27,000 pubs with beer gardens should be the first to re-open

Beer Garden

Pubs are now starting to get some guidance on how a re-opening may look in the coming weeks, it appears the ones with outside space may get to go first. As things progress over the coming days and weeks, direction on how this is going to look surely going to be a relief for most landlords.

The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade body representing the UK’s brewers and pubs, has said that those pubs with beer gardens should be among the first to re-open after lock-down.

It says that pubs with beer gardens or outside terraces should be best placed to meet social distancing restrictions required for re-opening from July 4th, enabling people to enjoy their local community pub’s beer garden in the summer sun.

The trade association estimates that there are some 27,000 pubs across the UK with beer gardens – more than half of the UK’s 47,000 pubs in total.

Source: British Beer & Pub Association

In these planning stages, there is something that should be top of the list and that’s about taking customer payments and how this will be done.

Typically, the pub sector would have desktop, bluetooth and WIFI card machines, if utilising ePOS software then all these three would connect to the tills. But there is one significant issue for a  landlord taking payments in an outside area, connectivity and reach of the card machines. It is important to establish what connectivity and now is the time to switch on the card terminals and try them out.

For now, you may have to consider throwing out the ePOS till connectivity and go back to basics with a standalone GPRS mobile terminal and if you’re wondering why, these units do not connect to your ePOS tills.

What are the options?

Take out a new contract for mobile terminals, these can be for 24, 36 & 48 months.

Adding mobile terminals to an existing contract isn’t as straight forward as you might think, it’s likely that an existing provider will force you to take a new contract term with them for all of the card machines you have, kick starting the whole commitment term. It may be a better option to take out another mobile contract with another provider, so that options for the future are left intact.

No one at this point knows what taking card payments will look like in 3 years. Merchants could still have terminals sitting idle in the bar and lounge area and mobile terminals dominating the outside space.

A small establishment having minimum monthly service charges attached to an account can expect to pay these fees on top of the terminal rental, so can a larger but the impact could be significant for the smaller business.

Being savvy and asking a trusted advisor will be key to merchants, they can advise on the options so that merchants can make the better decision for now and the future.

First look for transparent pricing, you do not want any hidden fees or monthly commitment beyond the terminal rental.

EVO Payments

If a merchant is processing £20k per month, EVO processing charges will be around £144. This is based on a 80/20 debit and credit card split which equates to 0.72% average, this includes all associated fees, which with EVO there are no additional or hidden costs. Billed as transparent pricing, EVO has been a firm favourite in the hospitality industry with only one drawback and that being the average funds to bank 3 days, for some this is not a concern but possibly more than ever next day funding could be critical and a must.

Elavon

An alternative is Elavon, they overcome the next day payments issue with their platform allowing for all customer payments taken up until 03.59am to be paid into merchant’s bank accounts 10am the same morning. It does come at a small price of 30p each end of day total run, not a huge amount to get same/next day funding. All merchants are eligible so no fussing with how long a merchant has been in business or if they fit into an eligible category. Even car sales qualify!

There is a PCI costs of £4.50 but no authorisation fees, a merchant can expect to pay around £120 per month with all faster payments and PCI costs included.

Terminals

EVO & Elavon Spire Mobile GPRS monthly terminal costs.

24 months – £25 pm | 36 Months – £20 pm

iZettle Pro

For a merchant that does not want any long-term commitment and unsure of what the future holds then the iZettle option is a perfect fit. All card readers are mobile and connect through a mobile phone for mobile connectivity. There are a few options with iZettle and already in place is a platform called Pro which the monthly cost is suspended during COVID-19 Lockdown. This will end shortly but allows a merchant to try before they buy.

iZettle Pro enables a merchant in the hospitality sector to be billed monthly and they can downgrade or upgrade whenever they wish. This maybe the option to consider for seasonal business and weather conditions affecting outside space, more importantly offer the fix with no long-term commitment.

Pro will overcome orders being taken by staff and the link to kitchen printers and connecting to ePOS apps such as Kitchen Cut, Planday, Just Eat and so much more including accounts packages like Xero.

The cost? £39 per iPAD and 1.25% for all debit and credit cards, settlement 48hrs.

iZettle Go

Is the more basic one of the options, simple payment platform 1.75% all debit & Credit Card processing. Mobile card readers purchased once for as little as £19 (with my accredited link), the plus with this account you can upgrade to Pro at any time and then downgrade so there are no monthly costs.

In summary, the uncertainty of where a Landlord will be and how the hospitality sector will look this year or next, lends to a low commitment solution. Depending on the size of a business the options differ considerably. Surprisingly, the iZettle solution can also work for large establishments as iZettle will negotiate terms and their offering goes beyond Go and Pro with full ePOS and Store Kits.

Elavon and EVO offer lower costs, if a merchant is looking to restructure how they do business and on a permanent basis then these providers maybe the solution.

No business is the same, the needs and musts are quite different. That is why having an expert eye look over the current position of a merchant is much better than just winging it. I represent many providers and not just one, I give honest and transparent advice on how to move forward in these challenging times, get in touch I’m here to help.

 

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