When a Melbourne butcher decided to go cashless it seemed like a huge risk, but Cannings Free Range Butchers demonstrated that top-level hygiene and faster service attracts the right customers.

When you think of a traditional butchers there are certain labels that come to mind. Animal welfare, environmental sustainability and cashless payments are usually not at the top of that list. But when Sam Canning opened his own butcher shop Cannings Free Range Butchers five years ago, he was determined to do things his own way.

“I’m in a very privileged position, where my business can make a big difference,” Canning said.

When working in London he was exposed to the “paddock to plate style” that fuses animal-friendly farming with boutique retail to achieve better products and customer experience.

“I love and respect animals, so it was an easy decision of mine to sell free-range produce only. Some people think that’s strange – a butcher who cares about animal welfare – but I don’t get that,” he said.

For this reason, Cannings sells only meat that come from a free range, cage-free natural farming and that has not been treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. But for Cannings the green commitment does not stop with the product.

All shops are powered with 100% renewable energy from Hydro Tasmania and plastic bags and polystyrene containers are a thing of the past.

With these measures and a strict commitment to recycle all waste from cardboard to fat and bone, the business was able to completely offset their carbon footprint.

The biggest revolution however, was initiated when Cannings decided to go completely cashless in August last year.

Although about a quarter of his customers would routinely pay with cash, Canning could see how the benefits outweigh the concerns about losing customers. The most compelling reason to abandon cash is hygiene. Money, as in coins and notes is a petri dish of pathogens like E.Coli, Shingella or Staphylococcus bacteria.

It requires extreme care and time-consuming procedures for butchers to keep their hands clean when handling cash. Cashless transaction time is considerably faster than money handling and reduces the transaction time from up to one minute to five seconds with Tap & Go.

E-payments reduce administrative processes such as accounting significantly as all transactions are captured and recorded when they occur eliminating errors such as short-changing or overcharging.

“I have at least 30 minutes extra in my day now because I don’t have to do the daily cash run to the bank,” Canning said.

He also used to have a troubled time balancing the till with a mix of card and cash payments at the end of the day.

“Now, there the daily transactions are completely transparent and accurate to the cent,” he said.

The cashless revolution was made possible after Visa Card, point of sale specialist Wedderburn, and EFTPOS provider Tyro Payments joined forces to present a comprehensive solution.

“Tyro was also very supportive of the whole project and has implemented a truly seamless and convenient payment experience,” he said.