Cash or Check – No Cards

I went to Seattle Pie Company today to buy a pie. I love their pie. But when I went to pay, I was greeted with “Sorry, we only accept cash or check.” WTF? I replied with “since when?”, and was told 2 days ago. Well, so sorry, but I don’t carry cash. Ever. And I don’t use checks, because the information contained on a check is enough to go online and drain an account.

As a business owner, how stupid can you be? If times are tough, do you really think you’re going to do MORE business by saying no to paying customers over a tiny fee? You are mistaken. The reality is you’ll just be going out of business sooner, rather than later.

I will not do business with a business that refuses to accept whatever form of payment I elect to use. Do you really think I’m going to go around the corner and pay $5 in ATM fees so I can pull out some cash and save you 50 cents? Like hell I am.

I’m a business owner myself, and I’ll accept payment in dang near any form. I even accept barter. AMEX, sure thing. PayPal, no problem. As a business owner, you account for the cost of payment processing, and adjust your prices accordingly. If your business is suffering, you have yourself to blame, not merchant accounts, terminal fees or credit card processing fees. Sticking it to your customers is a sure way to destroy a business.

I know the margins in the food industry are very, very small (typically 3-7% net margins.) I get it. But those small margins come from doing business the way the food industry has always done business, and there are plenty of creative business owners who have broken away from traditions and traditionally terrible margins. Why not consider an alternative? Try thinking outside the box, and you may find your margins increasing exponentially.

Remember, having to turn away business because you don’t want to pay a small fee is foolishness in the extreme. Seattle Pie Company lost a $20 sale today, and all it would have cost them would have been 50-60 cents in processing fees. Oops.

If your restaurant or other food business is suffering, give me a holler. I’m a marketing expert, and the odds are good that I could help you turn things around (and if your food is awesome, I’ll totally accept payment in food!)