What is better between electronic and paper meal vouchers ? Is it better not to accept any restaurant tickets? These are some of the questions that managers of bars and clubs find themselves asking themselves at a certain point in their business. With this article we will try to explain the positive and negative aspects of the meal voucher and why the electronic one has fewer disadvantages.

How does the meal voucher scheme work?

The meal voucher system in Italy was introduced in the 1970s to offer workers the possibility of having a meal paid for by the company using vouchers instead of cash. Once the meal vouchers have been received, the partner bars and restaurants must return them to the issuing companies, receiving a financial refund.

The meal voucher system represents a consolidated market , especially for establishments located in areas with many offices and services. Despite the strong demand, some managers decide not to accept tickets anymore. Let's find out why.

Why don't some people accept food stamps?

“This establishment does not accept food stamps”, a notice that is often hung in establishments that do not recognize the restaurant ticket system . The reasons for the refusal are mainly three.

1) To begin with, many meal vouchers have a nominal value , this means that the bar manager must sign a contract with the issuing company which usually provides for a reduction in the value of the vouchers. For example, a €6 ticket is discounted from 8 to 14% and the bar actually collects between €5.50 and €5.20.

2) From an economic point of view, another aspect makes managers turn up their noses. It happens that the meal vouchers are paid to the restaurant after 2/3 months , often beyond the scheduled times. A significant aspect that many do not want to underestimate.

3) Finally, the last reason concerns the companies issuing meal vouchers which sometimes do not validate tickets with an unreadable signature or the collection document due to incorrectly written figures. In this way, there is a risk of losing the earnings that are rightfully due from the meal voucher received.

[caption id="attachment_15635" align="alignnone" width="1024"] payment at the bar with electronic meal vouchers Designed by peoplecreations / Freepik[/caption]

Why are electronic meal vouchers the solution?

On 9 September 2017, the decree of the Ministry of Economic Development introduced several substantial changes regarding meal tickets. In particular, the gradual replacement of paper vouchers with electronic meal vouchers has been arranged. The digitized system represents a good solution to the disadvantages presented so far by the paper one. Electronic meal vouchers are cards with chips, such as credit and debit cards, which facilitate the management of receipts and payments. That's how:

1) The adoption of electronic meal vouchers is encouraged with the exemption from taxes for a maximum amount of €7 per day , as opposed to the €5.29 ceiling for paper vouchers.

2) The increase in the maximum amount reduces the tendency towards cumulative use of paper vouchers, which can be used up to 8 at a time.

3) There are no more problems related to the legibility of the signature thanks to the digital traceability of electronic meal vouchers.

What are the other added benefits for those who accept tickets?

To counter the delay in payments to affiliated businesses, the Ministry of Economic Development has promised to limit the increase in additional services charged to merchants by the issuing companies.

It has also been established that meal vouchers can only be used for their entire face value . Therefore, anyone who does not spend all the voucher cannot request the rest in cash and cannot use the remainder on other occasions. The obligation to indicate the name of the holder is also revoked, but the signature remains mandatory upon delivery of the voucher.

[caption id="attachment_15637" align="alignnone" width="1024"] bartender at the bar counter with pos for electronic meal vouchers Designed by Freepik[/caption]
In conclusion, we can say that electronic meal vouchers represent a good compromise for a place that offers meals to workers. From an economic and fiscal point of view, they involve some concessions that would be favorable for the managers of bars and clubs. What do you prefer: paper or digital meal vouchers? Write us what you think in the comments.
And if your café is strong with lunches, make sure the take away service is impeccable with our advice on take away .
September 14, 2018