Though 2021 was marked by challenges, 2022 is already shaping up to present its own concerns. Here are a few of the complications restaurants will face in the coming year—and how to solve them.
1. Lack of Labor
Restaurants faced labor challenges prior to the pandemic, but difficulties with recruitment and employee turnover, increasing wages, and management concerns have only grown more challenging. It’s no wonder many brands have begun automating repetitive, low-value tasks to reduce costs and boost efficiency.
“The biggest issue now isn’t just the cost of labor, it’s the lack of labor,” says Lenny Evansek, senior vice president of national retail business development at Loomis. “Many companies realized they probably won’t get those employees back. GMs and assistant managers are now performing frontline worker duties in the kitchen, counter, and drive thrus. They are racing to find technology to replace talent.”
One task ripe for automation is cash management. Rather than managers manually counting drawers with staff, creating deposits, and taking those deposits to the bank, some brands are turning to smart safes, such as Loomis’ SafePoint Titan line. These safes automatically count and secure cash until an armored car picks it up, saving managers 45 minutes to an hour and a half per day while receiving provisional credit through Loomis’s partnership with hundreds of banking partners, Evansek says.
2. Challenges with In-Person Banking
Like restaurants, banks have had to reckon with the pandemic. Most have optimized their national footprint and closed many rural and suburban branches. In response, restaurant managers must drive farther or reduce the number of deposits per week to save time or change banking partners. While Evansek says it’s not uncommon for larger operators to have five or six banking relationships, it is difficult for smaller and mid-sized chains and franchises to juggle the same number of banking relationships.
Meanwhile, in an effort to streamline their own operations, many banks have also increased fees for over-the-counter deposits.
“Some restaurant operators have said their fees were raised by as much as 50–200 percent,” Evansek says. “While in the past it was often less expensive for managers take cash to the bank despite the loss of productivity, between the cost of labor rising and the increase in banking fees—which are often cheaper for virtual deposits than deposits from individual businesses—it’s now more cost- and time-effective to use a solution like SafePoint.”
3. Credit Card Fees
Though accepting cards is important, the fees credit card companies charge to process transactions are a larger drain on the bottom line than it seems.
“Credit card companies have been quoting the cost of cash as 9 percent of sales, whereas credit card fees are 2.5 percent, but that is blatantly false,” Evansek says. “With a solution like SafePoint, an operator’s cost of cash is 1 percent or lower, which is less than half the cost of credit card transactions.”
While restaurants face numerous challenges heading into the new year, automating routine tasks can help improve efficiency while helping them save money.
To learn more about automating your cash management operations for 2022, visit loomis.us/restaurants.