credit cards

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clamshell
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2005/05/17 12:27:19 (permalink)

credit cards

Well let me itroduce myself. looks like I am the new guy for now. My question is it realy worth accepting credit cards? We are a seasonal drive in seafood restaurant located in the lakes region N.H. We only accept cash. There are big advatages to this as you all probably know.We usualy send our customers down town to the bank and some return with cash and others don't. I have been told that 3% of the sale goes to the card supplier on all sales transactions. I am hoping that some one on here has gone through this and hope they can give a little advice.
#1

20 Replies Related Threads

    klkruger
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 13:28:24 (permalink)
    The percentage is negotiable. AmEx charges the most. You should be able to get rates lower that 2. A lot depends on your volume which you may have to establish first, but rates are negotiable--even if you're told they're not. Call your bank and see if they're hooked up with a POS processor or can recommend one.

    Personally, I think accepting CCs is a must. I didn't years ago but most people carried around cash then. Now, many people--including me--prefer to carry a Visa/MC debit card. If you're off the beaten track and more of a destination place it's not quite as important but if you're in an area where people might spontaneously decide to come to your place I really recommend it. It also limits spontaneous purchases--if I have $50 buck in my pocket and I figure my bill at $40, I'm not going to buy anything else. If I have a CC in my pocket and I'm feeling good and content and taken care of, I'm likely to splurge on that dessert, another drink, or the souvenir shirt on my way out the door.
    #2
    Phishmonger
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 13:48:03 (permalink)
    IMHO, you should really consider accepting credit cards, especially since you are located in that beautiful tourist-oriented area in NH. As kl said, the rate is generally negotiable, but a slight adjustment in your prices can also help overcome the additional fees. Good Luck!
    #3
    clamshell
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 14:13:59 (permalink)
    Thanks for the info. About what percentage of your sales are c.c.? Do I have to buy the machine that you swipe the card with? Would I have to dedicate a phone line for the machine? My prices are kinda set for the season. We did an increase last year because of the rise in food prices and my my customers would probably drag me out in the parking lot and shoot me if I did it two years in a row.

    klkruger...I never thought about someone spending more because they have a c.c. but I think your right.{I always carry cash and very rarely use a card}

    Thanks again
    #4
    Bonzmoose
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 15:01:56 (permalink)
    Clamshell, we travel quite a bit and use our credit cards as much as possible. Years ago we carried more cash than we do now but we find a c.c., especially our debit card, is just easier, safer and accepted in most places. I agree with klkruger, we tend to spend more when we know the place we're in accepts at least one kind of the cards we carry. We won't walk out of a place because they accept cash only, but it does make us really limit our spending. We have found many small mom & pop vendors accept Visa or MC and not AmeEx because of lower service charges. Of course if your customers are primarily local they know in advance you accept cash only. One restaurant we frequent accepts only cash and they have an ATM in the lobby which helps some of their customers.
    #5
    Rusty246
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 15:40:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by clamshell

    Thanks for the info. About what percentage of your sales are c.c.? Do I have to buy the machine that you swipe the card with? Would I have to dedicate a phone line for the machine? My prices are kinda set for the season. We did an increase last year because of the rise in food prices and my my customers would probably drag me out in the parking lot and shoot me if I did it two years in a row.

    klkruger...I never thought about someone spending more because they have a c.c. but I think your right.{I always carry cash and very rarely use a card}

    Thanks again



    We used to have the "swipe" type machine here at work, it did require a phone line, the bank furnished the machine though.
    #6
    tmiles
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 15:49:48 (permalink)
    I am a customer. I use my CC all the time, but I know that most of my favorite clam places don't take it. I have learned to bring cash. Ronnies in Auburn, MA put in an ATM, but I don't know if it gets used.
    #7
    klkruger
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 15:56:54 (permalink)
    I'm not in the business at the moment, but my last two places (one a moderate cafe, the other a high-end dinner-only with a bar place) did 50% and 65%, respectively, in CC sales. If you isolate just the weekend sales, the percentages were much higher.

    A dedicated phone line is not required but if you or your staff is on the phone a lot you'll want one. Depending on your location wireless is available but pricey. Ask you bank what options are available from them.

    Kevin
    #8
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 16:26:28 (permalink)
    I use a rewards card, and will often make a restaurant choice based on whether they accept credit cards or not. By doing practically all my buying on the card and paying off the balance each month, I earn rewards without the burden of any finance charges, so it is to my benefit to use the card rather than cash whenever possible.

    If a restaurant is really good and only takes cash, that won't stop me from going there - I'll make a stop at an atm before I get there - but it will stop me if I have never been there before and/or have no idea what the experience (cost in particular) will be like....
    #9
    nvb
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/17 17:32:09 (permalink)
    I think accepting credits card is a must, too. On Fridays I run 400 or so in CC charges, and when you're only running 1200 to 1400 that means a lot.

    If you decide to do it I recommend that you purchase your own machine. I bought my business from a lady that had leased her's and was paying out the wazoo for it. She wanted me to assume her contract, but after looking at it I quickly figured out that I would end up paying more than 700 for it when the lease ended in order to own it. I found a brand new one exactly like the one she had for 325. And this one I own and have no lease payments.

