Top Features to Look for When Choosing a Merchant Services Company for Your Restaurant



As a restaurant owner, no one needs to tell you that you are in a cut-throat industry. With your profit margin often razor-thin, constant worries about staffing and food quality, and your ongoing work to bring in new customers, every minute is precious. That’s why you need a merchant account provider who can make your life simpler, not more difficult.

Accepting Mobile Payments

Today’s smart restaurateurs are embracing modern technology by optimizing their websites for mobile devices. If someone is looking for a new place to eat, there is a very good chance that their search will take place over their mobile phone.

Once you have made your website mobile-friendly, you’re still not done. You should look for a merchant account provider who can set you up to accept payments from both Apple and Android phones. By so doing, you will accommodate the increasing numbers of patrons who are leaving their credit cards behind in favor of relying exclusively on their digital wallets and mobile devices for payment. The last thing you want to do is to lose valuable customers just because you don’t offer their payment method of choice.

Efficient Payment Processing

It’s one of your biggest frustrations: A large group of customers asks if you would be willing to split the check. Because you want to accommodate their wishes and provide them with the best possible service, you agree to do so. However, your clunky old point-of-sale (POS) solution becomes overwhelmed by the onslaught of all the various types of credit cards, and the experience seems to go on forever. In the end, neither you nor your customers feel good about the situation.

If ever you needed a message from the universe telling you it’s time to upgrade your equipment, you just got it. Fortunately, there are updated systems that conduct payment processing for restaurants quickly and accurately regardless of the types of credit, debit, and gift cards you throw at them.

There are several important features to consider in a POS solution. Make sure the merchant services provider you choose can give you equipment that gives you the following:

  •  Speed and efficiency.
  •  Hardware that is both reliable and able to be upgraded regularly by the provider.
  •  Customizability to your needs.
  •  Equipped with reporting and analytics features.
  •  Capability to incorporate online ordering, a useful enhancement either now or in the future.
  •  Inventory tracking.
  •  Customer support.

If you see yourself taking off in a big way in the next few years, you may also want to be sure that the system you buy from your merchant account provider will allow you to roll out features such as tableside payments and self-service kiosks.

Increased and Enhanced Security

Did you know that according to PCI data security standards, you are required to have a security camera in place to oversee the areas where credit cards are being processed? When both your employees and your customers are aware that they are under surveillance, the level of security increases a great deal. Furthermore, you should take steps to see that your merchant account provider furnishes you with a cutting-edge POS solution that encrypts data and possesses various authentication features.

Ability to Choose and Customize

As you search for the merchant services provider that best meets your needs, bear in mind that you will probably be in a relationship with this company for several years. Therefore, you should insist on finding one that allows you to customize your bundle of features according to your establishment’s size, profit amounts, and customer base. After all, a neighborhood diner requires different things than a large banquet venue, and you owe it to yourself to work with a provider who listens to you and works hard to understand your requirements, and even grow with you in the years to come. You want a representative who will help you to determine exactly what features you do and don’t need since you most likely will not need to waste your financial resources on every one of the numerous bells and whistles that currently exist in the payment processing world.

At the very least, however, you should get a system that enables you to compile reports and automate some of your day-to-day tasks. To that end, you need to work with a merchant services provider who can explain how these features work. Once you get them up and running, they will enable you to track your sales and buying trends, take care of many payroll and accounting tasks, keep track of staff hours, and cultivate ongoing relationships with your customers via promotions and loyalty programs. With the valuable patron database your system can help you to initiate and maintain, you can keep in touch with people via email, sharing the news about promotions, menu changes, and special events. If you do it right, the patrons you value so much will feel cared about and will be even more likely to make a return visit.

Your merchant services company isn’t just the conduit that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments from your customers. In fact, this vendor can be your life-line that provides you with tech-savvy, customer- and staff-friendly solutions for virtually all of the issues that arise on a daily basis in your busy restaurant. Because this company is sure to play a pivotal role in your eatery for months and even years, take whatever time you need to do your homework and arrive at the one you like best. The process may seem like a waste of time now, but you will thank yourself time and time again.