August 11, 2005, 12:00 AM

Krystal fast-food chain speeds credit card payments on the web

Krystal fast-food restaurants now let customers pay with debit and credit cards through Internet transmissions that are faster than handling cash, and the chain benefits from faster lines as well as lower card processing costs, CIO David Reid says.


Krystal fast-food restaurants in 10 states now let customers pay with debit and credit cards through Internet transmissions that are faster than handling cash, producing faster lines and lower card processing costs. “It’s so fast, you swipe the card and the receipt prints almost instantaneously,” CIO David Reid tells

The Krystal Co., based in Chattanooga, TN, is making Internet payment card transactions available through all of its 243 company-owned restaurants and expects the service to be also become available in many of its more than 180 franchise locations, Reid says.

Krystal has declined to accept credit card payments until now because the transactions would have been too slow over dial-up connections as well as more costly in processing fees, Reid says. Now, Krystal is already seeing card transactions produce average order values of $7, up from $5 for cash transactions, though some of that increase may be due to customers using their payment cards to pay for their friends’ orders, he adds.

Krystal decided to begin using Internet-based card transactions after having completed the roll-out of broadband Internet connections to all of its stores and the chain-wide deployment of a new POS system from Radiant Systems that includes a built-in card-swipe mechanism in the POS terminals. The Internet-based card transactions are processed through Concord EFS, a unit of First Data Corp.

“In today`s fast-paced world, customers not only appreciate but have come to expect the convenience of cashless payment options," said CEO Fred Exum. "Some people prefer not to carry cash, others don`t want to waste time going to an ATM or they are trying to earn perks, like frequent flyer miles, that come with card purchases. No matter the reason, our customers now have the freedom to pay with a credit or debit card, and we know that`s something they`re happy about."

Because the new POS system is deployed on a corporate intranet, managers at Krystal’s headquarters can now immediately access real-time reports on sales by different products and locations. “We can do analysis we couldn’t do before with our electronic cash registers,” Reid says. “For example, now we can see when customers buy product A, if they also buy product B. And we can pull up reports on overall sales, labor levels and food costs.”

Krystal is also offering, for free, wi-fi wireless Internet access in the same locations that offer Internet card payments.


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