Using Yelp To Make Your Restaurant Reservations
    By: Melinn Phifer

    topIf you’re indecisive when it comes to food, and need to look up every review to get a feel for a restaurant before committing, Yelp is for you. Or, you just need to make you sure you have a spot at that popular restaurant you’ve been dying to try, Yelp is here to help. Yelp Reservations allows you to make reservations with the press of a button, on your desktop and on the phone. The app, available for iOS and Android systems, allows you to look up restaurants and sort through reviews and ratings on-the-go. Once you download the app, choose “Reservations” to look up the top restaurants in your current location or a specific location of your choice.

    Before making the commitment of a reservation, the app allows you to narrow down your options based on what you want the restaurant to offer. You can filter the list by price, “open now”, “good for groups”, “distance”, “hot and new”, “free wi-fi”, “outdoor seating”, the list goes on…

    Try something new by searching restaurants in the area or you can search for a specific restaurant to see if they have reservations available. You can view each restaurant individually to get information on hours, noise level, whether there’s a happy hour or if it’s good for kids.end

    You can even check out photos of the food and browse the menu, while reading up to date written reviews and ratings of the food, the employees and the ambiance of the restaurant overall.

    Once your mind is made up, skip the phone call and make the restaurant reservation in less than 30 seconds just by pressing “Reserve Now”. Choose your time and then fill out your name, phone number, email and the box for special requests. Press “Reserve” and you’re eating Italian tonight at 7pm!

    Not up for leaving the house? In order to have a restaurant deliver, you need to download the EAT24 app but you can read reviews on Yelp before you make that delivery decision.

    Yelp isn’t just a restaurant app, you can look up reviews on nightlife, hair salons, shopping and more. 

    Click here for more info about Yelp reservations

    About Yelp:

    Yelp Reservations reaches more guests than any other restaurant reservation system. 

    • In April 2017, Yelp had 92M unique monthly visitors on mobile and desktop in the US.
    • Yelp is the 20th most-visited internet property (desktop and mobile combined) in the U.S.
    • Yelp is the #1 most-visited web property in the Regional/Local category in the U.S.
    • Yelp reaches 36.4% of the total digital population in the United States, while OpenTable reaches only 3.6%.
    • 92 million guests were seated through Yelp Reservations in 2016


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    Tablet Restaurant POS Systems 

    HaaSPoint-of-sale (software) serves as the foundation for any restaurant business. It not only allows a business to securely accept customer payments, it also keeps the flow of the restaurant or food establishment moving forward. The average POS system can cost anywhere between $500 and $3000 per station, which can be completely out of reach for a new or budget-challenged business. For a business owner, choosing a POS system is one of the most important decisions they will have to make, one that can make or break them from the start. 

    Fortunately, there are a lot of options out there for businesses today, including renting the equipment and having that cost built into their monthly fee. Renting can increase purchasing power for an owner, allowing them to get a more powerful system that can increase return on investment (ROI) immediately. Renting a system allows for a merchant to get more in the short run than what they might have otherwise been able to afford, such as more terminals or digital signage. HaaS is a rental agreement that provides additional services, such as support and maintenance, offering the merchant a more complete service. All aspects of the hardware are covered under the agreement.

    There is a wide range of benefits for merchants using HaaS—here are seven reasons why it could be better to rent.

    1. A Flexible Solution
    Merchants can grow their business and have access to more hardware, or they can downsize and have their provider remove whatever is no longer needed. They can end their agreement if the system is not working for them or upgrade to a different system.

    2. Total Support and Complete Maintenance
    Renting a POS system comes with maintenance for any physical issues to the device and customer support to help with day-to-day questions. HaaS is a fully managed service, with all of the monitoring, maintenance, and support wrapped up into a neat package.

    3. No Initial Investment
    Because the merchant is renting the hardware, as opposed to purchasing outright, there is no upfront initial investment. The business owner is provided all new equipment without any of the expenses that are typically associated with upgrading. 

    4. Reduced Overhead 
    HaaS reduces overhead and lowers the overall operating costs of a business. The service is an excellent way for a merchant to budget and have a clear idea of what to expect every month.

    5. Enhance Operations
    Renting a POS system will help with streamlining processes and minimizing downtime, especially when working with updated and efficient equipment. It can be expensive purchasing a POS system that comes with a lot of features.

    6. Increased Security
    Not only is maintenance and support included in standard HaaS agreements, but so is security. Business owners can have a peace of mind knowing that their POS system will come with strong security features, keeping their customer data safe and secure without any hassle.

    7. Convenience and Simplicity
    Hardware as a Service offers complete convenience and simplicity. There is never a need for them to worry about their POS system because they have someone else taking care of it.

    To get started accepting payments from customers, every restaurant or food establishment needs a POS system. Not only do POS systems offer convenience and functionality for the business owners, they offer patrons options for payment and trust of mind that their data is safe. A POS system will also help get customers out as quickly as possible, increasing overall sales. It is important for merchants to know their options in order to make the right decision, whether that be buying outright or renting.

    Nicole BryanAbout the Author:
    Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.

