An upscale New York restaurant made headlines a while back by banning cash. Now the owners are trying to bring that policy to the masses.
Tony Zazula, who co-owns the West Village restaurant Commerce, is planning to launch a chain of fast-food restaurants that may accept only credit and debit cards.
"We're debating now about whether it will be cards-only," he said in an interview.
Zazula attracted a lot of attention in 2009, when he stopped accepting cash at Commerce. Almost 90% of his affluent customers already paid for their tuna tataki and house-made charcuterie with plastic, he reasoned, so Commerce did not stand to lose much business by instituting a cards-only policy.
And banning cash would help the restaurant avoid some of the security costs and inconvenience of handling it.
But a similar ban may be more difficult in the fast-food world, where the average customer is likely to have less money than Commerce's regulars. Many of the new customers may not even have debit cards, let alone platinum credit cards.