When Ria Pell opened Sauced restaurant recently, she decided to gamble on a now-unusual business practice: the restaurant will not accept credit cards.
Pell has installed an ATM on the premises so that guests who find themselves stuck without enough green stuff after dinner can withdraw the needed cash.
“It’s an interesting way not to have Visa suck you dry,” Pell told me of her decision. By not having to pay credit card processing fees, Pell says she can pass the savings on to customers and keep her prices lower.
She got the idea when she was visiting restaurants in New York and noticed that the practice was becoming more commonplace there.
Here in Atlanta you might find cash-only policies at breakfast spots, such as Thumbs Up Diner. But most customers have the $10 in their wallets to front a breakfast tab. As far as I know, there aren’t any other places that serve full dinners and refuse to take plastic.
Pell says the policy is an experiment for now and will change it if there’s a huge backlash from customers. But she also says other restaurant owners are looking at it with great interest.
The fees — which often start with 2.5% of sales off the top — can be daunting for small businesses. The Visa website list these potential fees that acquirers (lending institutions) can levy on merchants:
But many customers prefer the ease of plastic. Today’s post on Sauced got people talking about the no-credit-card policy. A poster named Johnny B summed up a common sentiment with this comment:
“I have been a faithful Ria’s customer for years, and will continue to do so. I am sure this restaurant will be as amazing as Ria is; however, the cash only position they have taken will keep me from dining there as often as I would have otherwise.”
What do you think? Would a cash-only policy keep you from trying out a new restaurant?