The restaurant business is one of the most dynamic and challenging in the service industry. It’s not like other retail operations where a customer simply visits for a few minutes, buys a product after asking a few questions or trying it on, then leaves. The entire experience, from being seated, to being served, to eating the actual meal are all crucial parts of establishing repeat customers, and even the payment process is a part of that experience. In some ways, the payment process may even color a diner’s perception of the entire dining session if it’s handled extremely well or extremely poorly.
That is why for the restaurants it’s absolutely critical to make bill payments as quick, efficient and painless as possible. If you only accept cash, for example, you’re already at a disadvantage since many potential diners will simply walk away with their wallet full of credit and debit or gift/loyalty cards but not enough actual cash on hand to enjoy your meals. It’s because of this that we urge all the business owners out there who entertain dreams of a successful restaurant to not neglect any of the many payment options that are now available to consumers in in the 21st century.
This is the absolute cornerstone of restaurant payment in the 21st century. A restaurant that can’t accept credit card payments is limiting its customer base to a damaging degree. While fast food chains and snack outlets can easily entertain smaller purchases of $20-$10 or less, which are easy amounts of cash for most people carry, a dining experience at a quality restaurant can easily run over $100, especially if it’s a sizable group. Being able to accept credit cards as payment is must for any modern business, especially one that deals in a high volume of customers on a daily basis like a restaurant.
Participation in loyalty and gift card programs is a good way become more a fixture in the local retail region. When you become a part of these programs, you gain access to a kind of instant marketing that puts you on the “first round” list of possible consumer experiences when it comes time to use the card. If your restaurant provides a memorable dining experience, participation in such programs has now granted you yet another returning customer.
While credit cards and gift cards are well implemented in today’s payment processing methods, the future is on the way. New methods of payment—such as using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets—is one more challenge businesses need to address as a point of sale. Even traditional methods like credit cards are sharing the space with new services, such as PayPal instituting mobile payment methods. It makes for a very dynamic time in the payment space, but at the same time, those that make these options available will be remembered by a new generation of clientele that is already adopting these new methods.