With over 3 decades of retail experience, I have found that the single most underappreciated aspect of running a retail business is controlling your most valuable inventory item, cash. Yes, as a Multi-Unit Subway Franchisee cash was an inventory item treated no differently than bread sticks, meat or cheese. I stocked it, I ordered it and most importantly, I counted it.
As is the case with many retail establishments, if you keep tight controls on your sellable inventory, you can minimize your losses in cash inventory due to employee error or theft. In my experience with Subway, the first sign of trouble was missing bread sticks. When your expected inventory failed to match your actual inventory, you know there’s a problem. I would immediately begin enforcing bread counts at every shift change followed by my own count once a day to see if the problem “corrected” itself. If the shift inventory showed a problem, then it was more than likely a training issue and you address the Sandwich Artists that worked that shift. If there are no issues with your shift inventories, but your own inventory showed a problem, then you may have some theft issues because someone is fudging their bread counts.
Insert cash instead of bread and you will see the extent and vigilance you have to go to find problems in your cash inventory. I personally found that I was spending way too much time tracking cash when I should have been focused on marketing campaigns, customer service, training, etc. If you have a trusted manager that you pay to do this work, it can be even more frustrating.
I was aware of the automation solutions out there but they were just too expensive at the time. However over the last couple years, since I was a franchisee, these solutions have become smaller and more affordable. For about the same price as an ice-maker or an oven, you can dramatically improve your cash problems and actually get a return on your investment!
- “Closed-loop” solutions are basically a self-service checkout but with the upselling and customer service of a cashier. In my case, the SubShop POS would communicate directly with a cash recycler as well as a coin recycler to accept cash payment directly from the customer and dispense the exact amount of change. The cashier never touches the money. No more cash drops, no more incorrect change and no more customers claiming they gave the cashier a $20 and not a $10. Most importantly, if there is no sale there is no cash dispensed.
- Smart safes are another affordable solution that enables you to safeguard and verify cash, reduce the risk of exposure, and deter theft. A smart safe will automatically accept, validate, record, and store cash in a secure environment. My cashiers would inevitably wait unit SubShop stopped transactions until a cash drop was entered. Of course this would happen during a rush, holding up the line and pulling a manager away from helping customers. With a smart safe, the cashier can secure large bills when its convenient or as soon at its accepted
Today’s cash automation technology is designed to minimize the time that cash is handled by employees, secure your cash to reduce shrink and gain greater control of cash on hand. Learn more about these solutions on our Retail Automation page.