With restaurants and other hospitality businesses facing some of the earliest and largest financial losses from COVID-19, one local company established an online resource to help raise more than $200 million for them.
Shift4 Payments, an integrated payment processing solutions company in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, launched Shift4Cares.com, an online resource for government agencies, news outlets and businesses affected by COVID-19. The website offers information on the economic impact of this pandemic and is part of Shift4’s plan to raise more than $200 million nationwide for restaurants and other small businesses — including up to $10 million contributed directly from the company through a gift card initiative.
Consumers can go to Shift4Cares.com to buy gift cards for their favorite local restaurants and other businesses to provide their favorite establishments with much needed revenue during this difficult time, said Terry Sullivan, chief of staff for Shift4 Payments. For every gift card purchased through the site, Shift4 Payments will contribute an additional 5% to the business — up to $10 million. For example, a $100 gift card purchase on the site would result in $105 for the merchant.
“We are doing what we can to raise awareness,” Sullivan said. “We specialize in hospitality, which is really restaurants and hotels. The pandemic is really having an impact. We are seeing a tremendous decline in payment volumes.”
While the impact is national, Pennsylvania is among those hardest hit.
The states leading the declines are California (91%), Pennsylvania (89%), Texas (89%) and New York (88%). Nationally, restaurant transactions declined from 42 million to 11 million during this time, while hotel transactions declined from 144 million to 20 million.
Data on the site for the last seven days shows that hospitality industry transactions are down significantly when compared to the week of Feb. 2, with restaurant transactions down 74%, hotels down 86% and all other industries down 64%.
Nationwide and state-by-state data is available at Shift4Cares.com.
“We’ve been going through this data and we are seeing how substantial that is,” Sullivan said. “This is just a way to help our customers, our businesses across the country to get much-needed revenue.”
Shift4 Payments also waived many processing fees for its clients, including the fee for the device used for curbside delivery and online orders, he said.
Shift4 processes more than 3.5 billion transactions annually for more than 200,000 businesses nationwide, representing more than $200 billion in payments each year.