I NSP I RAT ION FOR TRANSFORMI NG THE BUS I NESS OF FOOD
How to Be a Courteous Restaurant Guest During COVID
COVID 19 Accelerates an Age of Automation FOR RESTAURANTS
ACCOUNTING FOR HOLIDAY GIFT CARDS BY HENRY + HORNE
THE MAGAZ I NE OF THE AR I ZONA RESTAURANT ASSOC I AT ION
Hello Holiday! The holiday season brings time for reflection on what is to come and how to gear up for a successful New Year. In this issue we share insight into the continuing impact of COVID-19 and how slight changes in your restaurant operations can set you up for success in the new year. Who’s ready to kick off 2021?!
I 6 HOW TO BE A COURTEOUS RESTAURANT GUEST DURING COVID
2 4 COVID 19 ACCELERATES AN AGE OF AUTOMATION FOR RESTAURANTS 5 2 ACCOUNTING FOR HOLIDAY GIFT CARDS BY HENRY + HORNE
Explore this global hub of industry news and commentary on food, drink, design and more.
COVID 19 ACCELERATES AN AGE OF AUTOMATION FOR RESTAURANTS 2 4 5 WAYS RESTAURANT CONSUMER TRENDS ARE SHIFTING DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC 3 2
Get to know Arizona’s food scene through stories, interviews and conversations with industry insiders.
FIVE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE OR BREAK A RESTAURANT TODAY 4 2
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 0 8
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRWOMAN I 0
Learn from the best with this business know-how guide filled with ideas, tips and resources. ACCOUNTING FOR HOLIDAY GIFT CARD BY HENRY + HORNE 5 2 SRP ROLLS OUT NEW UVGI REBATE TO HELP RESTAURANT OWNERS BREATHE EASIER 6 0
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HOW TO BE A COURTEOUS RESTAURANT GUEST DURING COVID I 6
END OF YEAR IS THE BEST TIME TO SWITCH PAYROLL PROVIDERS 6 8
President & CEO Steve Chucri
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The year did not get any easier, with continued restrictions and unsupported news stories placing a large amount of the blame for COVID-19 spread at the feet of restaurants, the industry continued to move forward focused on our customers and employees. It is important to remember that in recent years, the restaurant industry was voted as the most trusted industry in the United States, continuing to top the technology and grocery industry. This level of confidence in our industry was hard earned through unrelenting quality standards and superb customer service. This immense commitment to the profession only increased during the challenges faced in 2020. As we move into 2021, the challenges will continue, with renewed calls for more shutdowns and local governments taking ill-informed measures specifically targeting our industry. However, there is hope on the horizon. Earlier this month, the first Arizonans began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine with plans to quickly move through the priority groups and a target for general population vaccinations in the Spring. We have been successful in working with the State and local governments to increase total restaurant capacity by allowing temporary outdoor expansions and launching an advertising campaign to highlight all the safety measures our industry has taken to keep both our customers and our employees safe, and restaurants continue to adapt their operations to respond to customer demands. While we do not know what future 2021 holds for us, I am confident that our industry will emerge from this dark period stronger than ever. We have been through tough times before and while this has been the biggest challenge of my 19 years as the head of the ARA, I have no doubt we will overcome and continue to be a leading industry in Arizona.
e are an industry of resilient
and innovative people!
