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Author Topic: I went to Meze Grill today and paid with VISA  (Read 6319 times)
Stephen Gornick
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April 01, 2012, 07:32:31 PM
 #41

In the U.S. we have Dwolla as an option.  We can easily and cheaply convert BTCs to Dwolla.

If I am making a purchase from a merchant where I can pay with Dwolla instead of credit card I will do so.  But I haven't had the opportunity to do so yet.  Dwolla isn't getting huge numbers of merchants signing up apparently either.  To be fair, Dwolla doesn't have a forum of fanatics who would go out of their way to solicit merchants to consider accepting that payment method and then promising to give patronage in the future.

But a lot of money was raised by companies such as Square, Venmo, etc and that along with the efforts of PayPal, Google and Isis are all going to be competing to persuade merchants to begin accepting their method of mobile payments.  That 3% swipe fee and lower fraud levels seen with mobile are enough to draw a huge amount of attention to this space  

But unless the hardware that merchants start using for mobile payments is locked down, adding another app -- a bitcoin payment app -- isn't such a radical step further.   When you start actually seeing Square register used on iPads at your coffee shop you'll know the time is getting near to start the push for getting Bitcoin in there as well.

That won't be happening at chains which want to have control of their own systems.  Look at Starbucks for instance which rolled out its own mobile payment app (which holds a cash / prepaid account balance for its user, interestingly).  And for smaller merchants because an investment in hardware is required the change to mobile payments will only slowly arrive (unless that corporate and venture capital money starts going to subsidize iPad purchases).

In the meantime it doesn't hurt to try to soften up the retailers by repeated inquiry ... just don't be disappointed when the desired outcome remains evasive.  But when there are merchants that do take the leap, we as a community do ourselves a service by making it worth the merchant's while by giving our support.  Even if it means going out of our way a little (though making a trip from a western state to Manhattan might be taking it to the extreme Smiley ).

p.s., There's always Papa Johns (CoinCard) or gift cards from a couple dozen other national chain restauraunts as well (GiftCoin.net):
 - http://CoinCard.ndrix.com
 - http://www.GiftCoin.net

We gotta start somewhere ...

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Phinnaeus Gage
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April 01, 2012, 09:39:03 PM
 #42

In the U.S. we have Dwolla as an option.  We can easily and cheaply convert BTCs to Dwolla.

If I am making a purchase from a merchant where I can pay with Dwolla instead of credit card I will do so.  But I haven't had the opportunity to do so.  Dwolla isn't getting huge numbers of merchants signing up apparently either.  To be fair, Dwolla doesn't have a forum of fanatics who would go out of their way to solicit merchants to consider accepting that payment method and then promising to give patronage in the future.

But a lot of money was raised by companies such as Square, Venmo, etc and that along with the efforts of PayPal, Google and Isis are all going to be competing get merchants to begin accepting their method of mobile payments.  That 3% swipe fee and lower fraud levels seen with mobile are enough to draw a huge amount of attention to this space  

But unless the hardware that merchants start using for mobile payments is locked down, adding another app -- a bitcoin payment app -- isn't such a radical step further.   When you start actually seeing Square register used on iPads at your coffee shop you'll know the time is getting near to start the push.

That won't be happening at chains which want to have control of their own systems.  Look at Starbucks for instance which rolled out its own mobile payment app (which holds a cash / prepaid account balance for its user, interestingly.  And for smaller merchants because an investment in hardware is required the change to mobile payments will only slowly arrive (unless that corporate and venture capital money starts going to subsidize iPad purchases).

In the meantime it doesn't hurt to try to soften up the retailers by repeated inquiry, just don't be disappointed when the desired outcome remains evasive.  But when there are merchants that do take the leap, we as a community do ourselves a service by making it worth the merchant's while by giving our support.  Even if it means going out of our way a little (though making a trip from a western state to Manhattan might be taking it to the extreme Smiley ).

p.s., There's always Papa Johns (CoinCard) or gift cards from a couple dozen other national chain restauraunts as well (GiftCoin.net):
 - http://CoinCard.ndrix.com
 - http://www.GiftCoin.net

We gotta start somewhere ...

