Until a few years ago, cash management was a challenge for Lulu’s, a three-unit coastal restaurant chain in the Southeastern U.S. owned by Lucy Buffet, sister of famed musician Jimmy Buffet. Like most other full-service restaurants, Lulu’s managers had to manually calculate and distribute cash tips in addition to calculating and delivering deposits to the bank. However, that all changed when the brand invested in Loomis’s SafePoint smart safe solutions.
Not only does the smart safe system streamline end-of-shift cash management, but it also eliminates the need for managers to make risky bank runs.
“We liked that Loomis credited money to our bank account at the end of the night whether cash had been picked up and deposited at the bank that day or not,” says Gerald Tipton, president and partner of Lulu’s. “The safe also kept the cash secure until the carrier could come pick it up.”
While Tipton says this helped improve security and generated time savings for Lulu’s managers and employees, the brand still had one major cash challenge: paying out tips.
“We had always paid out credit card tips with cash,” Tipton says. “We’d give servers whatever cash we owed them and then kept the rest for a deposit, but that wasn’t safe, because servers had to walk out into the parking lot with cash on them.”
Additionally, Tipton says, Lulu’s frequently had to order cash deliveries in order to ensure they had enough cash on hand to pay out tips. It also took managers time to calculate how much cash was owed to servers each night and distribute it to each server. Meanwhile, employees who earned most of their income from tips had to plan their own bank trips to deposit money before bills were due, which was challenging if they finished a shift late at night after banks closed.
Tipton says the process was becoming so burdensome that the brand was considering rolling tips into the paycheck cycle, which would simplify the process but force employees to wait days or weeks to access their earnings when they were used to getting paid daily. Instead, Lulu’s found an alternative that would boost the restaurant chain’s efficiency without making payment more difficult for employees: Kickfin, an easy-to-use, instant employee payment platform that when combined with Loomis’s SafePoint solution, can solve multiple cash-related issues at once.
Rather than require restaurants to pay tips out in cash or make employees wait for paychecks, Kickfin helps managers calculate tips based on rules incorporated into the system and then digitally releases payment to employees’ bank accounts in seconds, regardless of what time a shift ends so that tips are available in their personal accounts before they even walk out the door.
“Before trying it, I was concerned about whether our employees would have access to their tips during weekends and holidays,” Tipton says. “But it’s worked perfectly, and our employees get a notification that they’ve been paid before they even leave the restaurant, whether it’s 10 at night or Labor Day.”
Tipton says that not only have Lulu’s employees enjoyed having quick, secure access to cash, but he says that combining Loomis’s SafePoint system with Kickfin has also generated payroll savings for the brand.
“Our managers used to spend 15–30 minutes per shift counting out drawers and paying out tips,” Tipton says. “And now, our cash and our employees are safe, and that’s the most important thing.”
To learn more about how you can better manage your brand’s cash and tips, visit loomis.us/kickfin.