Marion's starts accepting credit cards [Dayton Daily News, Ohio]By Mark Fisher and Amelia Robinson, Dayton Daily News, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Dec. 13--In a reversal of a long-standing policy, Marion's Piazza now accepts credit cards at all of their pizza restaurants.
"We just joined the 21st century," Marian's CEO Roger Glass said.
Customer demand nudged Glass and company officials toward making the decision to begin accepting Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards.
"We've had people pleading with us to start taking credit cards, so they wouldn't have to stop at the bank or an ATM before coming in," Glass said.
And there was another factor: a month ago, the Dayton-based chain opened its ninth restaurant -- and the first in the northern Cincinnati area -- in Mason. When they were planning the new restaurant last year, company officials were told by Mason city and business officials that their residents were accustomed to being able to pay with plastic and would not respond enthusiastically to a cash-only policy.
Customers at all nine Marion's locations have reacted positively to the added convenience, Glass said. "One lady told me she didn't have to keep her 'Marion's money' in a cookie jar in the kitchen anymore."
Businesses that accept credit cards have to pay a percentage of every transaction, as well as fees, to the card issuer. But the number of businesses that have held out against accepting plastic has dwindled as customers, particularly younger customers, began using credit and debit cards for nearly every expenditure.
"Times change, and we have to change with them," the Marion's CEO said.
But there are still a few holdouts, and the Pine Club restaurant in Dayton is among them. Dave Hulme, the restaurant's owner, said he has no current plans on changing his policy of accepting cash or house charge accounts only, a policy that he calculates saves him about $175,000 a year.
First-time customers who dine at the Pine Club and are caught unaware by the no-plastic policy can open a house charge account on the spot. The Pine Club has more than 26,000 house charge accounts, and opens about 100 new ones every month. And Hulme said those customers have a strong payment record that it makes good business sense to continue to avoid paying the credit-card fees.
"For us, there is no reason whatsoever to change the policy," Hulme said. "It helps us reduce our overhead and provide value for our customers. It works here, but it may not work for anyone else."
Glass said even he'll miss the cash-only policy that had been in effect since his father founded Marion's 47 years ago.
"It was just so simple when it was cash on the barrelhead," he said.
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