+1

When I starting reading this post, I said to myself that I want to quote that and reply. Then I continued to read, shortly coming upon another good point. Then another. And another. At the end I said fuck it and quote it all, and don't comment on it at all, for I would surely fuck it up. Hence the strikethrough.

Nice post, Stephen.

~Bruno~
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April 01, 2012, 10:09:49 PM
 #43

Merchants A-L: We accept Bitcoin.
Merchants M-Z: How's that working out for you?

~Bruno~

Maybe local dine-in restaurants just aren't a good option for Bitcoin right now? If what you're saying is true then it sounds like the industry was kicking and screaming and dragging its heels until the competition forced them to start accepting ordinary credit cards.

Maybe a better bet would be to convince a large pizza chain to accept Bitcoin as online payment option? It's a naturally better fit. There's already a delivery delay, they already have websites and online processing, and the Bitcoin scene is already full of hungry programmers and students who like to eat pizza and sit in front of computers! The sales pitch? Corner an emerging market before anyone else does, and do it cheaply and with low risk. Smiley

Sorry for double posting, but I need to expand on this fine post. My last post above I wish to stand on it's own merits. One more thing before I continue, even though I've never been called out for doing such, I believe, I don't do this to increase my post count. If I really wanted to play that game for real, I can via other means. Sorry for going skew, but for some odd reason I felt this needed to be said. Thanks, all, for understanding. Now onto commenting on the quoted post, if I get my chain of though back, that is.

Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. What if instead trying to get restaurants to accept bitcoins, show them how to give them away as promotional items. We've all seen the buy-9-pizzas-get-the-10th-one-free promo. What about this: Buy 10 any size pizza with any toppings within the next 30 days and receive the average selling price of the pizza (only--no drinks, bread sticks, etc.) in bitcoins. The customer should quickly realize that the higher price paid for each pizza will result in a higher average reward. Offer one per customer per one email account only, allowing the buyers to think they're gaming the system if they use two email accounts, when in reality it gives the chain an extra email account(s) to market to. Somehow, set up the campaign incorporating smartphones and email apps. This is a very important aspect for the chain to be able to benefit from such a promotion with maximum return. Their risk? Virtually none. Their reward? Great, if done properly. Their cost? Cheaper than any other promotional options currently available (I think). ROI? Should be pretty damn good.

Again, they don't even have to accept Bitcoin until/unless a critical mass of their customer base request it.

~Bruno~
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April 01, 2012, 10:13:34 PM
 #44

Bitcoin has a long hard road to travel before it's accepted and used on a regular basis by your typical restaurant. As Phinnaeus mentioned, small business owners are accustomed to taking risks, but they are known risks. What's new and exciting about bitcoin to us is strange and confusing to the average restaurant owner/manager.

However, did you notice I used the phrases, "typical restaurant" and "average owner/manager"?

I am sure there is someone out there starting up their first diner, bar and grill, hot dog stand, or whatever, who will be just as starstruck as many of us are once he or she learns about bitcoins. We just need to persevere and reward them with our patronage once we hear about them. As Stephen said, we gotta start somewhere.

Still around.
blablahblah
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April 01, 2012, 10:44:43 PM
 #45

Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. What if instead trying to get restaurants to accept bitcoins, show them how to give them away as promotional items. We've all seen the buy-9-pizzas-get-the-10th-one-free promo. What about this: Buy 10 any size pizza with any toppings within the next 30 days and receive the average selling price of the pizza (only--no drinks, bread sticks, etc.) in bitcoins. The customer should quickly realize that the higher price paid for each pizza will result in a higher average reward. Offer one per customer per one email account only, allowing the buyers to think they're gaming the system if they use two email accounts, when in reality it gives the chain an extra email account(s) to market to. Somehow, set up the campaign incorporating smartphones and email apps. This is a very important aspect for the chain to be able to benefit from such a promotion with maximum return. Their risk? Virtually none. Their reward? Great, if done properly. Their cost? Cheaper than any other promotional options currently available (I think). ROI? Should be pretty damn good.

