MODESTO — At Rancho Fresco Mexican Grill you have your pick of food, burritos, quesadillas or tacos.
You also have different options to pay for that food — cash, card, or bitcoin.
“A lot of people laughed at me when I started doing this,” Rancho Fresco owner Ismael Covarrubias said.
But Covarrubias is the one laughing now. The popularity of bitcoin has skyrocketed and his restaurant kicked off the trend in Modesto a year ago by letting customers pay with the digital currency.
“Gradually we’ve been seeing that more and more people want to pay with bitcoin,” he said.
Covarrubias says 85 percent of payments at Rancho Fresco come from credit cards. For each credit card transaction, he pays a fee. The fees can total up to $3,000 a month, but bitcoin operates like cash and cuts that fee out.
“It definitely helps because if someone pays in bitcoin, I don’t have to pay anyone anything of that bitcoin it goes directly to my business,” Covarrubias said.
The concept is still catching on at the Modesto restaurant. Only a handful of customers pay in bitcoin every week but the option is there and easy.
“We would scan it and it would automatically be withdrawn the bitcoin to my bitcoin wallet,” Covarrubias said.