Over the next year and a half, Alan Bekerman intends to grow his healthful fast-food series iQ Food Co. from five stores to eleven and not a single one of them will take cash money. “It was one less thing that we had to think about, which is a huge benefit,” says Bekerman, who analysed the idea at two places when he first opened in February 2016 prior to expanding the pilot to all five of his Toronto eateries earlier this season.
Bekerman is just one of a steadily increasing number of retailers who believe that going cashless helps clients as it speeds up support and frees up employees to concentrate on less mundane tasks.
It’s a choice a few in the industry state is very likely to become more commonplace as tap-and-pay cards and electronic wallets increasingly replace coins and notes, saving retailers and clients valuable time by not having to fumble with money at the queue when purchasing goods like women’s shoes.
It’s something co-founder of DavidsTea, David Segal is banking on, after recently opening the doors to his Mad Radish restaurant venture where he has no-cash coverage in place at both Ottawa places.
“I just feel like the benefits are enormous and so why not try it?” says Segal, who anticipates faster service and greater client experience. He says it is too soon in his new effort to understand precisely how much expediency will be gained, but he considers tap-and-pay approaches will always be more efficient than money exchanges.
For the business owner, Bekerman feels the change to cashless transactions has freed up the time of his restaurant managers from performing primitive tasks like counting cash during the day to more productive undertakings like improving training for team members and overall team management. “The highest paid folks in the restaurants can actually spend that time doing things that we thought were a lot more meaningful,” he says.
For both Mad Radish and iQ Food, the reception for their cashless payment systems has been mostly positive thus far.
The stereotype might be that older generations are technology laggards, and don’t understand web page content let alone tap and pay and online banking, but Segal says the tween market — where children might just receive spending money from parents compared not in their own bank account — presents the only challenge. But Mad Radish is now working on a solution, such as a reloadable gift card.
Bekerman says he’s just heard of a few cases of customer grumblings when his company first made the change to electronic payments. The complainants included an executive assistant whose supervisor handed over money to cover lunch and a couple of folks who solely used cash or Bitcoin because of privacy concerns that their personal digital content will be released to hackers.
Consumers, in part, may be driving the trend toward digital-only payments. “Cash is significantly down as a preferred payment device,” says Angela Brown, CEO of Moneris Solutions.
In the recently passed quarter of 2017, a whopping 39.5 percent of payment transactions used tap-and-pay techniques to pay for goods and services, based on information from the debit and credit payment processor. That is up from 30.86 percent the year before. Moneris predicts that figure will jump to 50 percent by the end of the year. This data isn’t just based on larger purchases like women’s boots, but smaller purchases too like coffees and snacks.
The escalation comes as electronic wallets gain a foothold in Canadians’ smart phones. Google’s Android Pay started in the nation at the end of May, while Apple Pay has been available now for at least a year. The increasing availability of these kinds of approaches will significantly increase non-cash obligations in the long term, Brown says.
Last year, the business predicted cash purchases will account for only one-tenth of all money spent in Canada by 2030, and she says that the company remains confident that will be the case as both customers and companies start to prefer the ease of digital payments. The Expansion in tap-and-pay cards and electronic wallets “is absolutely cannibalizing cash transactions.”