Again, they don't even have to accept Bitcoin until/unless a critical mass of their customer base request it.

~Bruno~

You're the culinary expert, time to get cracking! This part can be tough - I sometimes fall into the trap of getting inspired, but then over-thinking, picking holes, and coming to a straw man conclusion that it'll never work.
Maged
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April 02, 2012, 05:11:20 AM
 #46

Forget about in-person transactions. That can come later when we have a stronger network of users. Besides, a much better competitor already has us beaten there: cash. Instead, let's focus our efforts to where cash can't be taken. Namely, online transactions. Once bitcoins become big in that area, the restaurant business will have no reason to ignore Bitcoin.

That being said, there is a backdoor into this industry. More and more, restaurants are upgrading their systems to take online orders for food. That falls within Bitcoin's niche. That is why I'm really liking the idea of having a big pizza joint accept bitcoins for online orders.

Michael_S
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March 16, 2013, 06:45:09 PM
 #47

I was in NY this week, sad to find out that Meze Grill was closed down, shop was empty and locked, and the "Store for Rent" sign outside.

(I guess people have to come to Berlin now to get decent food for bitcoin...)

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March 16, 2013, 07:11:50 PM
 #48

(I guess people have to come to Berlin now to get decent food for bitcoin...)

Or Finland. There is a Veggie burger chain over here that accepts bitcoins. They have 2 restaurants in Helsinki and 1 in Turku that accepts it. The food is decent as well, it's Veggie food marketed for meat eaters. Really heavy stuff. Not the healthy type, but sure tastes good. Smiley

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March 16, 2013, 07:38:42 PM
 #49

I was in NYC over the holidays and walked past Meze Grill. Didn't even go in since I knew they no longer take BTC. But they looked fully in-business.



(I guess people have to come to Berlin now to get decent food for bitcoin...)


Happy to note that this is false. I've paid for two lunches with bitcoin in the past two weeks, at:
http://www.cafeberlinlv.com/
and
https://plus.google.com/106711613125185191076/about?gl=us&hl=en


http://bitcoinsinvegas.com/ is working hard to get local merchants accepting bitcoin. He organizes a "lunch mob" every week where local bitcoin folks eat out and introduce bitcoin to the merchant. Seems to be a decent model. Would like to see people do it in other cities.

Bitcoin is the first monetary system to credibly offer perfect information to all economic participants.
But Bitcointalk & /r/bitcoin are heavily censored. bitco.in/forum, forum.bitcoin.com, and /r/btc are open.
Best info on Casascius coins: http://spotcoins.com/casascius
cypherdoc
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March 16, 2013, 10:19:06 PM
 #50

the problem with even these early adopter merchants is that they just don't understand the volatility we investors have come to love and enjoy.  Wink

just imagine if the Meze Grill owner had saved all the BTC paid to him since day 1 of opening his doors to Bitcoin.  he might have been able to retire by now.
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March 16, 2013, 10:22:50 PM
 #51

the problem with even these early adopter merchants is that they just don't understand the volatility we investors have come to love and enjoy.  Wink

just imagine if the Meze Grill owner had saved all the BTC paid to him since day 1 of opening his doors to Bitcoin.  he might have been able to retire by now.


If memory serves, Meze Grill lost money to one of the 2011 hacks/scams (mybitcoin?), and that soured them on the whole thing. Understandable, but I wonder if anyone in NYC tried to reach out in 2012 when solutions like BitPay had emerged. Guess the point is moot now...

As a sidenote, as far as I know, both of the places here in Vegas (linked above) where I paid with bitcoin recently are holding on to their btc. They don't want to convert it to fiat.

