How the EMV Liability Switch is Affecting Food Service

The seemingly-forever-looming deadline of October for the switch to the new EMV chip readers has come and gone and it appears that everyone has survived what at times was made out to be an apocalyptic-grade sea change in the way payments are processed.

Now that EMV chip readers have been in place for 6 months, we decided it might be time to take a look at how these readers have affected one of the most common places of use, and that’s food service. This week, we’ll review how fast-food/counter service restaurants have been faring with this new technology and the challenges they’ve uncovered during the move to EMV.

One of the biggest advantages of fast food, quick service and counter-serve restaurants is exactly what they claim to be -- they are a way to get a meal, pronto. Let’s be honest -- most fast food may be pretty good, but it’s not going to compare to a fancy, sit-down steak house. It’s not Ruth’s Chris. Most people don’t have the time or money for that kind of indulgence regularly. So the fact that fast food can be a quick way to eat something satisfying under time constraints is a pretty big deal. One of the biggest obstacles anticipated with the 2015 EMV mandate was the added processing time transactions would likely take, which would affect both the time waiting in line, and the overall feel of the customer service. Turns out, the concern was, in fact, legitimate; while EMV does generally make transactions more secure, it also increases wait times, which in turn impacts perception of customer service as being slightly less positive than it was previously. Because it’s not a simple swipe-and-go process anymore, an additional 15-45 seconds added to a transaction can really add up when the line is 5+ people deep, it’s the lunch rush and everyone is trying to get back to work on time.

Although EMV is causing some delays currently, there is at least a little relief in sight. Visa issued a statement late this month saying that they are releasing a free software upgrade that shortens transaction times by at least a few seconds. While this may not be a complete solution by any means, it certainly can’t hurt. And it also means that major credit card providers hear the concerns of the companies using their technology, and are continuously working toward a more efficient solution.

RedyRef, a provider of vertically integrated kiosk solutions, is helping food service companies of all sizes navigate the complexities of the liability shift. Looking for assistance? Submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.

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