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Faye Hall, Customer Engagement Manager
April 20, 2020
“Worldpay leapt into action for us”
Heather Gilchrist set up her dream café business seven years ago. From a coffee house with a small menu, the Aroma Coffee & Kitchen in Larkhall, near Glasgow, has blossomed into a restaurant serving every customer’s culinary need. The combination of a loyal customer base, passing trade and visitors to the nearby scenic Clyde valley ensured Aroma was always bustling with customers to feed.
Then came COVID-19.
As for most businesses, the effect was devastating. As the coronavirus first began to cast its shadow over the UK, the effect was almost instantaneous, even before government restrictions came into force. “Over the course of a few days, our turnover slumped by 50 percent,” Heather recalls. “People stopped coming – they were more focused on panic-buying than supporting local businesses. Some of our staff were scared to come in because they had vulnerable family members at home and were worried about taking the virus home with them.”
Then came the lockdown, and restaurants were restricted to serving take-away food and deliveries.
To make things as safe as possible for both staff and visitors, only one take-away customer was allowed into the café at a time. Heather recognised she needed to adapt quickly to her changing business needs and arrange for Aroma staff to deliver meals direct to people’s homes.
In both cases, an obstacle would be people’s nervousness about the health risks of handling cash. Worldpay’s card payment terminals met the needs of walk-in customers, but how could customers safely pay for meals delivered to their front door? For a delivery service to be successful in this climate, it had to involve zero contact between driver and customer. What Heather needed was a way for people to pay when ordering over the phone.
Heather contacted Worldpay and to see if it would be possible to take what are known as “card-not-present” (CNP) payments on her card payment terminal.
“I spoke with Worldpay and said, ‘We’re reopening on Friday as a delivery business – can you help us take payments over the phone?’ Worldpay leapt into action and talked me through the essential security protocols such as always entering card numbers directly into the terminal and never writing them down. The new contract was ‘signed’ by email and the card terminal was activated remotely without us having to do anything. By Thursday we were up and running with telephone payments.”
Now the big task ahead is to convert their loyal sit-down patrons into delivery customers. Heather is using Aroma’s Instagram, Facebook pages and social media to let customers know about the new service along with good old-fashioned flyers.
The campaign is beginning to bear fruit and deliveries started to take off on Saturday night. “It’s a positive start but we have to change people’s mindsets about us. It’s like starting a brand new business.”
There are tough times ahead, but Heather is confident she’s doing what’s needed to give her business the best chance of weathering the storm. “People don’t want to come out and they don’t want to touch money. Delivering a familiar meal to a customer’s door is a welcome service for people who want a bit of normality in these strange days,” she observes. “And it is rewarding. Elderly people are especially grateful not to have to leave the house. And we’re taking three meals a day to one local NHS worker who has contracted the virus. It’s a great feeling being able to help people out.”
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