While it might seem mis-timed to restate the key mantra of our industry, I feel it is more important than ever to remind us that the restaurant industry is home to some of the most creative and entrepreneurial people in the world. There is no denying that 2020 has presented
our industry with the greatest challenge for generations to come. In Arizona alone, we have lost between 10 and 12 percent of our restaurants and over $2 billion in sales. Our employment levels remain well below February 2020 levels with an estimated 15 to 20 percent of our employees still displaced. Still, our restaurant community has responded with a gritty determination to continue on and find new and creative ways to serve our customers. Given the massive disruption that has taken place this year, from sporadic shutdowns, governmental restrictions, and unfair media attention, I am still incredibly proud of the way our industry responded to all the challenges thrown our way. Back in March, when our industry was shutdown with little notice and close to 200,000 employees were furloughed or had their hours drastically reduced, the first calls for help we heard from operators was not for relief for themselves but instead focused on helping our displaced workers. There are countless stories of restaurateurs opening their inventory all telling employees to take what they could carry. The ARA worked with some of the best industry partners in the world to set up the AZ Restaurant Strong Employee Relief Fund to distribute $500 dollar grants to employees. To date, this program has distributed over $338,500 to our restaurant community workers. 8
Steve Chucri President & CEO, Arizona Restaurant Association
message from the chairwoman
Feature The holidays are always a time of reflection and optimism as we head into a new year. With the first vaccines being administered this week, I am filled with hope for the future. Although we may not know exactly what 2021 will bring, we can hold our heads high and know that these past ten (10) months have prepared us for whatever challenges may come our way. We have proven ourselves to be a part of a resilient industry and I am incredibly proud to stand witness to the camaraderie, support and grace we have shown one another through these dark days. So, during these last few weeks 2020, let’s celebrate our industry and be proud of the work accomplished and those who perform it. Cheers to each and every one of you. And, wishing you all a happy, healthy Holiday Season! beyond rewarding. With so much up in the air as to what 2021 will bring, I have been asked to stay in my role as Chairwoman for another term. I have gladly accepted the invitation and look forward to the opportunity to see our industry through to the other side of this pandemic.
And, although we have been tested beyond measure this year, there are many things for which we can be grateful including the family, friends and work relationships that helped us through these sometimes long and lonely days. My role as Chairwoman of Arizona Restaurant Association has been very fulfilling in many ways that I was not expecting. I came into this role with goals and expectations for 2020 which quickly shifted by the end of the first quarter. My work with the Association in helping restaurants and our industry at large through one of the most trying years on record has been As difficult as its been, 2020 came and went in what seems like the blink of an eye.
Alicia Casale Chairwoman, Arizona Restaurant Association
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how to be a courteous guest
How to Be a Courteous Restaurant Guest During COVID, According to Phoenix-Area Servers
by Allison Young | Phoenix New Times
Here in Arizona, we’re rewriting the restaurant rules as we go — daily, and sometimes by the minute. As with any new situation, especially one as unfamiliar and unprecedented as COVID-19, that means etiquette is also evolving rapidly. So, we recently asked four Valley hospitality workers — seasoned pros from busy local establishments, a combined 44 years of experience between them — for their thoughts on etiquette in the age of COVID. They include one barista (Cheryl, not her real name), and three servers (Yvette, Zoe, and Julie). Here’s what they had to say about dining in this weird, new restaurant landscape. Should you make a reservation? Should you wait to be seated? Should you pay with cash or card? While some restaurant rules are citywide and statewide mandates (groups capped at 10 people, restaurant capacities limited to 50 percent), many restaurants have created their own in-house rules. Some are operating by reservation only, some on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some aren’t taking cash. Some have shifted to takeout only.
short-staffed and know exactly as much information as we are sharing with you.” Mask up, guys Mask rules are changing by the minute. But they work. As it currently stands, counter service and curbside customers must wear masks, restaurant patrons can take masks off when eating and drinking but should put them back on when using the restroom, and servers are to wear masks the entirety of their shift. “I wear a mask to keep you safe, please wear a mask to keep me safe,” says Zoe. Again, please be patient. “It’s definitely a bit more difficult for guests to hear me,” Julie adds, “especially trying to keep my distance from tables, which is nearly impossible.”
“Things change every single fucking day,” Yvette says. “We pivot and we change structures regularly.”
Often, these changes are posted on the restaurant’s website, social media account(s), and at the entrance. So, check ahead online. Call if you must, but keep your questions succinct. “Please remain patient and concise,” Zoe says. “Often we’re 18
Leave politics at the door Newsflash: Your server doesn’t want to talk politics.
