In light of the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic and its adverse impact to the restaurant & hospitality industry, San Francisco-based CardFree––a leading mobile commerce solution founded in 2012––is committed to offering their services for free for the first three months (or longer) to small- and medium- sized restaurants & hospitality businesses––with no strings attached. CardFree is here to help and taking it day by day with their merchant partners as they roll out new services and strive to be of service and help those restaurants and businesses who have been so severely impacted. By empowering restaurants to take control of their guest experience via a customized mobile order system, CardFree’s complimentary services offer a simple proposition—with no bait or switch, no long-term contract; and a “pay us when you can” model—providing partnership and guidance for the many operational shifts business owners are needing to make, while also providing a long-term solution to adapt and use in the months ahead as they scale back up.

According to a new survey from the James Beard Foundation, four out of five restaurant owners remain uncertain they can reopen their doors once the pandemic passes. Restaurants accounted for 60% of job losses in March—and now the total number of Americans seeking unemployment is 16.8 million. Seeing the industry reel with the challenges of operating under such strained circumstances, CardFree is dedicating its time and resources to helping businesses continue functioning within the framework of a ‘new normal,’ while controlling the experience and working directly with their customers.

Keeping both the immediate future and long game in mind, CardFree’s key differentiating services include:

  • Contactless order & pay solution
  • Quick implementation that also plugs into a restaurant’s existing processing systems
  • Tailormade mobile integrated platform solutions that speak to each individual restaurant’s brand identity and needs
  • Access to customer data and analytics to best serve patrons

Sophisticated, easily integrated add-ons (e.g. loyalty and rewards programs, specials/offers, on-premise ordering).

“To see small businesses flailing in COVID-19’s path called for quick and significant action,” notes Jon Squire, CEO of CardFree. “We are not a multi-billion-dollar company and as a service provider to restaurants, we are feeling this pain as well. The one thing we know to do is to provide our time & technology to help hospitality businesses through this impossibly difficult time and be of service to an industry that’s been so severely impacted.”

As restaurants rapidly change their business models to comply with social-distancing and stay-at-home mandates, many have turned to contact-free solutions to continue operating. Through their contactless mobile offerings, CardFree aims to put restaurants and chefs back in the driver’s seat so they can ensure an optimal bottom line during this difficult economic period. Additionally, CardFree’s platform helps businesses have more quality control on food delivery, which has become the latest concern amongst consumers, according to a recent Eater report.

Squire further underscores CardFree’s short and long-term commitment to restaurants by emphasizing their white label partnership, which puts the restaurant’s relationship with customers, first and foremost. Secondly, CardFree’s team has worked for and enabled some of the largest brands in the space (e.g. Starbucks, Dunkin’) to become extremely successful with their digital offerings. Finally, CardFree’s team lives and breathes hospitality, and will continue to innovate as the world evolves past COVID-19, staying the course with their partners as they adjust to new operational guidelines.

An example of CardFree services that will have a newfound purpose in a post-COVID-19 era are Pay@Table and on-premise ordering. Pay@Table offers customers the ability to pay their checks whenever they are ready via their mobile devices, while on-premise mobile ordering enables consumers to easily add drinks and food to their orders at their table or to place orders via their phones versus using public kiosks. These two extensions of mobile capabilities will likely resonate with patrons seeking to minimize contact with elements of ordering and paying (e.g. signing bills with pens used by strangers, tapping on iPads or other devices when paying).

In a period of great strife for small business, CardFree merely seeks to provide a form of defense for restaurants and chefs looking to survive the crisis.

“We reached out to CardFree after seeing a social media post offering assistance to small businesses like ours,” says Justin Vallely, owner, chief technologist of Denver-based The Empourium Brewing Company, CardFree’s first ever craft brewery customer. “Not only did they build a tremendous online store for us in under two weeks, they did so at no cost to us. Their generosity and genuine desire to help the little guy has been so heartwarming.”

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