April 2, 2021

Four Restaurant Expenses You Can Pay With A Corporate Expense Card

by Jillian Straw

In the restaurant world, having a petty cash fund on hand is a way of life. Expenses pop up out of nowhere and are difficult to predict because of that. 

However, for multi-location restaurants and groups, this can quickly get out of hand. Untracked expenses, transactions that are missing receipts, and unapproved spend quickly becomes nightmare fuel for a controller when closing the books at the end of a quarter. 

Not to mention, having too much cash on hand can be a problem in and of itself. It opens you up to the possibility of theft as well as the chance of becoming over reliant on last minute (generally more expensive) purchases that should be categorized correctly with the necessary receipt alongside them.

Being able to use a card for last minute, or even pre-scheduled purchases, is a beautiful idea but up until recently was largely unattainable for restaurants. That’s changing however, with a new breed of expense cards that make it easier for controllers to issue cards with a click of a button. 

Below we’ll go through four all-too-common situations in restaurants that are quickly resolved with an expense card as opposed to your trusty envelope of cash tucked away in the office.

Scenario 1: Last Minute Purchases

A 12 top just placed an order of fish for the entire table. You got nearly cleaned out during lunch and the dinner service just started. There’s no way your regular seafood vendor is going to send an emergency supply of fish to cover the rest of service. 

What do you do?

Your first option would be to raid the petty cash fund and send your chef out to pick up a pack of Alaskan pollock from Bi-rite. It’s a bit expensive, but it’ll get you through the day. Chef gets back with the fish, and all is well for the remainder of your service. That is, until you do the accounting at the end of the month and see an unexplained transaction with no receipt. 

Solution: Use a physical expense card like Ottimate’s Spend Management Card to pay for time-sensitive purchases. 

Using a spend card automatically logs the purchase with the market’s name and the purchase would have been noticed right away showing that fish had been bought.  Rules could have been in place to code purchases from that known vendor automatically, and the confusion would have been more or less avoided. Other rules could include immediately prompting you to upload the receipt in your hand, giving you less time to lose it.

Scenario 2: Running Marketing Campaigns To Promote Your Restaurant

Business is down this week, and you’re not getting much foot traffic. It’s still early enough in the month, so you can afford to spend some money on a couple of Yelp promos, some instagram ads, and maybe some Google Adwords. 

You talk to your marketing manager and they start work on some campaigns. However, there’s a hiccup; Facebook needs a card on file to run campaigns. You have a choice of either a) using your debit card, or b) applying for or using a corporate credit card. 

There’s a problem though; most banks won’t issue a corporate credit card unless it’s personally guaranteed by you, or there’s a minimum bank balance. Using a debit card is risky due to the risk of fraud. You could use your personal credit card and submit a reimbursement request to your CFO. Both seem unpalatable. 

Solution: Use an virtual, reloadable expense card for marketing spend

If you have a virtual, reloadable, card associated with these ad accounts you never have to worry about a pause in your marketing efforts. Logging on to Ottimate’s Spend Management portfolio and requesting a new card takes moments, with no dreaded “business day” counting. After all, restaurants do not work on standard business days. This means that you’d be able to request and access an updated card for marketing purchases when you actually need it. 

An added bonus here is that you don’t have to worry about using the same card for every business purchase- your marketing card is just your marketing card. The funds exist and are preallocated for this expense, disallowing any purchases outside of specific vendors.

Scenario 3 – Paying Recurring Expenses 

Every month the rent is due. We all know this and spend the necessary time it takes to write out a check and mail it to the landlord. But, what happens if that check never makes it? Or if the landlord decides to wait a few weeks to deposit the money, leaving you trying to balance figurative numbers while checking your bank account with every purchase.

Solution: Use recurring, reloadable expense cards for utility payments

Virtual cards can be created to different requirements, with different specific card numbers but all pulling funds from the same account. This means that once you create a Monthly Recurring virtual card for your rent, let’s say $1,500 and those funds will automatically be allocated to that card once the transaction is made.

Your landlord could run the card immediately and have the funds deducted from the card- and you can be sure your statements are accurate and you know what you have left to budget with.

Scenario 4: Emergency Repair Services

You’re between your lunch and dinner services. It’s toward the end of the month and your hood cleaners are on their way over for the monthly cleaning. Your grill has cooled down in preparation and there are no more customers coming in for the next few hours.

Everything seems to be set until they hand you the bill. Usually you pay by card but this time the cleaner says the payment didn’t go through. Management has already told you not to pay bills over a certain amount with cash but you need the grill hood serviced, and this is well over that price.

Solution: Create one-time expense cards for emergency repairs, with a single click. 

The cool thing about virtual, or even physical cards issued through Spend Management is that banking hours basically don’t exist- and I mean that in the best way possible. Given the proper access, you would be able to log on to your account and add funds easily. All of the control is at your fingertips and the worry is gone.

Ottimate’s Spend Management empowers fast-growing and multi-location restaurant groups issue expense cards with a single click, online. With 1-day settlement, keep track of spend in near real-time.

To learn more, book a consultation with our team today! 

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