Police yourself–Don’t make your server do it Yes, servers are there to serve and even educate you on the restaurant’s new way of doing things, but they don’t want to have to get serious. “We put blue markers on the floor so people know where to stand in line, but people aren’t following that,” Cheryl says. “My job is easier when you’re mindful of the space you’re taking up.” If you’re dining in, don’t storm ahead to the first free table you see. “Please wait for a staff member to guide you to a safe and sanitized table,” Zoe says, “unless there is clear signage stating otherwise.”
“A lot of people think COVID is a political debate, but it’s not something we’re trying to argue with people about,” says Cheryl, who works at least 40 hours a week serving customers. “I’m just trying to take your coffee order, not fight about Trump.” Servers aren’t just servers anymore Restaurants may have fewer tables and bar chairs because of social distancing rules, but servers are doing more. More hand washing, more sanitizing, and more steps in food handling. Plus, many restaurants are short on team members. “COVID added a whole other job to my job,” Cheryl says. “Not only do I have to take and make coffee orders, we’ve added curbside and phone orders, and we’re working at half the staff.” Julie agrees. “The biggest change is probably just the extra steps taken to keep our space as sanitized as possible,” she says. That means wiping down everything — sugar caddies, salt and pepper shakers — after each use and changing the sanitizer water hourly. All those extra steps add up.
Don’t whip your credit card out of your bra “People will pull their credit cards out of their bra, or cyclists will hand us cash that’s drenched in their sweat,” Cheryl says. “I don’t want your sweat.” Other payment pointers: If you want contactless payment, say so when you phone in your takeout order or order online, not when you pick it up. And have the courtesy to roll down your window for curbside. “One guy taped the money down in his trunk, which he popped when he pulled up curbside,” Yvette says. “All for a couple of cookies.”
Tip, even on to-go orders “If you’re not prepared to tip, you shouldn’t be eating out,” says Yvette, who suggests 20 to 25 percent gratuity. “The reality is, we’re not only doing a service for you, we’re literally putting our lives at risk to provide you a luxury. If the shoe were on the other foot and you were exposing yourself, you’d expect to be compensated appropriately.”
That goes for both dine-in and to-go orders.
“Keep in mind that most establishments are running with a skeleton staff,” Zoe says, “And we’re ... taking extra care in handling your to-go food.”
Yvette adds: “Tip your servers appropriately and don’t be an asshole.”
Be extra nice “People seem to be grateful that they can come in and eat and have some sort of normalcy in their life,” Julie says, adding that she’s regularly thanked by customers. A nice touch. But not all servers are feeling the love. “I’ve been doing this my whole working life, and I’ve never experienced people being so nasty to their servers,” Cheryl says. “Remember, it’s weighing on all of us.”
brush title tbd covid-19 accelerates an age of automation
COVID 19 Accelerates an Age of Automation for restaurants
by Chloe Arrojado
Kevin Takarada is founder of MakiMaki, a fast-casual sushi bar in New York City. He says being able to do more with less labor is going to be essential in the future. Even beyond the direct effects of the pandemic, he saw automation as a solution to financial problems down the road. “It’s not just, ‘We have to be able to be more safe,’” Takarada says. “We have to figure out how to make up for the lost business. Rent is still there and it’s not going away.” From the conception of the sushi concept, automation was essential in MakiMaki’s business model. Takarada created the brand’s simplified menu around processes that robots could accomplish, encouraged to utilize automation as a way to remove the inefficiencies that came with production. He estimates significant steps toward automation will be made within the next three to four years. However, the approach to adapting robots for the workplace isn’t a one-step process. “I think a lot of restaurants are starting to do their own research to see what kind of tools are out there. But we can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m going to make a robot that’s going to make a sandwich automatically,’” Takarada says. The key to finding the appropriate place for a robot is to automate the most redundant and difficult tasks. For MakiMaki, a robot that could put rice on seaweed in a consistent manner was the perfect task to automate. Other companies are
The image of a robot waiter handing food to restaurant patrons may seem like a far-off concept, belonging to the worlds of flying cars, time travel, and “The Jetsons.” But maybe the industry is more ready for the future than people think. A 2019 study by Polaris Market Research forecasted that the service robotics industry would grow to $54.4 billion by 2026, more than three times its $13.1 billion value in 2017. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic—pushing consumers to prefer sterilized surfaces over human touch—and that market potential may be way bigger. Indeed, now seems like the ideal time for restaurants to hop on the automation trend.