     

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    The Benefits That Restaurants Need to Know About Pay-At-The-Table

    pay at the table

    With payment experiences changing in the United States, a small but growing number of restaurants across the country are starting to grab a hold on the latest tableside ordering technology. These options allow them to better meet customer demand for ease of payments while also streamlining their processes and making their operations run more efficiently.

    There are multiple benefits for implementing a tableside payment process at restaurants. It brings the point-of-sale to the customer, which in turn helps boost revenue and increase table turn rates. Another big selling point is that it helps protect customer's sensitive cardholder data, which has remained a major concern for merchants and customers alike. With increased security comes a reduction in chargebacks, alleviating the liability burden placed on business owners who are not EMV compliant.

    Here are each of those benefits explored in greater detail:

    Higher Table Turns

    The biggest point where restaurants ultimately fail is when the customer has to wait for their check when they want to go home. A restaurant can have the best food, drinks, and service around, but if it took to long for them to process a payment, everything before that is forgotten because now the customer is angry they have to wait. According to a study by Long Range Systems, LLC (LRS), 93 percent of restaurants have at least some wait-time periods, and a third of those restaurants reported that their wait times are getting longer.

    Pay-at-the-Table not only cuts down on check out times, but it frees up the waiters to make sure that other tables are moving along smoothly. Having that type of technology in a restaurant can save the staff anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes per table, allowing them to serve even more guests in a day.

    Increased Customer Satisfaction and Better Tipping

    There is absolutely no question that pay-at-the-table solutions can help restaurants enhance their customer service. As mentioned earlier, cutting down wait times alone will make customers look more favorably at their dining experience. According to the NRA's 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 79% of consumers said they thought that technology increased convenience, finding that technology is an important aspect to where they choose to eat.

    Cutting down the wait time by bringing payment devices to the table not only leads in higher table turns, but it also increases the face time customers have with their servers. The result is better tips for servers, especially with how streamlined the process for tipping is on tableside payment systems. The terminal can simplify tipping by offering suggested tip amounts or percentages.

    Reduced Chargebacks

    As more and more merchants move to EMV, restaurants that do not upgrade their technology to accept those payments are putting themselves and their business at risk of chargebacks. Merchants with higher transaction numbers, such as restaurants, stand to take on an increased portion of the risk associated with the 2015 EMV liability shift. With the owner responsible for paying back every single chip card chargeback fee, even one can destroy a small business.

    Pay-at-the-table platforms bring EMV compliance to a business instantly, which in turn shifts that liability back to the banks. They also reduce employee theft fraud and tip fraud.

    Stronger Security All Around

    Security for restaurants is crucial when talking about credit cards and identify theft in the age of digital technology. The transactions that give a restaurant owner the most peace of mind are the ones that involve the credit card never leaving their customers sight. This provides reductions in identity theft and card skimming by troublesome staffers, where in the past cards typically left customers' reach for ten plus minutes. There have been instances where waiters who are a part of fraud groups, wear hidden card skimmers on their belt loops to collect credit card data.

    Going even further, most payment providers that are implementing tableside EMV support are also utilizing tokenization and point-to-point encryption to secure transactions. Customers may not know all of the lengths that a restaurant is going to protect their information but they will appreciate it nonetheless.

    The rising popularity of pay-at-the-table is a long-term trend, not a fad. There is an overall basic consumer expectation that their experience will, in some way, include technology and convenience. While the decision of how exactly to integrate that technology is specific to each individual restaurant, successful owners and operators will need a heavier reliance on technology moving forward.

     

    sterling paymentsAbout the Author:
    Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.

     

     

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    2 is New: What Restaurants Need to Know About the Mastercard 2-Series BIN Expansion

    mastercardThe payments sphere has changed dramatically in the past few decades, so much so that it sometimes feels as if it is an entirely new landscape. With unattended payment solutions, mobile wallets, and EMV chip cards, gone are the days of carrying cash as a main form of payment. One of the biggest changes to the payments industry is happening at this very moment – The global payments giant, Mastercard, is in the process of expanding to its new 2-series card account numbers, from 222100 to 272099. 

    The original date for merchant compliance was January of this year, but Mastercard extended the deadline by six months to June 30th. With almost a month since the June deadline passed, Mastercard has begun testing terminals for compliance. If a merchant has been caught, their acquirers could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 per month. Restaurant owners and other business owners need to have point-of-sale systems that support this new range of Mastercard numbers. If an establishment does not have a POS system that supports the new BIN range, Mastercard or the processor themselves may issue penalties. Even one penalty could destroy a small restaurant operation. Though the deadline has passed, it is not too late to act now.

    Why is Mastercard Adding Numbers?

    Mastercard is essentially doubling the number of cards to address the rapid growth in digital commerce. Decades ago, thousands of cards were circulating around, today that number is closer to about nine billion. In an interview with Andrea Gilam, the Mastercard SVP for Franchise Development, PYMNTS.com noted “Gilman says that this move is critical since the use of existing BINs has accelerated to the point of activation that nobody would have envisioned several years ago. Gilman pointed out that just a few decades ago, there were 38,000 cards in the field; today there are roughly 9 billion. As more digital end points involving commerce emerge, she emphasized that the ability to issue more cardholder accounts and support new types of digital credentialing via tokenization becomes paramount. Adding their new BIN range is one important step in giving issuers those tools and that flexibility.”

