Future of Payments
August 3, 2023

Effective Cash Handling for Your Restaurant

Cash management poses significant challenges for restaurant operators. Even managers with established cash handling procedures spend a considerable amount of time counting money, cross-checking receipts, and maintaining meticulous records, which is time taken away from delivering a five-star customer experience. To ensure an adequate amount of cash for tip pooling and making change, restaurant managers may find themselves making multiple trips to the bank each week. These cash-related responsibilities add to the already demanding workload of running a full-service restaurant, highlighting the need for effective cash management strategies.

Cash handling procedures restaurants should follow 

All general managers and owners of full service restaurants should establish cash control policies. Best practices for cash handling include:

  • Limiting cash access: Limit the number of employees with access to cash and restrict access to authorized personnel only. This policy helps prevent unauthorized individuals from mishandling or stealing cash.
  • Securing cash: Safely store cash in locked cash drawers or safes throughout the day to prevent theft. Regularly deposit excess cash into a secure drop safe or a locked bank bag to minimize the amount of cash on-site.
  • Regular cash reconciliation: Perform frequent cash reconciliations to ensure that the amount of cash in the register matches the recorded sales. This should be done at the beginning and end of each shift and documented in a logbook or digital tracker.
  • Cash register accountability: Implement a system that holds cashiers accountable for the cash in their registers. This can include requiring cashiers to sign off on the starting and ending cash amounts, conducting surprise cash register audits, and investigating any discrepancies promptly. Such measures promote transparency and discourage cash mishandling.

Additional cash control policies to limit theft and fraud

Even with a trusted team, the risk of theft remains fairly high, particularly when registers are opened multiple times a day. Here are a few additional policies to protect against missing money:

  • Security cameras: The appearance of security cameras may be enough to deter a would-be shoplifter or less trustworthy employee from attempting to steal goods or cash. Make sure that cameras are visible so that it is clear that security protocols are in place. 
  • Add supervisor checks: Create a policy that bills exceeding a certain amount must be evaluated by supervisors to determine no counterfeit money is exchanged. Larger bills should also go directly into a safe spot rather than leaving them in the cash register.
  • Bond employees: Some businesses choose to add insurance that offers financial coverage for fraudulent activities.
  • Background checks: Restaurants frequently face high turnover rates and may inadvertently overlook candidate screening. To maintain security and trust, it is crucial to prioritize background checks and complete reference calls, especially for employees entrusted with handling substantial amounts of cash.

Benefits of cashless tipping solutions

For restaurant operators looking to minimize the amount of cash-on-hand, cashless tipping offers a trackable and automated solution. Cashless tipping enables full-service restaurants to instantly send tips, mileage reimbursements, or other one-off payments to employees after each shift. It is a safe and effective way to ensure that employees receive their tips with minimal hassle.

Restaurant Management Co. of Wichita Inc (RMC) is one of the largest Pizza Hut franchisees in the nation. Hal Wes McCoy, Family Business Owner at RMC, shared his positive experience with cashless disbursements through Branch, which enables him to send fast, digital tips and mileage reimbursements to employees as soon as they end their shifts. Through this cash alternative, McCoy has significantly reduced the time spent making change and monitoring cash flow.

McCoy explains, "As people increasingly used digital forms of payment in our stores, paying out drivers with cash at the end of the night made managing cash on hand much more difficult...Using Branch has alleviated our concerns."

By adopting and implementing these cash control measures and embracing cashless tipping solutions, restaurants can significantly enhance their cash management practices. These strategies will enable restaurant operators to establish tighter control, effectively minimize errors, and bolster financial accountability. Most importantly, implementing these cash handling policies gives managers and employees more time back to provide exceptional customer experiences.

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