catching on to this approach; Takarada says robotics company Suzumo, which creates his service equipment, hit record sales from April to June. This push for a more automated workforce isn’t without its critics, especially in the sushi segment, where preparation of the cuisine is rooted in tradition. But Takarada says more sushi operators and even traditional sushi chefs are now considering such practices, and he recommends other restaurateurs do, too. “Some people say, ‘Oh, there’s no spirit in it.’ But I don’t understand where the argument is, because at the end of the day, people don’t see what happens in the kitchen,” he says. Though MakiMaki’s customer base vanished when Manhattan offices closed, the restaurant’s use of its robots before the pandemic may indicate automation’s value after. Pre-COVID, MakiMaki catered to large events in short periods of time, and the presence of robots even boosted workplace morale. Most importantly, automation helped lessen labor issues. Takarada says automation helps save the $15 hourly wage he would have to pay to additional employees, and workers can now perform more involved tasks. In addition, automation helps with the high turnover rates that plague the restaurant industry.
“If somebody quits, you have to jump in and take that position, or scramble to find somebody else and pay them a premium,” Takarada says. “You don’t have those headaches through automation, and that’s the beauty of it.” But some brands have found a way to remove the need for people altogether. Saladworks’ Sally the Robot is an automated machine created in conjunction with food technology company Chowbotics. Resembling a vending machine, customers can choose a pre-existing salad combination or make their own, which the machine then completely assembles by itself.
Eric Lavinder, vice president of licensing and franchise development at fast casual Saladworks, initiated the partnership with Chowbotics before the pandemic. The company already had a number of off-premises concepts under its belt—ghost kitchens, food halls, and food trucks, to name a few—but Lavinder was encouraged to seek out a standalone product after seeing the increasing popularity of plant-based, healthy food combined with a desire for increased customization.
“We’re always working on new, innovative things,” Lavinder says. “You’ve got to keep up with the big boys and make sure that you’re not being left behind. We’re always looking at how we can do things differently.” When the pandemic hit, high demand for Sally the Robot affirmed the value of automation for Saladworks. Multiple hospitals have displayed interest in the concept, as the machine is a sanitary way to get fresh food. Big-ticket customers, like university campuses, are also expressing interest in having their own Sallys on campus, possibly pointing to a future beyond the pandemic. Lavinder says he doesn’t see Sally the Robot as a replacement for storefronts but as a “hub-and-spoke” component to the brand’s brick-and-mortar “core.” He also thinks it will complement the labor force rather than replace it. In an era where continued growth and evolution of technology is all but guaranteed, the brand has found some success. “We know this is it. It’s going to work,” Lavinder says. “We had a three-pronged approach. Let’s try for captive audiences. Let’s try for franchisees who want to grow the brand and grow the volumes without having to build a second store. And then, from a corporate perspective, let’s find new ways of making the business work.”
shifting consumer trends
5 ways Restaurant Consumer Trends are Shifting during the coronavirus pandemic
by Fern Glazer
1. Cutting back on normal restaurant foods In July, consumers continued to be less focused on ordering items they’d typically order at full-service restaurants, such as entrée salads and seafood. Meanwhile, comfort and indulgent foods, such as pizza, burgers and fries, continued to top the list of growing foods, and shakes, carbonated soft drinks and frozen slushies continued to be the top beverages. “These foods have grown slightly in menu importance since pre-virus,” said NPD’s David Portalatin. “[The changes in eating are] less about what consumers desire and more about the structural environment … because of ease of access.”
