What to Know Before Getting Started
Fast food and quick service restaurants have some of the highest point-of-sale demands among all industries. For this reason, speed, efficiency, and reliability are often the absolute highest priorities when it comes to choosing a credit card processing system for a fast or fast casual restaurant. But there are other considerations worth taking into account, such as per-transaction fees and equipment costs. A positive customer experience can only boost your restaurant so much if it’s simultaneously getting hammered with excess fees. The best option is to find a provider that balances robust point-of-sale solutions with reasonable, transparent costs.
To help you find this processor, we’ve put together the following list of the best merchant account providers for fast food restaurants. Most of the providers on this list offer conventional and tablet-based point-of-sale solutions, customer loyalty programs, live inventory tracking, and employee hours management tools. They are also known to provide low-commitment contracts with transparent pricing and quality customer service. To find the right provider for you, be sure to contact multiple providers and compare pricing and features.
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Why These Merchant Account Providers
Active since early 2014, Fattmerchant is a merchant account provider leading the industry’s move toward flat-rate, subscription-style pricing. The company’s products and services include EMV-compatible countertop terminals, a virtual terminal, an online payment gateway, an online shopping cart, mobile phone processing, QuickBooks integration, online invoicing, and recurring billing. Fattmerchant is capable of serving all standard-risk fast food restaurants and offers a comprehensive dashboard for tracking all payments and customers.
Fattmerchant offers multiple pricing plans with different rates. Merchants can select either a plan that charges a flat fee on all transactions or a plan that charges a fixed monthly fee plus a fixed per-transaction dollar amount above interchange. In other words, merchants can choose whether or not they are charged a percentage markup on each transaction. Fattmerchant currently has an “A” rating on CPO and an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Host Merchant Services
Host Merchant Services is a Newark, Delaware-based merchant account provider that is well-suited for most general business types, including fast food restaurants. The company’s products and services include point-of-sale solutions (with a specific package for the restaurant industry), online marketing tools, mobile credit card processing, gift and loyalty programs, and merchant cash advance. Host Merchant Services specializes in e-commerce businesses and provides a free website and email address to interested merchants. Host is a good general processing option for all sizes of fast food restaurants.
Host Merchant Services has received only positive feedback on public forums, with most reviewers singling out the company’s customer service for praise. Host offers interchange-plus pricing with no early termination fees to all of its merchants, meaning that users will enjoy the most transparent pricing model and can cancel service without penalty. The BBB gives Host an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives the company an “A+.”
Founded in 2007, SalesVu is an Austin, Texas-based software provider that has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems and Century Payments to offer a full POS system for iPad and iPhone. SalesVu’s POS app comes with a free card reader and allows for Quickbooks integration, end-of-shift reports, labor tracking, barcode scanning, automated discounts, tip adjusting, split checks, and invoicing. The company’s service also comes with a free, customizable e-commerce website and telephone support for interested merchants. SalesVu is a great option for fast-casual restaurants with dynamic menus and tech-savvy customers.
SalesVu will either match a merchant’s existing merchant account pricing or provide a merchant account through Mercury or Century. SalesVu currently receives an “A+” from CardPaymentOptions.com, and although the company does not have a Better Business Bureau profile at this time, the BBB profile for Mercury Payment Systems is showing an “A+” rating.
For more information, see the SalesVu Website.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers in this section may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them here to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and believe that you should be listed below? Tell us here.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Payline Data has consistently rated as one of the best merchant account providers on CPO since we first reviewed the company. Payline is capable of serving restaurants of all sizes and types, including most fast food locations. The company offers traditional retail credit card terminals as well as fully integrated point-of-sale systems with card readers, cash drawers, EMV acceptance, sales analytics, inventory tracking, and online marketing tools. Payline Data is a great option for any size of quick service location that is looking for a conventional, reliable point-of-sale solution.
In addition to its wide array of services, Payline Data offers interchange-plus pricing with month-to-month contracts and no early termination fees. As a result, the company enjoys a large number of positive testimonials from its clients on this website and in other consumer protection forums. The Better Business Bureau currently assigns Payline Data an “A+” rating, and CPO also gives Payline an “A+.”
ShopKeep is a POS system provider based in New York City. Even when used independently of Dharma, ShopKeep allows for inventory management, layout customization, labor tracking, customizable receipts, customer profiling, reporting, a mobile dashboard app for live sales tracking, and a barcode scanner. Like SalesVu, ShopKeep is a strong option for fast food restaurants with an interest in tablet-based payment processing and customer bases that can be engaged through digital promotion.
The service costs $49 per month per register, but it allows you to choose the credit card processor you would like to use or keep your current processor. This provider-agnostic flexibility is ideal for merchants who are looking to keep costs to a minimum. Our review of ShopKeep awards the company an “A” rating, while the BBB is also awarding the company an “A” rating at this time.
For more information, see the ShopKeep Website.
Dharma Merchant Services
Based in San Francisco, California, Dharma Merchant Services is another highly rated merchant account provider that places a corporate emphasis on social consciousness and community outreach. The company’s solution for fast food restaurants is a tablet-based POS system (via a partnership with ShopKeep). Merchants who sign up for ShopKeep POS through Dharma will enjoy simple QuickBooks integration, inventory management, employee time clocks, sales reporting, and integration for cash drawers and receipt printers. Dharma is best suited for larger fast food locations (processing over $10,000 per month on average) that are interested in a tablet-based POS solution.
Dharma scores highly in our review and elsewhere due to its positively reviewed customer service, transparent marketing practices, competitive interchange-plus rates, and fair service agreements. The BBB currently assigns a rating of “A+” for Dharma Merchant Services, while CardPaymentOptions.com also gives the company an “A+.”
If your business offers merchant services for fast food restaurants, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page in order to get listed in this article.