Operations

How customers came to be routinely asked, 'Cash or credit?'

Restaurant Rewind: Credit-card transactions are an integral part of the restaurant industry today. Yet that development is a relatively recent one. Join us as we look at how the co-dependence came to be.

About 84% of the United States’ adult population carry a credit card, or roughly 191 million American consumers, according to the research company Experion. That shouldn’t be a surprise to today’s restaurateurs, who’ve seen the use of cash be challenged pointedly in recent years by the surge in digital ordering.

No wonder the expense of accepting plastic has soared into one of operators’ biggest cost items, third only to labor and food.

How did the industry get here? When did the modern credit card find its way into the business, and how did playing with plastic become so prevalent?

This week’s edition of Restaurant Rewind, a podcast that looks back at the roots of today’s restaurant issues, aims to answer those questions. Let’s just say you can thank or blame a pair of 1940s men for sparking the industry’s dependence on credit and charge cards.

Join us as we trace the evolution of the co-dependency between restaurants and charge-card networks.

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