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Groupon expands merchant services with iPad-based POS for restaurants

Groupon continues to expand its services for merchants with a new iPad-based solution for restaurants that enables users to process payments.

Additionally, local restaurants can also use Breadcrumb to merge or split checks, adjust menu items, manage time-clocks for employees, among other features. Groupon acquired Breadcrumb earlier this year. Breadcrumb is the latest example of how Groupon is trying to leverage its extensive customer base of small and mid-sized retailers to offer them a host of services as growth in the daily deals business stalls.

“If you look at our merchant population, which is 250,000 merchants worldwide, food and beverage merchants make up one of the most important categories of that base,” said Nick Halliwell, manager of merchant public relations at Groupon, Chicago.

 “This is just another tool that we are providing merchants to help them attract more customers and run their business more effectively,” he said.

“Our goal is to become the operation system for local merchants and Breadcrumb fits in with that.”

Mobile tools
The iPad solution includes a robust set of tools for restaurants, bars and cafes, including the ability to merge or split checks, add or adjust menu items, specify guest notes and modifiers, set employee access levels, manage time-clocks and view real-time sales and labor reports.

Using Breadcrumb, restaurants can also accept orders, print checks and receipts, send electronic receipts.

Other features include the ability to create a floor layout and rearrange tables with a finger swipe.

Breadcrumb is also fully integrated with Groupon Payments, enabling users to process credit and debit card transactions. Breadcrumb also works with other payments services.

Breadcrumb was piloted in New York City at more than 100 restaurants, including Da Silvano, Cafe Bari, Gonzalez y Gonzalez and Bobby Salazar’s.

The solution is being billed as costing significantly less than other hospitality POS systems, with no upfront fees. Plans start at $99 per month.

The Breadcrumb app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store.

Merchant services
Breadcrumb complements some of the other merchant services Groupon offers, including an online scheduling app, a rewards program and Groupon Payments.

Groupon launched Groupon Payments in September, offering merchants a solution for processing credit card payments using a mobile device, similar to what Square, PayPal Here and others are already doing. The daily deals giant is charging significantly less to process each transaction than retailers currently pay credit card companies (see story).

In September, Groupon acquired online reservation services Savored, which provides online reservations and offers for restaurants and has apps available for iOS and Android (see story).

“The restaurants really like the fact that this runs on an iPad because a lot of their employees already own one or know how to use one – it has a very intuitive user interface,” Mr. Halliwell said.

“Breadcrumb costs less than legacy systems and includes free updates,” he said.

“Our solution was built by a team of individuals that has extensive hospitality experience and was built only for hospitality use.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York