Once you know what a merchant cash advance is, the next question to pop into your head could be “What can I use a merchant cash advance for?” With so many possibilities, it could seem daunting to make plans to use this cash infusion for your restaurant. This series will help you focus on aspects of your restaurant business that could benefit from a merchant cash advance.
Part 3 of this series focuses on technology updates that could be made with the cash infusion from a merchant cash advance.
Many restaurant owners use the cash infusion from a merchant cash advance to update their décor, purchase new equipment, or expand their menu — areas the customers interact with every day.
But there are other, less visible, aspects of your restaurant that directly affect your customers’ experience. We’re talking about technology — from your point of sale (POS) system to your online presence — and a merchant cash advance offers you the cash infusion you need to take that experience to the next level.
Staying Compliant with New Payment Methods
You’ve probably heard the words “chip and pin” or “chip and sig” lately, and you’re about to hear them a lot more.
The entire country is moving toward the global standard for authenticating credit and debit card transactions called EMV (which stands for “EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa”). As a result, new cards are being deployed equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. EMV chip-enhanced cards will replace our current magnetic-stripe cards.
Although everyone seems to be buzzing about data security and social adoption, the simple takeaway from this transition is that all retailers, including restaurants, must be EMV compliant by October 2015. Those that are still using non-EMV compliant devices and choose to accept transactions made with EMV-compliant cards assume liability, along with the acquirers, for counterfeit card transactions that may occur — charges credit card companies currently absorb.
For restaurateurs who use basic credit card terminals, the transition may be simple and relatively cheap, requiring only a few hundred dollars and the installation of an EMV-compatible chip card reader terminals into their current system.
Transitioning integrated POS systems, however, is a different — and significantly more costly — story, requiring the purchase and installation of new hardware and software. Plus, that time and monetary investment doesn’t include the cost of implementing a rollout schedule and training staff on the new system.
Creating an App or Refreshing Your Website
According to mobile analytics provider Flurry, as of March 2014, smartphone users were spending an average of 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile apps — and the data suggests this number will only keep growing. Two out of three people use mobile apps to make dining decisions, which is a huge incentive to get into the mobile game.
Even a relatively simple app can provide your guests a convenient, one-stop shop for viewing photos of your location, making reservations, reviewing your menu, and checking out your latest posts on social media — a convenience that an increasing number of diners expect.
Still assume creating an app is out of your reach? With the extra capital from a merchant cash advance and some expert tips, building your own app can be much simpler than you think! Not to mention, providing your customers with that extra convenience can significantly increase your restaurant’s sales.
Even if you choose not to create an app, you can still reach a much broader audience by updating your website to be optimized for mobile, an important consideration now that mobile has officially outpaced desktop as the Internet medium of choice for consumers, and Google is rewarding websites that it considers “mobile friendly.”
With the help of a professional web developer, you can ensure your website not only reads well on mobile devices, but also represents your restaurant exactly the way you want.
Your customers will more easily find your site and interact with your brand online, and they’ll be encouraged to interact more with you in person. These online touchpoints increase traffic to your doors, ensuring a strong return on investment for your cash infusion.
But that’s not all you can do with a merchant cash advance. Check out part four of our series about how a cash infusion can help you with event marketing.