Optimize your business using technology and cost-saving services.
By Suneera Madhani
Wining, dining and shopping make up some of Americans’ favorite activities and methods for unwinding after a long day, or celebrating an occasion. It’s only natural that these popular actions begin to integrate technology more and more to streamline the process and make it more enjoyable for patrons. Technology and effective services are becoming the norm when going out to eat, from the process of ordering to checking out, and now is the time to make sure your systems are in check while also making smart business decisions.
Today, everywhere we go and everything we do involves technology in some way — navigating to a destination, checking into a workout class, getting real-time sports updates. Due to this trend and daily integration, businesses, especially restaurants, are hopping on board. Now, many companies are using customizable self-service tablet kiosk systems to not only allow patrons to order food and drinks directly from its devices, but also integrate management systems, point of sales and social media accounts. This doesn’t eliminate human interaction as you are still seated and served by staff, but makes the ordering process extremely easy for both restaurant goers and restaurant managers. Technological integrations in restaurants are focused on helping businesses succeed by providing innovative technology, revenue-generating tools and access to affordable rates.
In addition to streamlining the ordering process, it’s important for restaurant owners and business managers to also ensure they are making the most of their bottom line. Monthly recurring expenses such as electric, phone/cable and credit card processing bills are a necessary part of business, but shouldn’t be overpaid due to a lack of exploring competitive options. Credit card processing bills are one of the most commonly overlooked bills with more than 30% of business owners responding in a recent survey saying they don’t look at their bill before paying it or have no knowledge about their merchant processing account. This is an alarming stat and one that can be completely avoided by doing research and understanding merchant processing options and how to run a secure business.
An effective first step is to take a close look at your credit card processing statements from 2016. Are there a lot of markups and fees going beyond the interchange rates? Give your current processing provider a call and negotiate the ancillary fees cutting into your bottom line. If they’re not willing to negotiate additional markups, it may be time to find a new provider. Once you’ve ensured you’re not getting overcharged for credit card processing, find a way to incorporate it into your operational tech to streamline the entire process.
Since the EMV switch last October, almost every merchant has a chip card reader, and it has been implemented into most of our credit cards from the bank. However, there are still companies waiting to adopt the technology and implement new card readers, making them susceptible to fraud. Due to the EMV Liability Shift, having a fraudulent card run could bring your restaurant to its knees. If a business has not adopted EMV technology, the business is the one held financially liable for the fraudulent transaction, not the banks. For many restaurants and retail businesses, facing the liability of a fraudulent card transaction forces them to shut down. According to a study conducted by The National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small businesses close within 6 months of experiencing a data breach.
Make 2017 a year of prosperity and excellent customer experience for your business. Be open to adopting new technologies that can make processes like ordering or checking in easier and more streamlined for your business, and look for competitors that can ease the burden of your monthly bottom line, especially when it’s a recurring payment.
— Suneera Madhani is CEO of Fattmerchant, which she founded with the promise to establish a transparent merchant services company offering financial and strategic value to the everyday business owner. Website: www.fattmerchant.com.