You started your restaurant for a reason. Because you love the smell of sautéed garlic. Or believe no one understands a sandwich like you understand a sandwich. Maybe you watched a lot of “Cheers” in the 90s and dreamed of living out that theme song. Perhaps you just wanted to create a future for your family.
Whatever the reason, you didn’t risk everything, give everything, sacrifice everything, to spend all of your time worrying about how to make payroll or if you’ll come up short on inventory. To get you back to doing what you love, here are a few tips on how to free up cash flow and free up time:
1. Order your bookkeeping duties on the side with a quality point of sale system
You need a mini-you logging all of your sales, breaking them down into expenses and profit, documenting payment methods and repeat customers, recording your best and worst sellers, keep-ing track of your inventory, and organizing your bill payments. A quality point of sale (POS) system does that, all while generating daily reports so you never overlook another bill payment or run short of a crowd pleaser.
2. Keep your menu prices fresh
As the price of ingredients or labor costs increase, your cash flow could quickly shrink before you realize the impact. To safeguard against sneaky profit losses, make a habit of regularly re-viewing and, if necessary, adjusting your menu item prices. If an increase is needed, make sure to approach this move delicately and safeguard against price jumps that could harm your restaurant’s popularity.
3. Trim the fat of labor costs by optimizing staffing schedules
Do you know which paid staffer upsells the most? Who provides the best customer service? What staffing teams work best together? Are you scheduling people to work shifts that are the most advantageous for saving on labor costs? With an integrated POS, you can easily keep track of your staffing schedule and manage shift assignments from any Internet-enabled device, while also ensuring your customers always leave with a noteworthy customer service experience.
4. Savings is the dessert you eat later
There will always be a financial emergency coming at some unexpected - often worst possible - moment. It could be a piece of kitchen equipment calling it quits during your busy season or an unforeseen electrical outage after you’ve stocked up on perishables. Whatever it is, safeguard your business by setting aside emergency funds, which you only use for critical needs.
5. Heat up your marketing efforts with a customer database
What’s your best-selling item? Do you know? Who is your typical customer? Where do they consume their media? Your daily special may be out of this world, but you still need to tell this world about it. Hone your marketing dollars and save yourself valuable time by developing a customer database of frequent customers, as understanding where, how, and when they get their information. Once you know who and where they are, you can target them with emails, social media, and loyalty programs that will draw customers through your door time and again.
6. Pre-heat your cash reserves with a line of credit
Don’t wait until cash flow is tight and payroll is due to seek healthy financial support. There are alternative lending services outside of banks and credit unions that offer small businesses like yours 15-minute application processes online and funding within 24 to 48 hours. Reach out. Establish a relationship. Have that line of credit ready before it becomes an urgent need.