The National Restaurant Association, state restaurant associations and Heartland Payment Systems are forming a strategic partnership that will deliver the first-ever unified payments processing platform to the restaurant industry, according to a joint statement. This alliance will provide restaurateurs nationwide with effective tools, solutions and resources that will help them reduce their expenses, improve operations and increase profitability — all from one source, with integrated technology product platforms.
Sanford Brown, chief sales officer for Heartland, one of the nation's largest payment processors, said credit card processing fees can be the second highest expense of some businesses. Add to that the complexity of wading through different banks and institutions' ambiguous markups, and the need for a simplified platform has become apparent.
"While we have a suite of services that we have collectively evaluated to fit restaurateurs' needs, we will add more," he said. "We could handle one portion or the entire portion of (a restaurant's) payment space." 
The  NRA and Heartland's partnership, deemed "Full Course Business Solutions," is initially launching with an exclusively endorsed suite of payments products — including card processing, payroll, check management, and tip reporting and compliance services. This suite of solutions is supported by Heartland's national sales and servicing organization of 1,800 professionals located in communities across America and its 1,600 service, information technology and administrative employees.
"The NRA has a very unique opportunity as an independent third party whose primary mission is to use their platform to make their (members) smarter," Sanford said. "Ultimately that translates to our willingness to provide more competitive pricing for restaurant (operator-members) who choose to participate in the suite of products we've jointly partnered on. The NRA is also involved in looking at products we have, to help guide us how to structure those offerings to fit the financial needs of restaurants across country."
"We are pleased to announce our partnership with industry leader Heartland Payment Systems and offer this valuable suite of products to our members," said David Gilbert, chief operating officer, NRA, and executive director, National Restaurant Association Solutions. "Saving time and money is critical to every operator, and Heartland's products will help boost our members' profitability. In addition to best-in-class products, Heartland's nationwide staff will provide unparalleled service and support."

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