With the coronavirus pandemic necessitating continued and ever-changing dine-in closures and pared-down restaurant menus, consumers’ eating habits are a little different in these anything-but-typical times. “People’s pre-virus rhythms have clearly been disrupted,” said David Portalatin, The NPD Group’s national food and beverage analyst. According to NPD, consumers reported in July that 63% of their eating occasions during the COVID-19 outbreak have been atypical, meaning they’re eating and sourcing foods and beverages outside of their normal routines. The big picture? Consumers are attracted to restaurant foods that are accessible and that offer comfort or stress relief amid uncertain times. Some are eating different foods than before. Some are choosing off-premise options, whereas before they may have preferred to dine in. Still others are shifting the time of day they prefer to eat out, with a surprising daypart performing best in the second quarter.
Here are the five ways consumers having been eating.
2. Letting health and wellness fall by the wayside During the pandemic, consumers have gotten away from some of their health and wellness habits, NPD found. For example, in July, 3% of restaurant orders included a side salad, down from 4% a year ago. Similarly, in July, 2.6% of restaurant orders included a non-fried vegetable, down from 3.3% from a year ago. Additionally, consumers are putting a hold on dieting. American adults’ participation in total diet or nutrition programs dropped to 43.8% in April 2020, down from 48.3% in April 2019, according to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Service. However, participation in specialty diets, such as keto, remained unchanged in April from a year ago.
3. Driving alcoholic beverage sales Overall, consumers have increased their consumption of alcohol during the pandemic. And, with regulations relaxed all across the country, more consumers have been getting those alcoholic beverages to go from restaurants. “Consumers have responded very well to those operators who have started selling beverage alcohol [for carryout],” Portalatin said. In spite of that, NPD found that consumers are still sourcing the majority of their alcohol from retail outlets. In July, 4% of restaurant orders included beverage alcohol, down from 6% a year ago.
4. Choosing drive-thru In the quarter ended June 2020, 42% of all restaurant transactions occurred at a drive-thru, an increase of 26% over year ago. “The kinds of foods at the drive-thru continue to be popular,” Portalatin said. “We’re seeing operators thinking of new stores designed to optimize digital ordering and carryout … thinking of adding double drive-thrus.”
5. Eating most in the afternoon The afternoon snack occasion performed better than any other daypart in the quarter ended June, NPD found. Traffic during the afternoon meal occasion was down just 15% over year ago, while overall industry traffic was down 24%. “There was a shift toward a little bit of indulgence, a little bit of stress relief,” said Portalatin. “It contributes to the overall fluidity we had been seeing pre-virus.”
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Five Things That Can Make or Break A Restaurant Today
by Wilson K Lee | Forbes Councils Member
As we all continue to situate ourselves and our businesses within the new normal, we’re still learning new ways to adapt and succeed. From my 10 years in the restaurant industry building my own international dessert chain, I know that change is inevitable, and it’s how you handle these changes that dictates your success . In my current business mentoring new restaurateurs, I regularly speak with owners to understand the issues they face and learn from their solutions. Over the past few months, I’ve determined the top five things that are making or breaking food and beverage businesses today:
1. Perception As restaurant owners, you have to keep tabs on all aspects of your operation to ensure things are running smoothly. This is especially the case with pandemic safety measures. While rules differ from location to location, businesses everywhere have been forced to comply with government-imposed regulations across the board. Things like face masks/shields, gloves, dividers and digital menus have become standard for the service industry. While you may feel certain that you’re taking all the necessary precautions, you might be taking this confidence for granted. It’s important to remember that your customers only know the information you present to them. To ensure a continued steady stream of customers, you must do everything in your power to show customers that you’re using safe, proper hygiene. You can even highlight the steps that you’re taking on your social media. This transparency will build trust and confidence that customers won’t soon forget.
