Apr 10 , 2021

Diners on outing in Addis Abeba now have the option not to carry cash when they wine and dine at one of Lime Tree restaurant's three joints. They will be issued with Lime Tree Family Card, a collaboration between Serenade Venture Plc and Dashen Bank, the 25-year old financial institution serving a two-million clientele base.

Implemented through the Amole digital payment system, developed by Moneta Technologies, the Lime Tree Family Card was brought up by Dashen's technical team and took a month to complete. It allows holders to pay for services offered at any of the locations in Addis Abeba.

The Lime Tree Family Card is the second gift card option launched by Dashen Bank, after its median partnership with two MIDROC Group subsidiaries: Queens Supermarket and Addis Home Depot, in October 2020.

Dashen prepared the card to foster the creation of a cashless economy and expand the scope of digital payments in the country, according to the Bank's management.

"We aren't hoping to get much profit from the card system," Kassaye Eshetu, director of the Alternate Channels Department at Dashen, told Fortune. "We're trying to lift the inconveniences people face while using cash payment systems."

An area the Bank identified where there is an opportunity to push for cashless transactions is with players in the restaurant industry, such as Lime Tree, owned by Serenade Venture Plc and known for its vegetarian and Mediterranean dishes. Lime Tree also has a partnership agreement with the Queens Supermarket franchise; five months ago, the restaurant opened a branch at the Queens location in the Nani Building, near Mesqel Square.

The company was registered with one million Birr in paid-up capital in 2004, under Takele Michael. The major shareholder, however, is Yasser Bagersh, a chef and member of the Bagersh family, a prominent family with a network of businesses such as Bagersh Coffee, Book World and Cactus Advertising. Serenade provides thousands of meals a day to places like East Africa Bottling's Coca-Cola plant, Heineken and Awash Winery.

Yasser hopes to see 10,000 customers sign up within the next three months.

The contactless card was launched last week and customers now have the option of paying for their meals by swiping their card on the tablets provided at Lime Tree. It was inaugurated with unique loyalty programmes to encourage use: two types of cashback offers and the chance to win a free ticket to Dubai upon fulfilling certain requirements.

The first cashback proposition, standard level, allows customers to get back five percent upon buying or getting the card as a gift. The second, premium level, offers 10pc back when they conduct 52 transactions, each with a minimum value of 100 Br, annually.

Customers are not required to have accounts with Dashen Bank to use these cards. With only a phone number and a minimum deposit of 500 Br, they can sign up at any of the Bank's 20 pre-selected branches or any Lime Tree location. Once registered, customers can enjoy recharging services at any Dashen branch in the capital.

Dashen Bank netted 1.54 billion Br in profit over the last fiscal year, making up 11pc of the total profit registered by the 16 private commercial banks during the 2019/20 fiscal year.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 10,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1093]

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