The use of cash is decreasing so rapidly that it may someday become obsolete. According to the 2016 Consumer Payment Study, 75 percent of Americans prefer to pay with credit or debit cards while only 11 percent opt for cash.

Mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay also continue to grow in popularity. The use of mobile wallets is predicted to rise at an 80 percent compound annual growth rate over the next several years.

Some restaurant owners are jumping on the bandwagon by adopting a cashless payment plan. They’re finding that most customers don’t mind the change and it results in significant improvements in efficiency and safety.

Benefits of Cashless Transactions

Processing payments tableside via credit or debit card is faster and more secure. Since employees aren’t handling cash, it eliminates the temptation for theft and reduces the possibility of money being lost or stolen. It’s safer for staff to leave at night without worrying about carrying cash tips, and managers no longer have to worry about making trips to the bank with large deposits.

Servers and bartenders no longer have to spend hours after their shifts counting out their cash. The change also reduces manager and accountant labor hours. When a reconciliation error occurs, the existence of payment receipts for every transaction makes it far easier to track down the problem.

Cash itself is also inherently filthy. A recent study found that dollar bills are covered in thousands of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and even traces of drugs. Employees who are handling food and beverages are better off avoiding this sanitary nightmare.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

Restaurant owners considering the switch to a cashless environment must prepare for some bumps in the road. Here are a few things to consider.

Increased Processing Fees

Your credit card processing fees may increase, but this is usually offset by the positive impact of improved efficiency. You can minimize your costs by using a quality processing company like Americard.

Before making the transition, it’s important to evaluate your current service provider. Make sure you’re comfortable with the technology, fee transparency, reliability and security offered through your contract.

Customer Adaptation

When you explain to your customers the reasoning behind your decision, most of them will adapt quickly. Be sure to prominently display signs letting your patrons know you do not accept cash. This will help avoid a situation where they could be caught off guard.


It’s also a good idea to keep a company credit card on hand to accommodate customers who are unable or unwilling to pay with a method other than cash.


The Bottom Line

Since a cashless environment is a fairly new concept, there’s bound to be a learning curve. Do your best to proactively prepare and have a backup plan in place to deal with problems.


As more companies recognize the many advantages of eliminating the use of cash, this trend is bound to grow. Early adoption will put your restaurant ahead of the curve and result in a significant improvement to your bottom line.