Keep Your Diners Coming Back for More with the Convenience of a Merchant Account

There was a time when all it took to keep customers coming back to a restaurant was good food, friendly service, and reasonable menu prices. Now there are other considerations to keep in mind.

These days, many people want to make all their purchases with credit or debit cards, including their restaurant meals. And they want the processing of those payments to go quickly. In fact, a bad experience when it comes time to pay the check can ruin an otherwise enjoyable dining experience.

So how do you, as a restaurant owner, keep your diners happy and coming back for future meals?

One way is by taking advantage of the benefits offered by a merchant account, and those benefits are many when it comes to the restaurant business. Because it all comes down to efficiency, as far as the customer is concerned, why not make the payment process as simple as possible?

A merchant account functions simply. It will allow your customers to pay with credit or debit cards or even with electronic checks quickly and efficiently. It allows you to validate the customer’s payment in real time, which will let both of you know that the funds are available immediately.

The processing of payment information will go quickly because merchant accounts are set up to use the latest software and equipment technology. This allows your customer to go quickly on his way, taking with him a great last impression of your restaurant.

But the benefits of using a merchant account can be even more specific for your customers. Imagine being able to let them keep running tabs for a long evening or to let a table full of customers split a single bill between several different credit cards. And how about the server’s tip?

Customers appreciate knowing that their credit card has been authorized before they add the tip to the check. They don’t want to have to wait for a re-authorization after they add the tip to the bill. They want to go through the process one time, sign their check, and then be on their way. Your merchant account makes that happen.

These simple benefits could give you a big advantage over competing restaurants. But there are still other benefits that can help you and your customers further.

For example, if your establishment also contains a bar area, you’ve probably had customers ask if they can combine their meal charges with their bar tabs. With a merchant account, the answer will be, “Of course!” One bill for drinks and dinner is presented to the customer at the end of the evening, the payment is quickly processed, and the customer will leave with the impression that you run a highly efficient business. And that is just the kind of impression you want them to walk away with.

You can even institute a loyalty program for customers based on details that can be captured from their credit or debit card payments. A merchant account can be designed to track customer activity from their payments so that you can target them for special incentives to return to your restaurant—and perhaps they will even bring along some friends for you to impress.

For example, perhaps you want to offer your regular customers a two for one deal on their favorite menu items. A merchant account can be designed to keep track of exactly what your customers have ordered on past visits so that a special coupon can be mailed to their billing address. Such a coupon might even be generated with the customer’s name right on it. This is a truly personal touch that can be generated systematically.

Your customers will feel a personal connection to your restaurant, believing that you care enough about them to offer them their favorite meals at a discount. Such special treatment is bound to bring repeat business through your doors. And since it is targeted to existing customers, you won’t waste time and money targeting people who may not be interested in your restaurant at all.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what type of restaurant you run. Whether you have a sandwich shop, a burger joint, or a four-star steak house—where your customers are concerned, it all comes down to that final impression. The best food and service won’t be remembered by customers who have to wait for their credit or debit cards to be verified through a slow, outdated system. When they are ready to leave, they don’t want to be kept waiting.

So keep your fabulous food in the front of their minds by making their payment process as effortless as possible. They’ll remember a delicious meal, an attentive wait staff, and the knowledge that every time they come to your dining room, they’ll have a wonderful experience from start to finish.