3. Cost Of Goods Regardless of the circumstances, knowing your cost of goods sold (COGS) is always integral to restaurant success. Profit margins in the restaurant industry are already slim, leaving no room for error. If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t possibly know if you’re losing or making money selling your products. In lots of places, suppliers and staff still aren’t at the capacity they used to be. A great way to compensate for these cost disruptions is to create limited menus for the foreseeable future that only feature easy-to-make offerings with high margins. If you’re partnering with any third-party delivery services, make sure to account for their fees when pricing your items.
2. Delivery Since the pandemic began, food delivery has become the saving grace and primary revenue stream for many food and beverage businesses. The restaurants that already had these systems in place were able to stay open when dine-in was largely shut down across the world. One way to make sure you have the upper hand when it comes to delivering your food or beverage offerings is by implementing your own delivery system. This could be via your website, phone or both. Even if you only have the infrastructure for takeout ordering, having your own service allows you to break free from the control and hefty fees of third-party apps. Your customers will want to support you over the huge corporations, saving you money in the long run.
4. Quality The fourth thing that could make or break your business now more than ever is food quality. This is especially the case in markets that have restricted dine-in business. Without the ability to wow customers with your chic interior design, unique ambiance or outstanding customer service, your food and beverage offerings really have to deliver a consistent and memorable experience. This goes beyond the taste and texture. With takeout and delivery dominating the restaurant industry, ensuring your offering is well-packaged and stays fresh for up to 20-40 minutes is just as important. This is why some establishments have created special delivery-only menus of items that are sure to travel well.
5. Income Diversity As I’m sure you’ve already realized, diversifying your revenue streams is integral for success in today’s market. Alternatives to dine-in are a necessity. Even if your business already has robust takeout and delivery systems in place, there are even more ways to make sure that your restaurant business is future-proof. Things like meal kits, recipe books and standalone products like your famous sauce, drink or dessert all help increase your income options. Anything that’s sure to bring up your average order value is a good idea. If you have the resources, make these items available for purchase and pickup/delivery on your website. This not only scales your business but also builds up your brand — both things that are very attractive to investors looking to franchise or buy. While not an exhaustive list, these are the five aspects of your restaurant business most likely to dictate your success living in the “new normal.” Pandemic aside, maintaining your public perception, building out your delivery service, knowing your COGS, ensuring quality food offerings and diversifying your income streams are always wise business decisions.
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accounting for holiday gift cards
HENRY + HORNE CORNER
Accounting for Holiday Gift Cards
by Brian Campbell, CPA | Henry + Horne
It’s holiday season! Pandemic shutdowns have left people desperate for social interactions, making a dinner out a hot holiday gift. With a vaccine on the near horizon, restaurants struggling with COVID shutdowns and decreased traffic can supplement lost income and bounce into the post COVID economy with the sales of gift cards. There are two popular types of gift cards - promotional gift cards and gift cards sold through a 3rd party, such as Costco. Each have unique methods of properly accounting. Promotional gift cards look something like “buy a $100 gift card and receive a free $25 promotional gift card”. This type of promotional gift card is treated like a coupon and the discount of the promotional dollar value is taken as a reduction in revenue upon redemption. Any costs associated with these promotional cards need to be expensed as incurred. Upon issuance of these promotional gift cards, there is no liability recognized as no cash was received so no amounts need be recorded in your general ledger. However, I would recommend that for good internal controls in tracking, accounting and reconciling that a separate gift card number sequence is used for tracking these types of promotional gift cards and an accounting entry is made. The accounting entry would be to record the promotional gift cards as a liability with an offsetting contra liability for the 54
same amount. Upon redemption of the promotional gift cards, revenue is recorded, and the promotional gift card liability is relieved along with the contra liability which needs to be recorded as a discount resulting in net revenue of zero. Regarding breakage revenue for unredeemed promotional gift cards, since no cash was received upon sale there would be no breakage revenue to recognize. However, for good internal controls, it is recommended that these promotional gift cards have expiration dates and when they reach the expiration date the liability and contra liability is removed from the general ledger. If no expiration date is provided, then judgment on when the promotional gift cards will no longer be redeemed may need to be used to determine when to remove the liability and contra liability amounts.
