Trying to get a foot hold – a toe hold, even – in the hospitality business can be hair-raising, scary and frustrating. It is also magical when all your hard work begins to pay off and your little business begins to spread its wings and take off. There are many factors that seem to be working against you, from punitive charges for loans and credit facilities to the lengthy delay between you paying your supplier and your customers paying you for those goods. But even small and medium-sized businesses can take steps to make sure that their little business has the best possible chance of

Payment acceptance solutions

The first step a small hospitality business should take is to look at payment acceptance solutions. Take advantage of modern Wi-Fi capability and use card machines to accept contactless payments so that customers can make payments quickly, without needing to leave their seat and perhaps miss out on an amusing anecdote or the chance to split the last glass of wine from the bottle.

Wi-Fi coverage

Mobile card machines should be usable anywhere within your premises, and this means that you should have good Wi-Fi coverage. Why not extend this service to your customers too, allowing them to log on to check their emails, update social media, and access their online banking while they are at it, ensuring they have enough to pay for the meal? They might even want to take advantage of Wi-Fi to use a bill-sharing app. Quite apart from anything else, customers linger 50 per cent longer when they have access to Wi-Fi, according to a hefty 60 per cent of businesses surveyed, making it an easy way to maximise customer footfall.

Online solutions

But there is more to running a business than simply accepting payments. You also need customers to be able to use your services all the time, even when your premises are closed, or when you are having a day off. An online offering is the solution here, allowing customers to make bookings and payments in their own time. Ensure the experience is seamless and smooth, and then reward your self-serving customers by offering vouchers and promotional deals that will ensure their frequent return. Keeping customers happy is a brilliant way to help build your SME into a healthy growing concern.

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