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IamA Owner of a Bitcoin Accepting Subway in Allentown, PA (Sapan Shah) AMA!

Dec 2nd 2013 by sapan211 • 13 Questions • 333 Points

Last month we started accepting Bitcoins at my Subway as the first Subway in America. One month later, we are still selling sandwiches and accepting Bitcoins- It can be done!

Thanks to the support of the reddit community, we were featured on CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101206903 and on CNN: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/technology/2013/11/25/buy-with-bitcoin/

It would be really awesome to see what questions redditors have and what I can do to guide businesses that want to start accepting Bitcoin.

Thanks! @sapan211

My Proof: http://imgur.com/ihBQa8Z

Q:

Hey, I go to Lehigh. I'm literally in the building across the street from you. I was also your 2nd bitcoin customer.

If I happen to see you, I'll say hi.

A:

Do say hi if you see me. I'm always there


Q:

How has your staff taken to accepting bitcoins? Do the number of decimal places freak out the staff? Do you have a minimum purchase requirement for use of bitcoin?

A:

My employees are simply awesome. They have dealt with all of this with a smile on their faces and have actually shown a lot of interest.
They don't have to deal with decimals because I have set it up so all they have to do is input the total dollar amount into a tablet at the register. The app automatically generates the code that the customer scans. It pops up on the screen when they receive the payment.

We don't have a minimum purchase requirement.


Q:

Would you be able to pay an employee in BTC if they desired?

A:

There are no Bitcoin Payroll Services to my knowledge. I'm not sure how feasible this would be.


Q:

Classic Lentil!!! Nice to see you outside our hub.

A:

Come down and say Hi!


Q:

How have you been keeping records of sales? I'm planning to accept Bitcoin but am unsure how to do so legally as a business. So you convert to USD and simply keep record of those earnings?


Q:

Do you immediately sell the bitcoins for cash to take away the currency risk or are you keeping the bitcoins in your account?

A:

This has been one of the most complicated parts of the process. Since I started accepting Bitcoins, I have switched my Merchant Services Processor 3 times. I am actually looking for a longer term solution. Until I find a more permanent solution that is fully integrated with our bank account, our Bitcoins are remaining as is.

Since this has been relatively new we are still working out all the kinks in the process. I am not worried about the currency risk at all.


Q:

Can you write a little FAQ for Subway patrons to convince owners in their area to accept bitcoin? Would love a little list of hardware, software, which accounts to create with which companies, etc.

A:

Most of the equipment used in Subway's are fairly standard. I have a Nexus 7 next to my register with the POS app on there. They would just need to tweak some settings on the POS.

If you draft up some questions I might be able to help you out with an FAQ


Q:

Hey there Sapan, I'm located in easton and I was just wondering which subway it is that you run so that I can possibly stop by and say hello?!


Q:

No questions, but thank you from the Dorney Park team for making lunch for us on many occasions!

A:

You guys are Awesome. Can't wait till everyone comes back in the Spring.


Q:

I'm from Plymouth Meeting, which is really close to Allentown! I think this is awesome, I should come buy something with Bitcoins sometime. Also, what was the most difficult part about integrating Bitcoins into your store?

A:

There have been so many challenges from the start. I think the biggest one has been trying to explain to everyone what a Bitcoin is. For example, in order to train my employees, they needed to fundamentally understand what a Bitcoin was. I had to explain it over and over again answering the same doubtful questions.

We would love to have you at our store!


Q:

Hey, you run the Subway by Dorney Park? Wow, I used to live right near there, worked at St Luke's in Bethlehem. Nostalgia.

Not related to BitCoin, but what do you think of Allentown and LV in general? How long have you been there? Where are you originally from?

A:

Yep, Subway Dorneyville. I was born and brought up in Allentown!


Q:

Do you have any BTC for yourself? Also, what do you think about altcoins such as Litecoin, Namecoin, ect.

A:

I do have BTC myself. I do not have any plans to start accepting any Alt. currency at my store. I think they are very interesting and we may see many more in the future.


Q:
  • Is your store a franchise?
  • what do you do if the value of bitcoin drops? Does the company you go through for scanning take care of that?
  • what company do you use?
  • what kind of training did you give your employees?
  • if i wanted to start getting my local business owners in on this, what do you recommend i show them?

thanks!

A:

Subway is indeed a franchise. We are currently using Coinbase to process our payments and I have personally walked all of my employees through the process.

I have found this page to be the most helpful if you want to show other small business owners: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/How_to_accept_Bitcoin,_for_small_businesses

It was most helpful for me.