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MAG Membership News: There is no "I" in "Payments" (MAG Quarterly- Volume Six, Issue One)

Dunkin Team - newsletter
By Gina Powers, Assistant Treasurer, Dunkin/ Brands, Inc. and the Dunkin' Brands Team


March 8, 2018

Collaboration is key in creating - and maintaining - a payments strategy that provides a seamless customer experience, increased efficiency and cost savings.

Dunkin' Brands is home to two of the most recognized and loved brands, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. As a nearly 100 percent franchised business model, there are more than 11,500 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in 40 countries and more than 7,600 Baskin-Robbins shops in nearly 50 countries. 

With the growth of the digital, e-commerce and mobile platforms, the need for a fully-staffed, cross functional payments team to collaborate, strategize and coordinate all the various functions that support this new technology platform has become increasingly important.  At Dunkin’ Brands, while each team has its own area of expertise and responsibility, each team must also work together cohesively to ensure a successful program.

Who are the financial experts?

The payments team within the Treasury organization at Dunkin’ Brands owns the primary relationship with the acquiring bank, the processor and the Card Brands. In addition, this team oversees the reporting of tender share, chargeback costs, interchange qualification analysis, integrity fee minimization, as well as overall accounting for the gift card program, including day to day cash reconciliation of incoming deposits from credit card sales, breakage income analysis, and gift card activations. All of these functions require a high level of financial expertise. 

But what about the mechanics of ensuring that all of these activities supporting payments actually work?

The Information Technology group is our leader when it comes to enabling restaurants to accept all forms of payment. Activities such as validating that the payment terminals in our restaurants have the right software is paramount for business continuity and success. As we continue to enhance the technologies that drive our business, IT leads the deployment of this technology into our nearly 12,000 points of distribution in the U.S. The Technology team is also responsible for working with external vendors to ensure that any broken hardware or software issues are addressed timely and they also build the systems that the Customer Service team uses to research and refund transactions. Because technology is the future, the treasury payments team and the technology experts need constant collaboration. 

What about Marketing’s role in all of this? 

Marketing is made up of experts that design the advertising campaigns we run with our Card Brand partners in an effort to increase traffic in our restaurants and drive brand awareness through the continued use of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins stored value cards. Also, while Treasury continually looks for ways to minimize costs related to functionality on the website or mobile app, Marketing is always the advocate for the consumer, striving to ensure we provide great value in the most convenient way for our always-running, on-the-go guest. 

Wait! We’re forgetting Operations and Loss Prevention. 

While Treasury, IT and Marketing are all experts in their respective fields, nothing can be put into motion without weigh-in from the Operations and Loss Prevention teams. The Operations team advises the group on what will actually work when live in a busy restaurant environment and Loss Prevention reviews various programs and updates with an eye to reducing potential fraud. For example, EMV is a tool to protect against fraud, but in a quick service restaurant, it is important to remember that we are trying to move guests through the restaurant as quickly as possible.  The crew members are experts in a busy rush: one-member rings in the order and takes payment, while another swiftly makes the coffee and packages the guest’s donuts. This process could require a complete redesign by the Operations experts in an EMV environment where the crew is waiting for the payment to finish being authorized. 

In the end, payment operations are supported cross functionally throughout Dunkin’ Brands. Maybe it’s our operations-focused culture. Maybe it’s our quick-service foundation. Or perhaps it’s Dunkin’s dedication to the philosophy that no single team can do it on their own that drives how our payments team is designed. If you want true cross-functional teamwork, hold weekly meetings with all of your stakeholders. Hold regular steering committee meetings that include leadership from each area to provide their input, so that no one functional area solely drives a decision. 

If you walk away from this article with just one thought, let it be this: Allow your cross functional experts to lead collaboratively. Put your aces in their places and allow each team that has the skillset and expertise in their respective fields to lead that portion of your business, and then bring it all together into a cohesive strategy. Not only will your team members be happier, but it will also lead to a more productive and forward-looking payments organization.