Steve Brown, Owner of The Glass Knife
Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter
By Mark Baratelli
Steve Brown, owner of The Glass Knife in Winter Park at 276 S. Orlando Ave (MAP) chose to make his restaurant 100% cashless. No cash is accepted. Purchases must be made with credit, debit, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Brown was inspired to go cashless after a trip to New York City. While dining at Danny Meyer's Daily Provisions, he experienced firsthand their cashless payment system and loved it. He learned the main reasons for Meyer's installation of the system were safety and guest service. His waiters were traveling home by foot or subway with wads of cash. They were easy targets being that they were still wearing their work uniforms. It tipped thieves off. Also without having to travel back and forth to tables and cash registers, waiters had more time to serve guests.
Brown is seeing the improved guest service with this system. In a restaurant with a standard payment system, the register can only be operated by one employee. With the cashless system, any employee in the restaurant can take orders and receive payment. This speeds up the guests' wait times and leads to more free time for employees to take care of guests. Also, it eliminates the over/under moment at the end of the night for employees using the register that occurs at normal restaurants. There's no chance an employee can be over or under his cash amount with a cashless system. Everyone is accountable because it's all on record.
As for safety, there are no waiters with wads of cash in their pockets leaving the restaurant.The bakers working overnight are not working in a building full of cash. The building itself never has cash in it. Everyone is safer.
Brown was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming his guests have been to the cashless system. When employees introduce the system to new guests, they typically respond with welcoming comments. He says he only gets about 2 complaints every 2 weeks.
Brown is prepared for the rare guest who refuses to use card. When he first opened, he was so prepared he had cash drawers for those exact guests. Brown created a script for the employees when a guest insists they pay with cash. They communicate that the restaurant is cashless and immediately ask if they have a credit card. It's the extremely rare occasion that their guests don't have a credit card on them. Now, he uses the cash drawers for lost & found guest items.
Someone else who appreciates the cashless payment system is Visa. They're offering restaurants $10,000 to go cashless. Brown is not participating in that program. Yet.
Brown is not aware of any other restaurant in Orlando that is 100% cashless right now.
He was encouraged to try out new technology for his first by his history and knowledge of the industry. After he worked for 16 years at Disney in Finance he began his own technology company focusing on Tickets and transactions. That company has grown to 500 employees and has clients around the world including theme parks. He still works there while running the restaurant. Transactions are his life!
He encourages clients to go cashless when applicable, but a majority of his clients are theme parks and attractions. He says theme parks can't go cashless because 30-40% of their guests still use cash. He likes the Magic Band payment system, however. It works, he says, because an app can't. Everyone has a different phone and uploading and updating an app on several phone services isn't the best use of resources. Instead Disney, in a sense, created its own app with the Magic Band. There's one payment method that works everywhere on property with one bill at the end. The Daily City requested a knife-shaped key fob that can be used at The Glass Knife like Magic Band. We'll see if that ever pans out.
Another unique feature of The Glass Knife is the European cafe style of ordering. Brown says those establishments want guests to linger. Guests order their food and drink at a counter then take a seat. They're brought their order and if they want dessert or another beverage, they order it from their waiter and pay their bill with the waiter. There's one bill unlike at American quick serve restaurants where, once you buy your meal and drink, you must stand up and make a second purchase on a new bill.
At the Glass Knife guests can pay their waiter with Apple Pay and Google Pay as well as the standard credit card.
Another benefit to this style of ordering is that it relieves guests from the pressure of having to decide on dessert at the counter. It also encourages guests to stay longer, eat as they wish and order extras if they want them. That's the European cafe experience and that's what guests experience at The Glass Knife.
Let's hope Brown returns to New York City and brings us back another fun and helpful innovation!
The Glass Knife
276 S. Orlando Ave, Winter Park (MAP)
Open Daily 7am until 10pm
Cakes, pastries, donuts, sandwiches, pot pies, artisanal coffee