Bitcoin is the first monetary system to credibly offer perfect information to all economic participants.
But Bitcointalk & /r/bitcoin are heavily censored. bitco.in/forum, forum.bitcoin.com, and /r/btc are open.
Best info on Casascius coins: http://spotcoins.com/casascius
cypherdoc
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March 16, 2013, 10:40:50 PM
 #52

the problem with even these early adopter merchants is that they just don't understand the volatility we investors have come to love and enjoy.  Wink

just imagine if the Meze Grill owner had saved all the BTC paid to him since day 1 of opening his doors to Bitcoin.  he might have been able to retire by now.


If memory serves, Meze Grill lost money to one of the 2011 hacks/scams (mybitcoin?), and that soured them on the whole thing. Understandable, but I wonder if anyone in NYC tried to reach out in 2012 when solutions like BitPay had emerged. Guess the point is moot now...

As a sidenote, as far as I know, both of the places here in Vegas (linked above) where I paid with bitcoin recently are holding on to their btc. They don't want to convert it to fiat.

you're right.  i remember that now.  on the advice of Bruce no doubt.  too bad for them.  so many actors from the early days now dead and buried.
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March 16, 2013, 10:44:24 PM
 #53

As much as I dislike being cunicula's sockpuppet, bitcoin retail purchases are dead in the water.

If you're running a bar/restaurant, as much as 10% may vanish because of stolen cards and so on. With bitcoin, you have a 100% payment guarantee.
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March 16, 2013, 10:48:28 PM
 #54

As much as I dislike being cunicula's sockpuppet, bitcoin retail purchases are dead in the water.

Think about PayPal. They have hundreds of millions of individual accounts. They are accepted by hundreds of thousands of online retailers. Yet, do you know of any restaurant where you are able to pay with your PayPal balance using a custom PayPal checkout solution ? That's because even for PayPal the network effects are too faint to compete with the credit card oligopoly.

Instead, PayPal issues it's own credit card, so you are able to pay using your PayPal balance while using the de facto payment standard - credit cards. Bitcon's network effect is thousands of time fainter than PayPal's, it can barely compete with it online. Retail purchases in bitcoin are pure fantasy, IMHO.

I was surprised to see somewhere it was possible to pay with paypal recently. I don't remember where though. Possibly it was a restaurant.

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March 16, 2013, 11:30:29 PM
 #55

...and the "Bitcoin Accepted Here" sticker isn't there anymore.

Did they mention anything about Bruce's tainted reputation ?
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March 16, 2013, 11:49:13 PM
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Bitcoin adoption happens gradually based on its usefulness. Currently the biggest Bitcoin market is Silk Road and the reason is that Bitcoin is most useful for something like that. After this it will start spreading to other markets where it is not as useful, but still pretty neat. At the other end of the spectrum we have the brick-and-mortar stores which will most likely be the last place Bitcoin will ever have any significance. Anything is possible in the future but we're definitely not there yet. This is simply how it is. If you want to try a brick-and-mortar store, try one that has 1-2 people as staff so everyone can be educated easily. In that case it doesn't necessarily cause any extra costs to accept Bitcoin (if the owner has a smartphone). Any smart business owner will accept it then because there is nothing to lose by doing that.

I don't know what the next big market for Bitcoin will be, it could be virtual gaming markets, online gambling, porn, auction sites, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, online/mobile donations or just simply p2p local/international money transfers. I don't know what it'll be but I can guarantee that all of the former will be big markets for Bitcoin way before brick-and-mortar stores.

This reminds me of all of those Bitcoin startups that have attempted to launch a Bitcoin retail store online, not realizing that they are basically competing with Amazon by doing that. It's a hard road. This is the same, even PayPal which is gargantuan compared to Bitcoin, hasn't had an easy time with brick-and-mortar stores. Have patience guys, Bitcoin might eventually reach even the least probable markets but not today. Now it would be more productive to focus on the markets that have better potential and only offer Bitcoin to brick-and-mortar stores if it can be done without extra investments and staff training (except the owner/owners of course).

