By Angela Ihry, Heartland | Vendor Bylines —
Restaurants, especially smaller establishments, need to make the most of their IT budgets to remain profitable and competitive. One way to stretch an IT budget is with Software as a Service (SaaS) for your Point-of-Sale (POS) system.
Instead of buying a high-priced physical copy of a software platform, SaaS lets you keep that cash flow and instead pay a reasonable fixed monthly subscription rate.
Here are three benefits that make SaaS worth considering.
- Cost. Buying and maintaining software can carry significant upfront costs and additional unexpected costs down the road as solutions need maintenance or upgrades. With SaaS, you have a steady, predictable subscription fee that is much easier on your budget.
- IT support. Another way you’ll save money is through the decreased need for in-house IT support. The vendor takes on all responsibility for getting your programs set up and running, and they can usually do so in less time than a traditional installation. The vendor also handles support and maintenance – including updates – to ensure software is the most up-to-date version and that the system is secure.
- SaaS solutions are affordably scalable. SaaS solutions are scalable – ready to grow when you are, without the need to invest in high-cost, out-of-pocket software license purchases. Adding a POS terminal on the restaurant patio for the summer? Your monthly fee simply increases a small amount to cover the cost of an additional software license.
SaaS has been gaining popularity in multiple industries over the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. SaaS offers a range of benefits from lower investment costs and decreased IT burdens to easy access, integration and scalability. Merchants seeking a POS platform with the latest advantages should definitely consider adopting a SaaS model as an economical and efficient choice.
To learn more about SaaS, please contact Angela Ihry, 605-940-9861, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jessica Hussain, Aprio | Vendor Bylines —
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) could mean increased tax savings for you or your business.
WOTC is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups. WOTC is a dollar-for-dollar credit against federal income tax that is claimed on an individual owner’s tax return or C-corporation tax return. This tax credit puts actual dollars back into the pockets of business owners that can be used to invest back into the business, purchase capital expenditures or, in the case of an individual taxpayer, utilize for personal purposes.
Overview of the WOTC
The WOTC is available to employers who hire those in one or more targeted groups:
- IV-A recipients
- Qualified veterans
- Designated community residents
- Vocational rehabilitation referrals
- Summer youth employees
- Food stamp recipients
- SSI recipients
- Long-term family assistance recipients
- Long-term unemployed (new for 2016)
The tax credit can be $1,200 to $9,600 per qualified employee, depending on the target group. The credit limit is per employee, so if you have five employees that qualify under a target group, you would receive the credit amount times five.
The credit depends on the target group, wages paid to an employee and the number of hours worked in the first year of employment.
In order to qualify for the tax credit, you will have to obtain one of the following items on or before a new employee’s first day: 1) certification from a designated agency that confirms the employee falls into one of the targeted groups or 2) an employee’s signature on Pre-Screening Form 8850. This form is due to the Designated Local Agency (DLA) within 28 days of hiring a new employee.
What aspects of WOTC have changed?
Recently, WOTC was extended and expanded by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). The tax credit can now be retroactively applied to wages paid to an employee who begins work before Jan. 1, 2020, and was expanded to include a new target category, the long-term unemployed.
Under the PATH Act, a qualified long-term unemployment recipient is any individual who is certified as being in a period of unemployment which is not less than 27 consecutive weeks and includes a period in which the individual was receiving unemployment compensation. The addition of long-term unemployed to the targeted groups required the WOTC Prescreening Form 8850 to be updated so that employers could request certification for this new group.
How does the WOTC extension and expansion impact you?
The extension of the WOTC eligibility period to Dec. 31, 2019 gives employers additional opportunities to receive federal tax credits for hiring certain employees.
An employer’s existing hiring practices can be easily updated to include the WOTC screening process. You’ll need your new employee to complete a questionnaire either online or over the phone to determine if they are eligible for a WOTC. A quality payroll company will already have this process in place, which alleviates the burden from the employer.
If you have an existing process in place to determine if a new employee is WOTC eligible, then you will simply need to update the criteria to include the long-term unemployed.
About the Author
We welcome any questions you may have about WOTC or your employee’s eligibility. We can assist in reviewing the targeted groups with you and guiding you to a qualified payroll provider to make sure you are set up correctly to capture the WOTC credits.
If you have any questions about how to determine if your existing employees are eligible for WOTC or how to update your hiring processes for new employees to take advantage of the credit, please contact me at email@example.com or (770) 353-3051.
By Matthew Sloan, Fobesoft | Vendor Bylines —
Another question might be, what is the biggest difference between a successful chain or franchise and a struggling independent restaurant.
30-year food service veteran, founder of Cypress Hospitality Group and founder of Fobesoft.com says “Operating with a budget, no question”
The big guys are doing it, and love ’em or hate ’em, they are consistently opening new stores in big fancy locations all while operating at their full profit potential.
