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QSRs: Service, service, service

By Aaron Slominski

Nearly every day ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) inquire about how to sell to quick service restaurants (QSRs). They ask:

  • How do you get your foot in the door?
  • How do you price these types of merchants?
  • What will most of their transactions qualify as?

The most important thing to know about selling to QSRs (that you also can apply to any merchant type) is that service sells. Every day.

QSR owners are a very demanding bunch with a lot on their minds. They worry about this month's advertising royalty check, shrinking profits and rising food costs, and employee theft and spillage. Despite the obvious benefit of accepting credit and debit cards, most have stayed away from these payment types because of additional concerns over cost, operational efficiencies, and arduous and binding contracts.

As ISOs and MLSs, how can you help eliminate many of their concerns? For example, how can you help them stop worrying about what will happen if someone spills a soda on their terminal during the middle of lunch rush? The answer is service.

Banks, feet on the street and telemarketers constantly approach QSRs about card acceptance and processing, and everyone pitches the same thing. How will you set yourself apart? Following are a few suggestions on ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and retain your QSR merchants:

Win them with paper

Buy your own receipt paper. Do not expect your merchants to call and order it. Have a supply on hand for them. From my days of selling on the street I have found that this is a good way to "get their pulse."

For instance, has a competitor solicited their business? Are merchants thinking about putting in a high-speed Internet connection? Are they having a hard time reconciling a daily settlement report? It's also a way to stop by, get a bite to eat with your merchants (usually on them!) and discuss their plans for opening more stores. Paper doesn't cost much, but delivering it in person shows you care. You can even work the paper supplies into your own "service" plan with merchants and make it your own revenue stream.

Give them peace of mind with two terminals

Make sure your busy QSR has at least two terminals on site. If it's a new location and new to accepting credit cards, give up your profit margin on the second terminal. Give the device to them for free, if necessary. This will only help you down the road.

What will you do if a merchant calls you in the middle of lunch rush, and his terminal is not working? Instead of selling all the different types of POS terminals on the market, stick with two or three and sell them consistently. Also, keep extras on hand. If one goes down, you can perform a quick download to get your merchant up and running again. Making small efforts such as these with your merchants will prevent them from switching to a competitor, even if he offers a better price. The reason for their not switching will be the same as their deciding to work with you in the first place: service.

Aaron Slominski is Director of Agent Services for Direct Technology Innovations. E-mail him at or call him at 800-724-7000, ext. 464.

Article published in issue number 060102

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