offbeat credit card swiper questions

We will be opening a small mom/pop shop in couple months and have some questions about accepting credit cards. My wife and I are not cell phone users and only I use the net- for a couple pizza forums and emails. We are going to use a carbonless 2 page ticket for orders - one goes on a brass check spindle and one to me who will be making the pizzas. That ticket will go with the box on to go orders and for dine in we will use the tented number system where the customer gets one and puts it on their table and that # will be on the ticket. This way our employees, which will have developmental disabilities can take the corresponding numbered pizza order to that table. We will have a simple cash register, land line phone.

I was raised in the NJ cash only pizza culture but realize todays world is credit cards. So my question is how do we accept credit cards? I see those credit card swipers that print out a receipt you sign and the food place keeps one and you the other. That is the direction that seems the easiest. Does anyone know where we go to get one of these machines and are the rates similar to the square system? Do we do it through our bank? We are not wanting to invest finacially or emotionally into an Ipad or fancy hand held phone unless it is over the top crazy expensive to do it this way. We will do an excel sheet and paper ledger for our books and handwrite items on a shopping list for ordering supplies. We plan on using our latptop for ordering from vendors. This is going to be a very small operation and I can easily keep inventory status in my head like I have been doing with my school based bakeries/pizzerias for the past 25 years. Thanks. Walter

Here are a few photos of the Smiling with Hope Pizzeria as it looked with the previous tennant. We are going to repaint to Italian flag colors and add new seating .


I had tried the table tent numbers, and my FOH crew still couldn’t get food to the correct tables, and they were not developmentally disabled!!
We ended up going cafeteria-style over a year ago, and have had zero problems with people getting the wrong food, on extra busy days, I do have an expediter helping out though.

POS system, You may want to reconsider not using one. I went with Point Of Success and my most annoying issues disappeared immediately upon implementation of the system. On a busy day before the POS system, I had near $300.00 of product leaving without being paid for just by the cashiers forgetting to charge for items, or wrong pricing on items. It was bankrupting me! Then handwritten tickets that the kitchen could not decipher was another problem leading to high waste levels. Our POS purchase paid for itself in less than 1 month. I put it together with off the shelf hardware from various budget computer sites.

What really helped was the integrated caller-ID for pick-up orders. I had to get rid of one cashier/server for continually giving people the wrong orders even with tickets taped to their orders, with names! after 5 order went to the wrong people in one shift, I had enough. So I’m not saying a POS will solve every issue, but it sure helped, and being able to track what want wrong where helped too.

Real-time labor cost helps my FOH manager start shedding crew members when required too.

GotRocks: Thanks for all that information and I understand why you have gone this route. It will be my wife of 35 years on the cash register and or a few longtime friends who have retired from fields that helped disadvantaged people. They want to be involved with our cause and will be volunteering. Our social cause has always attracted non food service type people. Most are retired, highly educated, morally and social conscious people. All my years of doing this in the schools has attracted more volunteers of this caliber than I could ever use. My current paid assistant works for $9/hr and is a 25 year retired administrator from Chase Bank. She fell in love with the cause and loves pizza. She is worth $50/hr and does it for the cause not the money. We will never advertise for help and the employees/trainees with developmental disabilities are more honest than I ever could be:) and at most we will have one other full time non disabled paid position besides my wife and myself and this will most likely be made up of several part time people like I mentioned above.

We have partnered with the agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities and our shop will be used as a training ground for their clients. They will be paid through agency funding to intern and if we find one or 2 that possess the skills needed we will hire them. For others that we can’t hire we will present them with a certificate showing the skills they mastered that they can take to potential employers. We will also connect them with our customers that need employees with the skills that our people possess. An example is - we have a great trainee but have already hired our needed people with disabilities and a customer comes in that has a landscape business and we ask if they would be willing to give this person a shot at working for them. So at most we will have 4-5 paid employees. Because our shop is so small and volume will be low, this is the best way we can maximize our shop to create more jobs/awareness for people with developmental disabilities. My wife and I will be onsite at all times and we will be open 5 days a week from 3-9. Add a 2 hour prep starting at 1pm and an hour to clean up and you have a 9 hour day. We will be low volume and costs are going to be very low to profit. I have never done things conventionally so why start now? This model will allow us to operate in a healthy way, earn enough $ to keep our self afloat, and at our age the only way we could do this :slight_smile: This is why I want to find out about the credit card scanner I see in many restaurants/small businesses where the receipt is printed from it and not waste my time on an over kill system when we can do it all with our heads, a calculator, a land line phone, and our laptop. Walter

To keep it as simple as possible, find a merchant services provider you want to work with and get processing and a credit card terminal from them. We found our first processor through Costco. Your bank can be a good place to look too.

thank you for that info Jeff. This sounds like the ticket. Do they charge the same CC processing fees as the square system and are they a monthly rental? Sorry for my ignorance. I have been lucky enough to get to this point in life with very little technology. Walter

Fees will vary by processor. I use Square for a personal business and I love it. I recommended a traditional terminal for you because you said you aren’t comfortable with iPads and such!

Well quite ironically, we did just start with the MS through Costco – just signed up with them 2 weeks ago… Elavon. And to date we have used it just a week in and it sucks! It turns out they put us on a “daily billing” type of account… I don’t know where or why they did this, and its a record keeping nightmare! This we discovered just during the first few days since we started with them. My husband called to figure out why things were not matching up and they informed him of this ‘daily’ billing, it was all in how the account was started. Well I never heard of daily billing vs monthly billing etc etc… So, we’ve been blindsided. In the discussion with them today, they told him that in order to get a monthly billing account, it can’t be ‘switched’ to a different type of account unless we close the account and wait 6 or more months! All the hype about the Costco contracted services, and I say its BUNK! My husband is pulling his hair out and we likely will be canceling this new account and looking for a different Merchant Services company!

Just go with Square until you find a proper provider. 2.75% flat rate no matter what card or rewards program, and deposits to your account are next day. Of course they deduct their fees from that deposit, but no contract, easy peasy as a stop-gap processor.