Consumer Payment Card News

Charge In

The fifth largest hamburger chain the U.S. is now taking credit cards following agreements signed with Paymentech. Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. will now accept credit cards at more than 300 company-owned Sonic Drive-Ins. Paymentech, a major merchant acquirer for restaurants, will also market its payment solutions to an additional 1,400 Sonic franchised locations nationwide. Sonic becomes the first franchised burger chain to launch a corporate-level credit card acceptance program.

Now you can “charge it” when you “charge in” to one of more than 300 company-owned Sonic Drive-Ins. Paymentech, a leading electronic payment processor, has begun implementing credit card services for Sonic Corp. Sonic is the first franchised quick-service burger chain to launch a corporate-level credit card acceptance program. Sonic, headquartered in Oklahoma City, is the nations largest chain of drive-in fast-food restaurants.

Dallas-based Paymentech, a major merchant acquirer for restaurants, will also market the total payment solution program to another approximately 1,400 Sonic franchised locations across the country.

“As a quality fast-food chain, Sonics service delivery is paramount. We had to ensure that credit card acceptance did not slow down operations. Paymentech will deliver fast transactions that blend smoothly with our work flow,” said Keith O. Jossell, assistant treasurer Sonic Corp.

In other news related to the restaurant market, Paymentech announced a marketing alliance with Gift Card Services to promote and integrate Gift Card payments within Paymentechs full range of electronic payment solutions for restaurateurs. Paymentech is integrating Gift Card processing with its point-of-sale (POS) applications for approximately 100 Don Pablos Mexican Kitchen locations.

The partnership between Paymentech and Gift Card Services allows restaurants to benefit from a consolidated payment application that provides an electronic and secure alternative to traditional paper gift certificates. When a dining patron uses a gift card for a purchase, the card is electronically authorized and decremented. The transaction is handled on-line.

Paymentech will promote the Gift Card program to current customers and prospects. By integrating with Paymentechs processing solution, restaurants can manage gift cards alongside normal payment functions. The addition of Gift Card to the Paymentech POS platform will deliver greater convenience and speed.

Paymentech also expanded its restaurant merchant portfolio with other new clients such as McCormick & Schmicks, a West Coast seafood dinner house concept; Steak and Ale; Bennigans, and Souper Salad. Along with Sonic, these additions represent approximately $300 million in anticipated annual credit card volume from more than 750 merchant locations.

“Paymentech delivers a high level of customer service and foodservice industry expertise,” said Barbara A. Kincaid, assistant controller for Metromedia Restaurant Group”, a leading full-service restaurant group operating a number of concepts including the Steak and Ale and Bennigans brands.

“Electronic payments continue to grow as an important factor in the overall profitability of a restaurant,” said Gary T. Staub, Paymentechs group executive for business development. “That is evident in the new types of chains, like Sonic, accepting credit cards or the integrating of programs like Gift Card with payment applications. The right payment processor must meet some key financial and operational criteria of a restaurant. By doing this, Paymentech is experiencing tremendous opportunity and growth in the restaurant and hospitality markets.”

Sonic Corp., based in Oklahoma City, owns, operates and franchises restaurants. Sonic has drive-in locations in 27 sunbelt states, and enjoys the highest customer frequency rate in the hamburger segment of the quick-service restaurant industry. Sonic is the fifth largest hamburger chain in the United States; the second largest hamburger chain in the Southwest.

Apple South currently operates four decentralized divisions organized by brand to ensure a strong guest focus. These divisions operate a number of restaurant concepts including Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchens, McCormick & Schmick’s seafood dinner houses, Hops Restaurant Bar & Brewery restaurants, and Canyon Cafe Southwestern Grills. Apple South also owns a 20 percent stake in Belgo Group PLC, a two-unit United Kingdom restaurant company.

Metromedia Restaurant Group(MRG) is one of the largest full-service restaurant groups in the United States (based on number of restaurants). Branded concepts for the 1,000-unit restaurant group include: Bennigan’s, Steak and Ale, Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza.

Souper Salad, Inc., headquartered in San Antonio, Tex., is the largest casual dining salad bar chain in the nation with 84 restaurants. Founded in 1978, the privately-held company currently operates in 10 states and is expanding nationally.

Gift Card Services, based in Tulsa, Okla., specializes in gift card technology and provides a host computer system to process gift card transactions. Founded in 1991, the privately-held company offers on-line, real time transaction processing and reporting, delivering control and economic profitability to a customers gift certificate/card programs.

Paymentech, Inc. , founded in 1985, provides full-service electronic payment solutions for direct merchant clients as well as third-party transaction processing. Paymentech is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions and a leading issuer of commercial cards in the United States.

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