The next big market is clearly online gambling. People begging B&M stores to take bitcoins is a complete waste of time. Nobody who doesn't have bitcoins is going to think that they should get some in order to do something that could be done just as easily with dollars. When it comes to online gambling and other black/gray market things, the features of anonymity and decentralization have a clear and significant benefit to anyone involved.
Phinnaeus Gage
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March 17, 2013, 01:30:51 AM
 #57

Back in '09, some guy named Bruce raided rated the place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/meze-grill-new-york?start=40

Quote
We love this place!

The food is fresh and delicious.  When we asked a couple of questions, the owners came over and sat with us and answered all of our questions.  They are wonderful and obviously care very much about our concerns.   They assured us that, Yes, the chicken is free-range and antibiotic-free, etc.

They are working on transitioning to more and more of their vegetables being organic, sustainably grown, and from local sources.  

For example, they tell us that within the next few weeks they will be adding an all-organic vegetable smoothies and juice bar to their offerings.

We also learned that this is the one-and-only "flagship" location of this new restaurant.  We can see the potential for this to become the next new HUGE franchise -- like a Chipotle or Jamba Juice, or something like that.  There is also a very famous celebrity chef involved.  We're not really up on celebrity chefs, so we don't remember who it is... But he's very famous.  Ask them.  They'll tell you all about him.

The food is delicious and they give you a very nice portion -- including a nice portion of meat too (not jut rice and lettuce!) -- for the reasonable prices they charge.

We love supporting small businesses, and start-ups.  We'll pass on supporting all the Walmarts and McDonald's and Starbucks and Whole Foods of the world.  Smiley

PS - Please note that many people mis-spell the name.  We've seen it referred to as "Meza Grill on 8th Ave."... but the correct spelling is:  Meze Grill... (pronounced, MEZZ-ee)  See their site: http://www.mezegrill.com

I believe the text in bold is by Bruce and not the owner's words.
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March 17, 2013, 01:50:19 AM
 #58

As much as I dislike being cunicula's sockpuppet, bitcoin retail purchases are dead in the water.

Think about PayPal. They have hundreds of millions of individual accounts. They are accepted by hundreds of thousands of online retailers. Yet, do you know of any restaurant where you are able to pay with your PayPal balance using a custom PayPal checkout solution ? That's because even for PayPal the network effects are too faint to compete with the credit card oligopoly.

Instead, PayPal issues it's own credit card, so you are able to pay using your PayPal balance while using the de facto payment standard - credit cards. Bitcon's network effect is thousands of time fainter than PayPal's, it can barely compete with it online. Retail purchases in bitcoin are pure fantasy, IMHO.

Dollar General now takes PayPal without a debit card via their checkout. You choose PP and give it your phone #, then your PIN.
Simple and fast.


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March 17, 2013, 02:17:48 AM
 #59

I was in NYC over the holidays and walked past Meze Grill. Didn't even go in since I knew they no longer take BTC. But they looked fully in-business.
When I was there it was shut down, last Tuesday 12 March 2013. Shutdown must have occurred very recently, even their website is still operational today.
Of course I wouldn't have gone there if I had known that they didn't accept btc any more.

I also took two photos, so you can see for yourself (click photos for more details/original size):




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March 17, 2013, 02:24:47 AM
 #60

I was in NYC over the holidays and walked past Meze Grill. Didn't even go in since I knew they no longer take BTC. But they looked fully in-business.
When I was there it was shut down, last Tuesday 12 March 2013. Shutdown must have occurred very recently, even their website is still operational today.
Of course I wouldn't have gone there if I had known that they didn't accept btc any more.

I also took two photos, so you can see for yourself (click photos for more details/original size):





first bitcoin based restaurant bankruptcy

Einer trage des andern Last, so werdet ihr das Gesetz Christi erfüllen.
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