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February 14, 2015 Staff

Customer Payment Options: Cash, Credit Or Cell Phone?

Giving customers the option to pay how they want is a simple way to improve the customer experience, ideally increasing loyalty and sales. But as many small businesses, including food trucks have found — paperless forms of payment, such as mobile payments can pay off far beyond convenience… They can boost overall revenue for a concession business as well. This post explains why.

How Multiple Payment Options Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Utilize the equipment you use daily.  Before mobile payments gave customers the option to pay using a credit or debit card on a smartphone or tablet, businesses had to pay for a fixed point of sales terminal system to accept any form of payment other than cash. The only thing mobile small businesses now need to accept credit cards is the mobile-payment equipped smartphone or tablet.

Not only do these tablets offer your concession business a way to accept a wider range of payment options, they can conserve much needed space on your vehicle. As any veteran food trucker knows, you need to be extremely thoughtful with the space equipment consumes on your vehicle. Often time this can mean limiting the cooking equipment and menu items that are being served. Fortunately, by accepting payments on a mobile device you aren’t forced to compromise. We promise none of your customers will miss the old-school cash register either.

Improved sales with improved customer perception of wait times. Whether it’s a lunch rush during the workweek, dinner, or a weekend brunch, restaurant demand fluctuates with the customer’s day. To accommodate whatever “eating event” brought customers to your food truck, providing quality food is as important as providing hassle-free wait times.

A study on the impact that wait lines have on sales conducted at Duke University revealed that a customer’s willingness to wait in a checkout line is dependent on their perception — regardless of actual wait time, or how many employees are manning point of sale terminals. With paperless payments, you can proactively capture the lost sales that a long wait line might present. By creating three separate customer lines (one for customers to order, a second that a team of employees can “man” by meeting each customer in line to process the mobile payment transaction, and a third for order pick ups), your business model is instantly more appealing to customers.

concession trucks

Accepting Multiple Forms of Payment Can Increase Revenue For Almost Any Concession Vehicle.

Electronic receipts.  Providing paper receipts means you need to keep paper and a printing device in your food truck  — but providing proof of purchase is a necessity — especially for customers who will submit the cost of their meal for a business-related reimbursement. When you conduct paperless payment transactions, the customer can choose whether to receive the electronic receipt by email or text message.  In turn, he or she can be confident that sensitive information the receipt may contain (like the last four digits of a credit card) is kept secure, unlike a paper receipt, which is easily lost, or otherwise compromised.

Customers are beginning to expect the option. Consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to the idea of mobile payment  — especially for smaller transactions like those made for food or coffee. As Nation’s Restaurant News reported, throughout 2014, leading quick service and fast food restaurant brands like Taco Bell, Subway, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A have taken notice, and all made steps to embrace mobile payment platforms. Though mobile payments and mobile wallet technology has been slower to catch on in the U.S. versus some European countries, the amount of innovative leaders like Google and Apple that are now part of the mobile payments sphere have turned the payment method mainstream. In tandem, Gartner Research predicts that mobile payment adoption rates will catch on quickly, estimating an annual volume and value increase averaging a 35 percent growth rate, until 2017.

Serve cashless customers.  According to Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, mobile payments are becoming more widely accepted by merchants of all sizes, online and off, there’s a chance that some of your customers already have an account with the mobile payment provider you use to process mobile payments. In such instances, you can service customers who aren’t carrying cash or a credit card, provided they log in to the account they’ve already established with the payment processor to access their stored payment data. If your food truck occasionally experiments with new locations to expand your customer base, advertising that you accept mobile payments can also help attract cashless customers who might otherwise not visit your food truck.

What ways is your concession business accepting payments for customers? We’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below. 

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