Why Some Restaurants are Going Cashless

It’s one of those chores that restaurant owners love to hate. The process of counting cash, rolling coins and hoping everything is in balance with the daily POS totals. Then praying nothing gets lost or stolen before making the night deposit. With nearly every restaurant in the country accepting credit and debit cards, some restaurants are deciding to go cashless.

Current trends in consumer behavior have shifted and cash is no longer king. In a TSYS online survey, only nine percent of consumers indicated cash is their preferred method of payment. Also, more consumers are using mobile devices for purchases. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Federal Reserve, 50 percent of all mobile users had made at least one mobile payment with their device in 2014, a 40 percent increase since 2011.

But before going cashless it pays for restaurant owners to understand their diners. With cash transactions amounting to just 10 percent of sales, Sweetgreen, a fast-casual salad chain, made the decision to go cashless in most of its more than 60 locations. The decision proved to be a success once customers got the hang of it. The chain was also rewarded with a ten percent increase in productivity from no longer having to handle paper bills and coins. Starbucks, a pioneer in mobile payments, plans to open a dedicated mobile ordering and pay store inside their Seattle headquarters in April 2017.

However, before restaurants can go cashless nationwide some laws will need to change. For instance, there is a law on the books in Massachusetts that requires a retail establishment to accept cash.

Now that debit and pre-paid cards are readily available at convenience stores, grocery stores, pharmacies and other stores as well as online, the time may be ripe for restaurants to go cashless. Plus, cashless transactions are more convenient for consumers too. Most debit and prepaid cards can be used immediately upon activation giving consumers who don’t have or want a credit card or even a bank account, an affordable and convenient way to pay their restaurant tab without cash. 


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