Preparations are in full swing in beer gardens and street-side restaurants, which are getting ready for the long evenings and pleasant temperatures that promise to lead to an increase in sales, especially in the world of outdoor catering. As a result, restaurant and pub owners are investing significant amounts of time and money in licenses, seating, parasols, crockery, the perfect menus and much much more. One element, however, is often forgotten: the payment procedure. With the right point-of-sale system and mobile card terminals, caterers are not only able to improve their service, but also make life easier for their staff on a long-term basis, saving them from having to waste valuable time and energy trekking back and forth to the cash desk. Moreover, the use of mobile payment devices inspires confidence in credit and debit card payments because guests can keep an eye on their card at all times.
Mobile Terminals – Bringing the Cash Register to the Guest
In order to enable their customers to pay at the table, restaurant and pub owners can now choose from a wide range of mobile card devices. Mobile terminals are powered by rechargeable battery, making them completely self-contained and, thanks to their integral PIN pad, magnetic card reader, receipt printer and remote data transmission unit, also fully mobile. The debit and credit card therefore always remains close to the guests and, with each card payment at the table, staff avoid having to make a return trip to the cash desk.
Choosing the Right Device
The fundamental difference between the devices is their mobile technology. According to the intended use of the device, users can choose between Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS. Bluetooth-based terminals enable bills to be paid within a radius of up to 200 metres from the base station. If a caterer wants to be able to process payments with no limitations and no need for a fixed base station, then a mobile radio-based terminal using GSM or GPRS technology is the ideal device. The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) forms the faster and more modern alternative, proving to be on a par with non-wireless payment processing where speed is concerned.
For the use of the mobile network, payment service providers like easycash GmbH are offering flat rates as a fixed basis for the calculation of costs. These are accompanied by transaction-based costs depending on the payment procedure used, as in the case with all card terminals.
Card Payment is Better Value than the Use of Cash
Card payment also enables users to make savings with regard to administrative expenditure: automated processes and individual reports for accounting purposes give restaurant and pub owners the chance to focus on their guests and, in addition, the total volume of sales is credited daily. On top of this, card payment reduces charges for the handling of cash, which, according to figures from the independent retail institute EHI, can lead to costs amounting to up to 0.8 percent of turnover.
Non-Cash Payments Are Still on the Upswing
Although Germany is not leading the way in terms of card payment, in 2009 its number of retail payments made by card was already at 37.5%, and this is an upward trend. Non-cash payment procedures are also becoming increasing important in the world of catering, with 22% of bills in restaurants being paid by credit or debit card in 2008 according to the German Federal Bank.
In a nutshell, modern and mobile card payment terminals offer caterers a wide variety of opportunities to save and optimise their business and provide guests with an added bonus that will contribute to their overall impression of their visit.
 A video that demonstrates this speed is available at http://www.easycash.de/news_kartenakzeptanz_gprs_gsm.html .
 Source: EHI Retail Institute, “Karten-Entwicklungen aus Handelssicht“ (‘Card Developments from a Retail Point of View’), 2010
 Source: German Federal Bank, “Zahlungsverhalten in Deutschland“ (‘Payment Behaviour in Germany’), 2009