Now, let’s consider gift cards sold through a 3rd party. Let’s say your restaurant has sold $100 gift cards to Costco for $70 per gift card. Costco will, in turn, sell these gift cards for $80 per gift card, but that has no bearing on how to account for these transactions. As mentioned above, a separate sequence of gift card numbers will need to be implemented for these gift cards sold through a 3rd party to properly track, account and reconcile this liability. Similar to the accounting for promotional gift cards, when these gift cards are sold to Costco you need to record a liability for $100 and a contra liability for $30. When the gift card is redeemed in your restaurant, you will record revenue of $100 and relive the gift card liability for $100 and then record a discount of $30 relieving the contra liability for $30 resulting in net revenue of $70, which is equal to the cash you received when the gift card was sold to Costco. Regarding breakage revenue for unredeemed gift cards, you must first determine each state’s escheatment laws to identify when unredeemed gift card dollars need to be remitted to the states. After considering escheatment laws, if amounts of unredeemed gift cards remain, gift cards should be analyzed for proper breakage that can be recognized as revenue in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
The key to accounting for these transactions lies with instituting a strong set of internal controls. The internal controls implemented need to ensure that there is proper tracking of each type of gift card with its own unique sequence of numbers. Then, a proper monthly reconciliation process needs to be implemented to ensure the gift numbers outstanding have been reconciled to 3rd party reports and/or internal POS reports tracking gift card numbers that have been redeemed. The resulting reconciled list of outstanding gift card numbers will represent the amounts of gift cards that need to agree to the liability and contra liability amounts recorded in the general ledger. For assistance in implementing internal controls over your gift cards, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our restaurant professionals.
Cost Savings Post COVID-19 How can you save costs while re-opening your dining rooms? In talking to restaurant owners, one way they are thinking about saving costs is to re-engineer menu items to eliminate waste. What type of food ends up in the garbage that customers do not eat? Is it a side of bread and butter or maybe a pickle? Not including these items as part of the menu will add up and save on food costs. Also, consider creating menu items that use similar or cross-utilize ingredients that may help reduce food waste. Another way to reduce costs is to create a menu with items that are not as complicated to make. This will result in fewer kitchen staff as there may be less steps in food preparation. The above ideas will depend on your business but take a look at your menus and staffing levels and get creative!
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srp rolls out new uvgi rebate
SRP Rolls Out New UVGI Rebate to Help Restaurant Owners Breathe Easier
by Kathleen Mascareñas
As the restaurant industry recovers from one of the most devastating events to hit the trade in recent memory, Salt River Project (SRP) — a local, not-for-profit power and water provider — hopes to help entrepreneurs rebound quicker and safer. In response to COVID-19, SRP is now offering a new rebate to help all commercial customers reduce airborne viruses. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms including common coronaviruses. When applied within heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, UVGI can help disinfect the air and may be a useful facility upgrade to any building size. The rebate provides $30 per ton of HVAC and must be installed in the supply air stream or at the HVAC coils. “I heard of another utility out east offering a similar program and we also felt it was important to help our customers address safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joseph Degraft-Johnson, SRP senior market research analyst. “It is especially important to make it easier for our customers to pay for this safety measure as businesses carefully navigate reopening their dining establishments, schools and fitness centers.”
UVGI would be in addition to, not in replacement of recommended universal precautions that can reduce the spread of the coronavirus such as routinely and frequently cleaning or disinfecting surfaces in the facility. To learn more about the UVGI HVAC rebate, businesses should visit www.savewithsrpbiz.com/uvgi . To find a certified HVAC contractor, call SRP at (602) 236-3054 with any questions, or visit savewithsrpbiz.com .
