While 2020 and 2021 brought about unprecedented high sales for many quick-serve/fast casual concepts, 2022 has brought unprecedented lows. With bills to pay, loan covenants to meet and employees to retain, the pressure is mounting and where do you start? Acknowledging times are tough is the first step.
Start with these steps:
- Closely monitor food and labor.
- Where/when possible, sensibly adjust menu prices.
- Watch your 2022 budget and bring capex to a halt.
As a business owner, you should know the ideal amount of cash you need to have in the bank for your business to run comfortably. For many carry out/delivery concepts, we recommend maintaining around two weeks of sales in the bank. Of course, this depends on the time of month and time of year.
During tough times, closely monitor your cash because it is critical to weathering the storm. If you are low on cash, consider obtaining a loan or line of credit ASAP. With interest rates on the rise, this isn’t ideal; however, you will want security in knowing you have access to cash if needed. You may also consider selling any unnecessary assets such as buildings, cars, equipment etc. Have questions about debt or obtaining a loan? HORNE is here to help.
Next, be strategic about paying bills. Switch any pre or early payments to paying as close to the due date as possible. Always prioritize payroll because without people, you have no business. Next, prioritize high-interest debt and during tough times pay the minimum on low-interest debt. You may also consider restructuring your debt payments with lenders to ensure sustainability.
Another idea you may have considered is to sell your stores/business. Timing is everything and it is important not to be short-sighted or emotional in your decision making. Seek the advice of a consultant to help price the stores, and stick to your sale price when negotiations start. It’s important not to sell yourself short. Acting strategically and anticipating trends will be the differentiator between successful and unsuccessful business owners.
If you haven’t already, take advantage of any funds available through government programs, such as the employee retention credit (ERC) or SBA. There are also numerous state and local government funds available depending on your situation.
Lastly, below are some cost-cutting tips you can implement quickly:
- Find create ways to increase sales
- Reduce food waste as much as possible (make it a competition among the managers and implement a six-month incentive program),
- Power down nonessentials after closing
- Avoid lowering revenues recklessly by reducing operational costs.
Interested in learning more about combatting tough times or taking advantage of government programs? We’re here to help. Contact HORNE Franchise today.