“We’re cashless” are the first words a customer sees on a sign at the entrance to Mad Radish. Mazen Abouelata, Centretown News

Mad Radish salad bar opens cashless eateries

By Mazen Abouelata

Customer responses to cashless transactions at Centretown’s ground-breaking lunch spot Mad Radish are “overwhelmingly positive,” says owner David Segal.

When it came to running the business, Segal — who is also the founder of the David’s Tea chain — turned his back on the cash register. Mad Radish serves fresh salads for customers seeking a healthy lifestyle or just a quick bite between work shifts. The store opened in two locations this summer, one on the corner of Bank Street and Fifth Avenue in the Glebe, the other at the corner of Albert and Metcalfe streets.

What makes Mad Radish different from other eateries is that it doesn’t accept cash. “We’re cashless” are the first words a customer sees on a sign at the entrance.

“We only accept credit and debit in-store, as well as orders through the Mad Radish app and online,” Segal said via email.

Segal admitted that cashless payments are not the best news for people who prefer to pay with coins and bills. But he said customers have embraced the idea, and that cash is being used less than ever before since the emergence of tap-and-pay.

“Yes, there’s the occasional person who doesn’t like it — but the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Segal said.

Segal recently introduced a reloadable gift card especially for teenagers, for some of whom cash is their only convenient source of payment.

Workers at Mad Radish say they’re enjoying the benefits of this trend. Matthew Dean, 24, part of the customer service team, said he finds it easier and faster to deal with customers on a busy day.

“Coming from a customer service background, it makes business more fluent,” said Dean. “It’s definitely easier to get people in and out because it’s a lot faster.”

Dean acknowledges the security risk that anybody can tap with a stolen debit card and get away with it.

“It’s a risk. It just depends if you’re willing to take it. It’s kind of like thinking convenience over security. Which route would you rather go?” he said.

Customer Leslie Manley recently paid her first visit to Mad Radish and said she likes the fresh salad. She paid with her debit card because she said she earns points through her bank provider, which she can then use for groceries.

She also said she never needs to worry about whether she’ll have enough cash on hand to pay for lunch.

“I don’t have to worry, ‘Do I have enough? Do I have to go to the bank before I go out?’” Manley said.

Segal said he had his doubts about going cash-free a few years ago. However, he said that this trend has been a “real game-changer” at Mad Radish. He said he has no plans to bring back cash payments because he sees a cashless industry as the future of business.

“In five years, I don’t think this will even be a topic of conversation,” said Segal.  “It’s the way the world’s moving.”