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Upper Hand

Sports Management Blog

Why Sweetgreen Stopped Taking Cash, and You Should Too

Posted by Kevin MacCauley | Sep 27, 2016 2:20:16 PM

The Importance of Accepting Credit Cards for Sports Registration

It once was that most businesses preferred customers pay by cash to supposedly bring better cash flow into the register. While that might have worked well at a different time in our history, times have changed since the dawn of the 21st century. With the risk of cash getting lost or stolen, or checks not always being honored, paper-based payment systems have gone out of favor.

Despite this, obviously not every business in the world has stopped taking cash or checks. Many sports businesses like training academies or clubs, still use paper registrations, forcing parents to write private financial information on a physical form.


It's a system too fraught with risks, though it's far from the only issue it brings. Some businesses realized accepting cash can cause other problems, which will only hurt your organization’s reputation and turn away customers. One particular business that decided to adapt and avoid the risks of cash payments was the restaurant chain Sweetgreen. They became recently noted for eliminating cash transactions all together and going strictly to card payments.

Here's why Sweetgreen stopped taking cash, and your sports organization should too.

What Inspired Sweetgreen to Go Cashless?
In a recent New York Times report on Sweetgreen's move, it showed their decision to stop cash transactions was prompted by observing what other companies were doing. Executives noted that airlines stopped taking cash a while ago.

On top of it, Sweetgreen execs realized only 10% of their customers paid by cash in recent years. Still, there was some disagreement over whether or not dropping cash was a good idea. Because statistics show 26% of the world population still use cash for some transactions, Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman felt they'd shut out those individuals as potential customers. The clincher was that most cash purchases are smaller transactions.

Liabilities Behind Using Cash
Sweetgreen also looked at things through the prism of the restaurant itself. Cash was essentially slowing down customer service.

In the New York Times piece above, Neman cited longer lines as a major contributor toward moving away from cash. Customers having to take cash out of their wallets and wait for the cashier to make change, added several minutes to the wait in comparison to customers paying by card.

Besides, with cash lying around, their is a greater chance of someone stealing money. This doesn’t only happen in the case of a robbery; this can also occur as internal theft by an unscrupulous employee.

Once Sweetgreen switched over to card transactions, they realized another major asset in doing so…

The Advantage of Payment Apps
Letting customers pay through mobile payment apps opened a door toward better service and overall customer tracking. Before a customer even arrives, they can order ahead with an app and not even have to wait in a line.

The additional benefit for Sweetgreen? Payment apps allow data tracking to find out what customers order and in what products they show interest. Doing this can help an organization understand what customers want and how to make their experience better, ultimately increasing business.

How Going Cashless Can Help Your Sports Business
If you run a sports business like a training academy or club and only accept cash or check, you are excluding the many parents who only pay with credit. By going strictly to credit card, you'll draw parents who prefer paying by card for everything. Plus, you're more apt to get repeat business when a client can easily make a purchase with a card number on file.

Card payments are simply faster. When a parent hears about the training event you’re offering, they can make the payment transaction immediately, especially if your registration is mobile friendly. There isn't any protracted processing involved, and the money gets into your account securely. You'll improve cash flow without having a fear of cash being stolen while sitting in a till or safe.

Learn more about the software that is helping sports businesses get away from cash, bringing a more convenient payment method to their business and clients.

Learn how Upper Hand sports management software can provide a safe registration and check-out process for you and your clients!

Request Demo

Topics: Financial, Sports Business Management

Written by Kevin MacCauley

Kevin is the CEO at Upper Hand, a sports software company aiming to simplify front and back-end office tasks, by providing cutting-edge marketing and registration tools, and business intelligence, that enable unsurpassed performance for sports businesses across the nation.