Successful restaurants chains and fast growing franchises achieve this by looking at their numbers daily. Not just looking but using the tools to make everyday actions.
Restaurant managers don’t need to be bogged down with hours of paper work everyday to see if they are hitting there numbers. What they need is a quick 5 minute snap shot of WHERE THEY STAND NOW.
Where do you stand?
Most restaurants get their P & L (profit and loss) statement after the month closes out, this is really important, but what if your team could have seen the writing on the wall in the middle of the month, and started adjusting their scheduling practices, or the way they order food or beer to correct said issue. The point is, if they had a clear picture of the issue, while it was happening, they will have a much better chance of fixing the issue and saving the month. After the month closes out it is too late.
Having targets and setting goals is vital to the financial well-being of your operation, but far to often we see unrealistic goals with time frames that are too long. One of the best techniques we are seeing with budgeting is setting short term, manageable goals. A restaurant manager can have the greatest impact on the financial strength of the restaurant by looking at targets daily and weekly, not monthly and quarterly. Good days turn into good weeks, good weeks make good months, have a few good months and now you have a good quarter. That’s how small changes can have huge impact. Remember those franchises and successful chains I mentioned earlier, that’s what their doing.
Sorting through the information
While it is true that are we are living in the “information age”, there is such a thing as too much information. The average restaurant manager can’t handle the amount of information that is coming at them from POS systems and high tech accounting software. These programs have their place with accountants and book keepers, but the average restaurant manager needs something that is going to take a few minutes a day, just giving them the BIG PICTURE of how decisions they make today, will affect tomorrow. The boots on the ground managers has a lot of responsibilities, and getting frustrated after getting lost in the minutia of reports and details and not where the managers needs to be.
Mastery through practice
A crazy thing happens when you are forced to look at your numbers everyday for 5 minutes, you always know where you stand. Have you ever been to a manager meeting and a manager gives you a blank look when you ask if they knew how the month ended. What about if you ask how they plan to fix the cost of goods issue this month, and the room fills with silence. When managers know where they stand, and they understand how decisions affect the business financially, the uncertainty has been all but eliminated from the monthly manager meetings.
Matthew Sloan is the Vice president of sales and marketing for Fobesoft.com, an intuitive daily sales report. Fobesoft.com is a cloud based tool that allows the manager and operators to see how the decisions they make today will affect the profitability of the restaurant in the future. Making better managers and delivering P & L’s daily.
Did you realize that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSD cases accounted for 31 percent of all worker injury and illness cases in 2015.
MSDs comes into play whenever soft-tissue strain results from improper or repetitive body movements, as well as lack of motion.
What to Do
Working over long periods of time in awkward postures without taking breaks can greatly increase your employees’ risk for musculoskeletal injuries. Proper workstation setup and layout, good fit with a quality task chair and posture changes throughout the day are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. Reorganizing work so employees can stand and walk every 30 to 45 minutes, for example, is a no-cost approach to reduce the effects of sitting in a static posture.
What Not to Do
Look for these common awkward postures at your employees’ workstations and inform workers of these risk factors for injury:
- Working in a seated, static position for more than 30 minutes without standing or walking.
- Sitting so far forward in a chair that the back is unsupported or, worse, slouching forward over the keyboard.
- Working with elbows extended in front of the body, which creates muscle tension in the upper back.
- Cradling the phone for long periods while performing keyboard/mouse work.
- Entering data from a document that is face down on the desk, requiring awkward neck flexion or twisting.
- Placing contact stress on soft tissues, such as resting wrists on a hard, sharp desktop edge while using a computer mouse.
Pinnacol is here to educate policyholders and improve the ergonomic setup and layout of your computer workstations. Visit the Knowledge Center on Pinnacol’s website to view our interactive office ergonomics video. A host of additional downloads – FAQs; guidelines for choosing an ergonomic chair and workstation setup, a stretching and warm-up exercise handout, and equipment procurement and use checklists – can help prevent musculoskeletal strains and injuries to your workers. You can order a computer DVD copy of the interactive video program from Pinnacol’s Order Materials webpage under the DVD Training & Resources section. Your organization can make copies of the DVD and distribute them to employees or even copy the files to your organization’s intranet.
Pinnacol partners with Office Relief, an ergonomic chairs and accessories supplier with discounted prices for Pinnacol customers. Office Relief offers one-stop shopping for purchasing high-quality task chairs, sit/stand workstations, keyboards, mice and various other desk accessories to improve the ergonomic setup of the workstation. Contact Office Relief’s Jeff Bellamy at (720) 232.5637 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Identify yourself as a Pinnacol customer to receive a product catalog with Pinnacol’s preferred pricing. Bellamy provides onsite services, as well, such as free chair demos.
You can also contact Pinnacol’s Safety On Call online or at 303.361.4700 or 888.501.4752. Our Safety Services team is committed to helping you keep your organization’s employees healthy, productive and injury-free.