“Indoor air quality is of primary importance, so most guidelines suggest introducing a significant amount of outside air to help dilute the indoor air. We recognized this as an effective, but energy-intensive solution considering Arizona’s summer temperatures. We also recognized an influx of untested and unproven air filtration systems claiming to be effective against the COVID-19 virus,” said Mike Green, SRP senior business customer program manager. “We worked with our program partners and identified UVGI as an effective and proven technology that’s supported by multiple rigorous peer-reviewed studies and been used in the healthcare HVAC systems for decades.” The UVGI lamps are installed within the HVAC ductwork to help damage airborne viruses and bacteria while they are in range of the UVGI light. SRP created the rebate to provide a solution to its customers. In addition, SRP offers a range of energy efficiency and electrification choices to help business customers save energy and money. Reduced energy costs, technical assistance and project incentives are available through SRP’s Standard, Small Business, and Custom rebate solutions and Electrification rebates . Business customers can also contact their SRP Strategic Energy Managers, whose number can be found on their monthly invoice.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SRP is offering a new rebate for an HVAC system upgrade that can help make shared spaces safer. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) uses ultraviolet light to disinfect the air. Learn more about the technology, and how you can install it for less, at savewithsrpbiz.com/uvgi .
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End of Year Is the Best Time to Switch Payroll Providers
by Heartland Payment Systems
Thinking about switching payroll providers? A quarter of small business owners are shopping for a payroll provider near the end of the year. Some are fed up with the bad service they’ve received. Others are frustrated by payroll platforms not integrated with their business’s software and hardware. Maybe a vendor’s lack of attention has resulted in costly errors and penalties. Or perhaps a business owner is just tired of doing payroll with everything else on his/her plate. Whatever your reason, the New Year is the best time to make a change. Why? At the start of the New Year, there’s no historical data to migrate from your old system into your new one. You also don’t have to go through the hassle of collecting all your year- to-date and quarter-to-date information from your old provider. Changing providers at the beginning of the year allows your new payroll company to hit the ground running with a clean slate. For a smooth transition, be sure your last pay date of the year is with your old provider, and your first pay date of the year is with your new provider. For example, if you have a pay period ending in December 2020, with a pay date in January 2021, that cycle should be with your new provider since it will be reported on your 2021 W-2s. Your previous provider will prepare the 2020 W-2s. Remember, payroll taxes are based on when wages are paid, not when employees work.
Also, don’t forget to take care of a few vital tasks before you make the switch: • Produce copies of all your financial records from your old payroll company such as employee information and tax records. • Prepare tax filings from your previous provider that include Q4 2020 quarterly, 2020 annual, and 2020 W-2s. • Prepare basic business information for your new provider, such as your Federal and State Employer Identification Numbers and bank account details.
• Is the payroll system easy to use? You want an intuitive platform that eliminates data entry duplication. It should also be cloud-based, with a simple to navigate dashboard that allows you to view and automate activities, and generate pre-built reports. • Is the payroll system integrated? Does it connect payroll, hiring, time and HR to streamline back-office operations? Is it able to exchange data with accounting services, worker’s compensation, 401(k) and more? • Will the payroll service keep you compliant? Protect your business. Seek easy access to certified HR professionals who can provide personalized guidance on HR issues, labor laws and federal, state and industry regulations. • Is the payroll provider experienced and reputable? Find out how long a provider has been serving the payroll/HR community, and how many active customers it has. Ensure you’ll have access to a dedicated service representative who understands your business, serves as an extension of your team, and is your single point of contact for all of your needs.
You can certainly switch payroll providers after January, but you’ll have more information to transfer and the added complication of whether it’s the former or current payroll provider’s responsibility to perform certain tasks. That brings us to the most important question – what should you look for in a new payroll provider? Not all providers offer the same level of service. Before you officially make the switch, ask the following questions: • What payroll features are provided? Go beyond processing payroll. Source a service that can help you with HR, recruiting and onboarding, time and attendance, and benefits administration – today and as your business grows.
Payroll is far too important to stay with an unsatisfactory provider. If you’ve been toying with the idea of outsourcing payroll or changing providers, now is a good time to pull the trigger.