    I only get a couple of AMX charges a month so I'm not hit too hard by them.
    #10
    Scallion1
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 00:20:22 (permalink)
    Stick to your guns. Get an ATM: anyone who has a credit card can get cash. Why give up the vig to Visa or Amex, and lose the nice advantages of cash? I can see it if you're doing a big-ticket place; you can't even get enough cash out of the machine in one day to pay for dinner in one of them. But if you're kind of casual? I mean, how much would someone spend on dinner for 4? $100? $150? Anyone who can't get that out of the ATM shouldn't be eating out.
    DON'T get involved with any of the "program" cards, the ones where you have to give a discount and gain points or whatever the latest scam is. Forget it. Run your place, give good food, good service and keep it clean, and don't worry.
    Remember: once you put the cards in, you can NEVER get rid of them.
    #11
    klkruger
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 07:17:28 (permalink)
    I disagree. I do not think there are 'guns' there worth sticking to. If clamshell is sending people down the street to the bank and some aren't returning, many of those people who aren't returning are likely never to return, having been put off my the no CC policy.

    People expect CC/debit acceptance. It's 2005. You can use them at most fast-food burger joints now and more everyday. There's a reason for that--customers' expectations. The vig is minimal compared to the overall increase in check averages. An ATM doesn't help here. Most people think about how much they're taking out and hence self-limit purchases; many don't like ATM fees and won't use them--I won't. If customers don't come back because they don't like the place, that's one thing; if they never tried it because of payment restrictions that's another.

    Clamshell asked if it was 'worth accepting' cards. It is. Doesn't mean he has to. But not doing so isn't principled--it's obtuse.
    #12
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 08:39:15 (permalink)
    my wife and i have been running a mom and pop place in savannah, ga. for three years now. we did not take plastic for the first year and a half. fought it tooth and nail! then we gave in, because we got tired of sending people away that had no cash. plus, we got stiffed on a few hundred in checks. i mean to tell you the first week we had the machine, our sales incresed! i would never have believed it possible, but it happened. tons of regulars that we saw once in a blue moon were now stopping 2-3 times a week and pulling out plastic!
    our sales went up nearly 50 percent in a month!
    we got our contract through one of our customers. 25 dollars a month for the machine, plus 1.7% each transaction, plus .25 here and .50 here and a dolar here and there......
    yea the charges add up. roughly 200 dollars a month, but worth every cent! i agree the way to go is to buy your own machine, it would have saved us a ton. we have one phone line. the card machine and phone share it. the only catch is that you cant use both at once. no biggie. plastic is the way to go, simple!
    #13
    Theedge
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 09:09:31 (permalink)
    Even though it costs a bit I’d rather be paid with a credit card than written a bad check. What are these big advantages in working with cash some of you are alluding to? I hate having to run cash to the bank. In my particular business people pay by check, I mail them to my out of town bank (good customer) a couple of times a week.
    #14
    hatteras04
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 09:47:44 (permalink)
    I am in my early 30s. My wife is in her late 20s and we have friends who are in their early 20s and I can tell you that the younger generation these days just does not carry around that much cash. I used to carry more cash around when I got an actual paycheck that needed deposited. I would always take part of it in cash. But nowadays with almost every place having direct deposit, there is less chance to get cash out for a lot of people. And I for one almost never use an ATM that charges a fee. So even if you added one I don't think that would help as much as it would to just accept plastic.
    #15
    UncleVic
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    RE: credit cards 2005/05/18 10:47:41 (permalink)
    I'm with Scallion on this one. Buy your own ATM. Not only are you saving the service charges, everytime someone uses your ATM you make a few cents! But as others have said, it really depends on the volume of your business. Pros and Cons either way you look at it..
    #16
    ScreenBear
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    RE: credit cards 2006/02/24 22:49:31 (permalink)
    I like to pay with a check. Of course, only the places I frequent regularly take my check.

    However, if I discover a new place and like it, and find that I'm going there more and more, I ask to speak to either the owner or manager. I then introduce myself, inform of my check paying preference, and ask if I could, in the future, pay with a check.
    The Bear
    #17
    dinerminer
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    RE: credit cards 2006/02/24 23:12:17 (permalink)
    Just face it, in a few years everyone will be paying for everything with some kind of payment card. Personal checks will become a thing of the past mainly because it's expensive for banks to process them. The banks want everything to be electronic, no transference of cash. Ten years ago about 30% of our total business was CC and 70% cash or check. These days it's more like 70% CC, 25% cash, 5% check. MAster card, Visa, Amex and Discover are the only ones you to take. Buy your own machine, you will save in the long run. Nowadays you can also process over the internet as well as conventional phone lines. You should be able to get rates at close to 2%. Shop your your CC processing around and ask for a bundled rate with all "extras" included. Also include CC logos in all of your advertising. Charge on!
    #18
    ScreenBear
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    RE: credit cards 2006/02/24 23:22:38 (permalink)
    Me? I like a check, I like a walk in the park. Maybe the new Chevy Cobalt is convenient. But me, I like a '34 Bugatti. I know it's old. I like a check. What can I tell yuh?
    The Bear
    #19
    jeepguy
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    RE: credit cards 2006/02/25 03:30:56 (permalink)
    We went to Moody's,a pretty famous hamburger place/beer garden in Chicago a while back and just sat outside eating drinking and relaxing.When we were done we left some cash on the table and headed inside to the bar to pay the check.Cash only! No ATM either.The bartender held my driver's license until we returned about 20 minutes later from a grocery store with the money.Sheesh.I glanced outside and saw our table was cleared of tip and was already occupied by another couple.Funny we didn't see any signs about this policy.That really left a sour taste in my mouth.
    #20
    drsmoke02
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    RE: credit cards 2006/02/25 14:20:35 (permalink)
    You need to ask yourself if $1000 in gross sales is worth $30.00,to me it sure is.97% of something is a whole lot better than 100% of nothing,ie.the folks you sent to the bank and found a restaurant that took plastic,on the way.
    #21
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