Falkirk cafe among first in Scotland to accept cryptocurrency payments
A Falkirk cafe owner believes his business is one of the first in Scotland to accept cryptocurrency payments.
Antonio’s Deli regulars will notice some big changes when the newly refurbished coffee shop reopens this Thursday – most notably the fact they’ll be able to pay their bill using a digital currency system.
Marco Risiglione, who took over the Grahams Road premises in September 2019, has used a £1900 resilience grant from Falkirk Council to help fund a major revamp which has transformed its appearance inside.
While Mr Risiglione is looking forward to customers’ reaction to the renovation, what excites him even more is the traction the business' new payment option could gain.
Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, is a digital form of money in which transactions are verified by a decentralised system using cryptography, rather than a centralised authority.
People keep Bitcoins in virtual online wallets and use specialist software on mobiles or tablets to transfer funds.
After scanning a QR code, customers can transfer virtual cash over the internet to settle their tab.
Mr Risiglione has already trialled the payment option online.
Although he reckons in-person uptake may be slow at first, the businessman is confident others will soon realise its benefits.
He said: “I just think in the future it could be a good opportunity for the hospitality industry to offer this type of method because hospitality has been exactly the same for the last 50 years.
“We’ve got to change something for the future and this would be a good example. We’re maybe one of the first in Scotland to offer this.
“In London, there are a couple of big companies starting to accept this payment method.
“It’s to show to colleagues it’s important to work together to improve the service for the customers. In lockdown, the daily routine of the customer is changing.
“It’s changed the way they shop and eat. We need to understand the new trends.
“There are no extra costs with cryptocurrency. It’s really easy for us and also the customer – it’s like a phone payment.
“The good thing for the government is when I get a cryptocurrency payment, I have to put in my balance and I will pay tax.”
Following its refurbishment, Antonio’s Deli is now fully equipped to offer takeaway and delivery services from Thursday to Sunday (10am-3pm).
The business has invested in a new kitchen, bar, bakery and displays to enhance its offering once coronavirus restrictions ease for cafes, pubs and restaurants in late April.
Having hooked up with a Glasgow-based firm, it’s also now a coffee roaster and supplies fellow Falkirk area eateries Cafe Corvina and Gambero Rosso.
Mr Risiglione, who has 15 years’ experience of the hospitality trade in Italy, Malta, France and Scotland, added: “We changed the shop completely.
“We changed the format to improve the service and it’s a big help. We’re changing the menu so it’s more healthy, while still offering similar products as before.
“We've improved the outdoor area because we never had tables outside.
“We supply other coffee shops around Scotland with coffee, cakes and equipment. We still serve coffee beans and have a small coffee roaster.
“We’ll do blends of different origins for customers – I don’t think anybody in Falkirk offers this type of service.”