The first Waffle House opened its doors in 1955, five years after Diner’s Club issued the world’s first multiple merchant credit card. It was only in 2006 – 61 years later – that Waffle House began accepting credit cards as payment. But the upgrade to Waffle House’s point-of-sale hardware allowing them to take credit cards opens the company up to even more payment options. With the chain’s national rollout of the NCR Silver POS, one of those potential options is bitcoin.
Waffle House Enters the Modern Age
NCR Silver is a small business POS solution from National Cash Register, a century-old provider of point of sale hardware. The system allows merchants to accept credit cards and mobile payments, including bitcoin. NCR Silver is already in use in thousands of businesses nationwide, including 23 major franchises.
Waffle House is one of those franchises using NCR Silver. Following a successful initial rollout at 1400 locations, Waffle House has installed the NCR Silver system nationwide.
The company has reported real benefits from adopting the new system over its previous credit card readers, including a 79 percent reduction in customer checkout times (down to only 3 seconds). That’s not bad for a company that didn’t even start accepting credit cards until 2006.
Waffles For Bitcoin
There is no charge to accept bitcoin through the NCR Silver platform. Bitcoin payments are processed by BitPay, and merchants receive the full dollar amount of the purchase price. The capability is already built into the POS terminal; all a merchant needs to do is enable bitcoin payments on the platform.
- Waffle House has in its stores, right now, payment terminals capable of accepting bitcoin.
- Waffle House staff is already trained in how to use the terminal.
- There is no charge for accepting bitcoin through the terminal.
And yet, Waffle House does not accept bitcoin. Why not? All Waffle House needs to do to accept bitcoin – today – is to decide to accept bitcoin. After making that decision, implementation would be almost as simple as flipping a switch or checking a box.
Waffle House is not the only restaurant to overlook the bitcoin payment option they installed. Great American Cookie and 21 other national franchises currently use the same NCR Silver POS that Waffle House does.
Revel Systems, maker of the most popular restaurant POS system in the US, integrated bitcoin payments via Coinbase way back in February 2014. With over 10,000 installed Revel POS terminals currently in use, how many of those businesses accept bitcoin? How many know that they already can, easily?
With inGenico’s new integration with BitPay, the number of POS terminals capable of accepting bitcoin is set to be larger than ever before. Integrations by Stripe and Braintree make it possible for thousands more restaurants, retailers, and professionals to accept bitcoin through their existing payment processor – today. But it is up to business owners and managers to enable bitcoin payments and activate processor accounts as needed.
When Waffle House made the leap to accepting credit cards (more than 50 years after credit cards had been introduced), the reason they gave was simple: customer demand.
“SERIOUSLY, WE LISTEN TO OUR CUSTOMERS TO FIND WAYS TO ENHANCE THEIR WAFFLE HOUSE EXPERIENCE.”
– WALT EHMER, WAFFLE HOUSE VICE PRESIDENT (NOW CEO)
As a payment method, bitcoin’s advantages are similar to cash – instant, irreversible transfers of value with no fees, unlike alternative payment systems like Apple Pay. For restaurants, accepting bitcoin seems like an obvious win for a few reasons.
- It is free to accept bitcoin payments.
- Many restaurants already have the machines to do it.
- Bitcoin users are paying customers, by definition.
For a business that accepted only cash for most of its history, accepting digital cash seems a logical next step for Waffle House. Feedback from customers might just push Waffle House and other restaurants in that direction. With bitcoin POS integrations removing the last remaining barriers to merchant acceptance, maybe a little nudge is all they need.
What do you think it will take to get Waffle House and other NCR customers to accept Bitcoin? Tell us in the comments section.
Image Source: Waffle House, NCR
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