As the country went cashless, after the announcement of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the restaurant industry bore the brunt. As pockets ran dry, the footfall in restaurants saw a marginal dip, especially in small restaurants and food businesses that do not accept debit/credit cards or online payments.
In one of our recent articles, we talked about How the Ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Notes Affects Your Restaurant Business. Taking the discussion forward, here, we will talk about the steps you can undertake to beat the odds and ensure that you continue to thrive in your business and do not lose out on any customer baffled by the effect of demonetization of widely used currencies.
Take note of the ways you can keep your restaurant business unaffected by this temporary liquidity crunch.
Have Online Food Ordering and Payment Provision
Following the announcement of the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes as legal tender, online payments saw a record surge. The number of app downloads of Paytm, an online payment platform, tripled, with a 250% surge in overall transactions and their value, suggesting that cashless payments are here to stay. Thus, having online food ordering and payment facility has mandatory to survive in the cashless environment. There are several online food ordering facilities that support plastic payments and digital wallets. You can partner with one or more of online food ordering and delivery start-ups like Zomato, Foodpanda, Swiggy, Runnr or have your own online ordering app and website.
Keep your Mobile Card Machines Ready
With people increasingly switching to digital payments, it is now a sincere necessity to incorporate payments through all kinds of debit cards, credit cards, other online payment gateways or online wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik etc. and even RuPay cards, for which National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has waived off the switching fee charges which were at Rs 0.60 to card issuing bank (issuer) and Rs 0.30 to card accepting bank (acquirer) for POS and e-commerce till 31stDecember, 2016.
Also, ensure that you have a well integrated virtual terminal.If possible, equip your delivery boys with mobile card machines for home delivery orders.
Use a Robust Point of Sale Software
With the sudden increase in digital payments; Point of Sale software has suddenly become the need of the hour, instead of just being a convenience. A number of small restaurants and food businesses still use handwritten receipts instead of generating POS bills, which results in a lot discrepancy in records. Since customers are now paying mostly through debit cards and digital wallets, the need for a robust POS has become universal.
Now that it is evident that your online orders are likely to increase. Thus, make sure you have a POS that automatically fetches orders from different food ordering services, instead of you having to calculate the multiple orders manually the end of the day.
Make the Best of the Situation
All said and done, if you do not already have an online food delivery facility, you need to advertise and promote that you have an online food ordering facility and accept digital payments.
If you are one of those restaurants which might accept cash in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 or have any special offers on online transactions for customers, blatantly flaunt the same offline, as well as on every possible relevant online platform. This will not only prove beneficial during the current phase of the cash crunch but will be rewarding for your restaurant brand in building a rapport and gaining credibility among customers for a long term.
Priyank Sukhija, a Delhi-based restaurateur who owns Lord of the Drinks and other popular eateries said, “We are offering our customers credit up to Rs 6,000 on every table in the current scenario. Our business declined by 50 percent in the initial two days.”Source
Several eateries and online food ordering services have increased the cash-back offers for customers paying through mobile wallets. Rahul Shinde, managing director, KFC India, said that to counter the sudden dip in footfalls, KFC India has increased the cash-back offers for customers paying through Paytm. He further added, “We are encouraging consumers to use e-payments and mobile wallets – there is 15% cash back (from 10% earlier) on Paytm transactions at all our restaurants. On delivery, our riders carry card POS machines and accept all major credit or debit cards.”
On the other hand, as a humanitarian gesture, Pizza Hut has promised to deliver pan pizza and slices worth Rs 5 lakh at selected branches of banks like ICICI, HDFC, Corporation Bank, Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda even over the weekend.
Remember, the ruckus is temporary. It is expected that it will take at least two-three months for the dust to settle and normalcy to return to the economy. However, with the government’s eye on all monetary transactions, it looks like cashless transactions are here to stay.