Many of the popular bars in downtown Vermillion have a cash-only policy, even though local bar owners said that carrying cash is less common with younger people.
Out of all of the downtown bars, six will take cards: Vermillion Eagles Club, Leo’s Sports Bar & Grill, Maya Jane’s, Old Lumber Company, Dakota Brick House and Main Street Pub.
However out of those six bars, five of them have a food menu, so their average ticket is higher.
Maya Jane’s, Vermillion Eagles Club and Main Street Pub all require a ten dollar minimum for card use. Old Lumber company has a twenty dollar minimum for alcohol purchases. In some cases, these policies are negatively affecting the bar’s income. But on the contrary, cash-only policies create ease for bartenders and can keep bar tab totals lower for consumers.
William Mart is the manager at the Charcoal Lounge and has been working there for three years. His jobs include making the schedule, placing orders for the bar and bartending when needed.
Mart said the Charcoal Lounge does not take cards, but have recently been looking into it. He said being a cash-only bar is easier on his bartenders.
“We are obviously a late-night bar where we might have 300 people in two hours,” he said. “So, it’s easier on us. We have an ATM on the premises.”
Mart said being a cash-only bar has its pros and cons.
“I have looked into a card machine recently because I think the new trend these days is that kids don’t carry cash,” he said.
Mart said he is unsure if Char bar will ever get a card machine because it requires purchasing an all new system, but he said it might happen in the next few years.
Sean Callahan, a junior psychology major with a math minor, said he would like it if all the bars took cards.
“I never have cash on me and I don’t like going to take cash out,” Callahan said. “But I do see how that might slow up business.”
Callahan said it would be nice if more bars did tabs, but he said that leads to him spending more money than he intended.
“Every time I open up a tab, it is always so much more than I expected at the end of the night,” he said.
Mart said another issue with not taking cards are drinks end up being wasted, leading to profit loss.
“There are people who will come up and order six drinks and we tell them we don’t take cards and they walk away, so it can be quite a waste,” Mart said.
Even though the Charcoal Lounge has never accepted cards, Mart said many students still try to use their cards.
“We see the same people who come back week after week and will still try and pay with a card,” he said. “By the time they are at Char, I think they have had plenty to drink. Where even if we tell them every time they aren’t gonna remember.”
Diane Wirth, manager of The Varsity Pub, said she also loses some business by not taking cards. However, she doesn’t feel like waste is a big issue.
“Since our prices are so low, I think people at least have that amount of cash on them,” Wirth said.
Wirth said if she were to have a card machine, she would have to raise prices to meet the minimum.
“We don’t serve food, and we only have beer and wine, so since the average price per sale is pretty low in order to afford using a machine, we would have to have a high minimum,” Wirth said.
The Varsity also has an ATM on site for customers to use.