Sign up here.


FAQ: Restaurant Credit Card Processing

What is menu engineering? 

Analyzing and designing a restaurant’s menu to drive sales of the most profitable items. An example of menu engineering: Pinpoint a less popular but highly profitable menu item, then feature it using creative naming and placement as a suggested add-on.

Besides tech tools, how can you reduce credit card fraud in restaurants?

A confidential whistleblower policy for employees to report suspected fraud has been shown to catch criminals. Also, getting educated on how to dissect credit card transaction reports can tip you off to theft or suspicious patterns. 

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Shane McLendon

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Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.

Customer focused

If we can't beat your current rates, we'll give you $500!*

We happily accept merchants processing any amount. Price guarantee for merchants processing $10,000 or more per month. Free terminals and other promotions depend on processing volume, credit and qualifications.