    What Does This Have To Do With Restaurant Payment Processing?

    Restaurant owners more than likely did not get into the hospitality business because they love the payment processing industry. Although restaurant owners have a lot of other aspects of their business to worry about, it is impossible to get by without a deeper understanding of the payments industry. Every time a customer makes a purchase at a restaurant, they are entrusting that establishment with their credit cards and personal information. Just as a customer expects to have the best dining experience, they also expect to have their sensitive data handled with care. If the POS system set in place does not meet essential security requirements, the restaurant-customer relationship becomes compromised, hindering the reputation. It is important to have a system that offers security measures such as P2P encryption, tokenization, and EMV chip card technology.

    What is the Best Way for Merchants to Prepare Their POS System?

    The keys to having the best POS solution is flexibility and preparedness. Mastercard is not the first payment change to affect the payments industry and it certainly will not be the last. The EMV Liability Shift had a rough start due to slow adoption. Merchants and customers alike suffered from that rough start. Even merchants who had EMV ready terminals suffered from issues with waiting for a qualified technician to certify their equipment, which caused massive headaches for consumers who were unsure if they could use their chip cards or not. EMV provides the perfect example as to why preparedness is crucial. The future of the restaurant and payments industries are unpredictable, but one aspect of them are certain: business owners are the ones that help to shape it.

    If a business owner is unsure about their POS systems compatibility with the new Mastercard BIN range, here are two things they can do:

    • Contact their processor immediately.
    • Contact Mastercard via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to resquest a 2-series test card. More information can be found here.

    sterling paymentsAbout the Author:
    Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.

     

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    This Restaurant is Seeing Huge ROI on Gift Cards

    Gift cards aren't something you think of as a huge money-maker.  But ROI on gift cards can be astonishing.  Especially if you really know how to use them. 

    gift card

    This is a quick lesson learned by one of my clients.  They're a popular restaurant in a smaller suburb outside Minneapolis.  And while they've always been popular, they struggle to grow.  

    They recently installed a new POS system, and their POS rep recommended they call me for gift cards.  And when people find out the cost of gift cards, they often waiver on whether they need them.  "Those are expensive," Sandy, the owner remarked to me. 

    "Sandy, I understand your reservations, but lets talk about the ways you make money on gift cards."  My standard response. 

    So, how do you make money with gift cards? 

     1.) You sell gift cards to people in the store. 

     Seems simple enough, but there are even pointers here.  

    First of all, 85% of gift cards get used within 60 days.  But that other 15% often doesn't get redeemed at all.  That means for every $1000 in gift cards you sell, you get $150 free. Not a ton of cash, but it's free! 

    Second, 66% of people with gift cards spend more than the value of the gift card.  38% more to be specific.  So if you sell $1000 of gift cards, it equates to $1300 in actual sales. 

    Third, gift cards aren't redeemable for cash, and they're not refundable.  So, if someone buys one, that cash is yours.  You've already made it.  Almost like someone making a downpayment on dinner! 

    So, where do people go wrong here?  There's a couple of easy things that keep people from selling gift cards.  But the biggest one, is that they don't display them.  If your customers don't know you have gift cards, how the heck can they buy them?!

    2.) You give gift cards away. 

    This sounds kind of strange when you first hear it.  But how often do you get a call from some high school that needs something for their raffle?  Or from the boyscouts, who need a prize for something?  As a small business owner, you're bombarded by community groups who want you to give stuff away.  And the publicity is a nice trade off.  So why not give them a gift card?  

    The gift card will do 2 things for you.  It'll set a limit for what you're willing to give away.  And it will let you track the results.  Your POS system can alert you to which gift cards get used.  This is super valuable when tracking your marketing efforts. 

    But why stop there?  Why not give $10 gift cards to customers who spend $50 or more in your restaurant?  What does that $10 gift card represent?  It represents a customer who HAS to come back to your restaurant to use it.  You're guaranteeing return business, and for the price of $10! 

    So what Happened with Sandy?

    Well, after giving her this advice, she ordered 500 cards.  We actually made Sandy 2 different designs.  1 for customers in the store who need cards, and a second design for cards to give away!  She had such good luck giving cards away, that she needed to reorder those cards 9 months later! 

    I've been in the industry for years, and I'll tell you that for what gift cards cost, there's no better investment. Gift cards represent your brand, they're often reusable, and secure.  It's a great way to make your restaurant some more money this holiday season. 

     $160 Billion dollars will be spent on gift cards this year.  Restaurants account for about 35% of that.  Don't you want your piece of $56 Billion dollars?  


    About the Author:
    Cole Goebel is the Enterprise/Channel Manager for Plastic Printers in Minnesota. A leading plastic card providers for POS. Cole interfaces with POS providers to offer card directly to their customers. Cole Goebel is a POS Industry insider. He's an expert in encoding and barcode data, and has a great knowledge of POS integrations. Cole is also the writer and editor of his personal industry blog, and you can follow him here: www.posrumor.com. Or on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cole-goebel/

     

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