Paying in cash has long been a normality in Australia and is still a preferred method of payment for some. However, the impact of COVID-19 has caused people to reconsider the role of bank notes, with data showing a decline in the use of cash across the country. In fact, according to the Australian Banking Association (ABA), cash withdrawals fell 10 percent over 2020, while the use of debit cards sharply rose 17 percent over the same period.
According to the latest Global Payments Report by FIS, Australia will be mostly cashless within a few by 2024, with the research projecting that only 2% of transactions made in Australia will be made with cash. But what does this mean for foodservice? Well, one thing venues could begin to consider is the possibility of going cashless. Many venues experienced what it was like to run a cashless operation during the peak of the pandemic, with some choosing to remain using this model.
Are cashless venues the future of foodservice, and if so, what will they look like? Here is where we are at with cashless venues:
1. Cashless met with controversy in the US
It seems that limiting people to debit or digital purposes has people divided, with concerns from elected officials in the US that such eateries discriminated against poorer customers. Following a wave of cashless restaurants popping up across New York, the US state’s city council opted to ban cashless restaurants all together.
2. Businesses hold the power
If you’re wondering when you’re allowed to go cashless, the answer is now. The Currency Act 1956 (Cth) says that notes and coins remain legal tender, but this does not mean that they have to be used in a transaction. When a consumer buys an item or product from a business, they’re entering into a contract for the sale of goods. It’s up to businesses to determine the method of payment for these goods.
3. A range of foodservice businesses going cashless
It’s not just restaurants and bars that are going cashless, there are other areas of foodservice adopting the model as well for a variety of reasons. Public events such as Fringe Festival utilized cashless venues, while Crown Resorts Casinos are currently considering a switch to cashless gaming to in an attempt to tackle money-laundering.
4. Sweden’s experience suggests the elderly could suffer
Sweden was quick to become a cashless society, to the point where panhandlers can now take a mobile payment. The move however has been met with some criticism, with Swedes becoming increasingly concerned that the elderly being left behind by businesses switching to cashless.
5. Communication is key
If you’re planning to switch to cashless, it’s extremely important that you communicate this with your customers. The situation can become very awkward if it comes time to pay for a patron and if they have only got cash. You could warn them with signage, a message from your maitre d or even a message to their inbox (if you’ve built yourself a database).