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Supply chain woes? Here’s how to protect you and your business.

It’s no secret that many industries are suffering from supply chain issues. The pandemic panic caused people and businesses to buy an abundance of items (hello, toilet paper!). In addition, production decreased due to a decreased demand for certain products. The restaurant and food industry has been one of the biggest victims of this crisis – many establishments are being forced to change menus, hours, and more due to supply AND staffing shortages.

According to Forbes.com, “initial consumer shelf shortages in 2020 were the result of many consumers wrongly believing a food production crisis was imminent, and buying up everything they could. Over the past year, however, production—particularly production targeting restaurants—diminished due to reduced demand.

With states now reopening, people are flocking to restaurants again, and most suppliers did not anticipate how rapidly customers would return. This has led to restaurant supply chain disruptions, from chicken parts to restaurant workers. Wages for restaurant workers are rising due to worker “return” shortages, caused in some cases by employees collecting unemployment benefits that may be higher than their previous wages, or else due to delayed re-openings for daycares and schools, which have forced many parents to stay home and care for children instead of returning to work. And as an example of how interconnected everything is in business today, the restaurant industry is also being harmed by the computer chip shortage. In addition, rising gasoline prices have resulted in increased transportation costs (refrigeration truck pricing has risen over 20% from February to May), leading to increased food prices.”

Fortunately, Forbes has some ways to protect your business from the fallout of the crisis.

1. Invest in the right technology

Within your secure and up-to-date digital network, you need integrated data from customers, sales, suppliers, and producers through “state of the art” inventory management systems connecting you to your suppliers, your production facilities, your warehouses, and your sales organization.

Invest in inventory management software that can provide real-time, detailed visibility into inventory control and supply chain management, including inventory levels, stock on order, and supplier on-time performance. Knowing the inventory levels at your vendors and raw materials at your suppliers will help you avoid volatility in your supply chain.

TAKEAWAY: Technology investments are relatively cheap when compared to the lost sales caused by a lack of inventory.

2. Diversify suppliers and manufacturing partners

Do not count on environmental, social, and political (ESP) stability. Follow your business instincts, not a simplistic, cost-focused software algorithm. Case in point is the political and economic issues between China and the United States, which have led many large manufacturers to use multiple suppliers—even at marginally higher costs—to avoid losing business and customers from potential supply chain disruptions.

TAKEAWAY: Hedge your bets—don’t rely on one supplier for a key component of your product.

3. Incorporate risk management into your supply chain management

Supply chain management is not just the sourcing of raw materials. It involves the end-to-end flow of goods and services, and includes all processes that transform raw materials into final products. It involves the active streamlining of a business’s supply-side activities to maximize customer value and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Make sure you understand where you might have supply chain disruption that could affect product quality, pricing, and availability.

TAKEAWAY: Develop a supply chain risk matrix that allows the assessment of probabilities of supply chain disruption, and use it to mitigate and monitor risks.

4. Create a procure-to-pay purchasing system

Many functions in a business are not well integrated. Excel spreadsheets and manual processes are still common in many middle-market businesses. Procure-to-pay is a business process cycle spanning from procurement functions for goods and services needed, to receiving procedures (including verification), to accounts payable and accounting functions. Payables duties include vendor invoice matching to purchase orders and receiving reports, getting invoice approvals, paying approved invoices, recording transactions, and generating reports.

TAKEAWAY: Move from manual, paper-based purchasing to lower-cost, higher-control automated purchasing that links all relevant functions across your business.

5. Focus on the basics—cash is king

While thinking about supply chains, think about the supply chain involved with your cash flow. Do you conduct effective cash-flow forecasting? For example, how long can you last if there is a disruption and you cannot move your product? Is “just in time” inventory of materials and parts still a dependable theory? Do you have a line of credit or documents prepared to obtain a short-term loan if necessary to secure backup inventory? What is the cost of lost customers from not being able to sell your product due to shortages?

Good cash management is your ace in the hole, especially if your competitors lack this expertise. Successful businesses practice effective cash conversion cycle (CCC) management. CCC is a business measurement that expresses the time (measured in days) it takes for a company to convert its investments in inventory and other resources into cash flows from sales. Essentially, if your cash is tied up more days in inventory and raw materials than in days to collect on sales, then you could be “growing your company into the ground.” The more you grow, the more cash you will need from your bank.

TAKEAWAY: Focus on how long it takes to convert inventory to cash. Implement practices to accelerate cash collection from customers.

Coordination and cooperation are critical to avoid supply chain disruptions

Effective management of your supply chain provides several opportunities for your company to improve your profit margins and retain customers, but coordination and cooperation with all contributors to your supply chain is critical. Genuine engagement with those contributors is a win-win for manufactures and supply chain partners. Know this: your suppliers are ready (and in many cases eager) for change with you—this is a margin-increasing opportunity for them, too.

Article can be found here.

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Clean Restaurant? CHECK!

Keeping a busy restaurant clean is no easy task! Between lunch and dinner rushes, making sure customers are happy and taken care of, and now dealing with staffing shortages and Covid protocols, it can be harder than ever. Here’s a checklist to help you and your staff focus on the important stuff (and maybe the little things you may not think of!)

  • Train your staff – this may seem super obvious, but sometimes we get so caught up in training on serving customers, we forget to train on the every day minutiae like cleaning. When you onboard someone new, make sure to take time to teach them the basics of maintaining a clean restaurant. When you teach them to use equipment, make sure to teach them how to clean it as well. A dry erase board everyone can see daily can help make sure your cleaning checklist gets done.
  • Cleaning during and after each shift – You don’t have to do all the cleaning right at closing time. Set aside a few chores for employees to do before and after each of their shifts. Chores should include wiping down the prep areas and cutting boards, washing the prep equipment such as blenders and slicers, brushing off the cooktops, emptying drip trays, taking out the trash, and wiping up any massive splatters on the floors or counters. You should also have someone do the dishes, so there’s always clean silverware available for customers.
  • End of day cleaning – Of course there are some tasks that can’t be completed until after your restaurant closes for the day. Not only would it be fruitless to do these chores before closing, but they may disturb customers as well. These end of day cleaning tasks include sweeping and vacuuming the floors, cleaning the washing stations, wiping down the floor mats, getting any splatters and spills off the walls, cleaning the beverage dispensers, washing the countertops, cleaning and shutting down the fryers and cooktops, and changing foil linings if your cookware uses them.  
  • Weekly cleaning – Some tasks are not meant to be completed on a daily basis. Pour your cleaners down the sink drains and refill them with fresh, new cleaner. After that, you’ll boil out the deep fryers and check your metal faucets, sinks, and coffee makers for built-up limescale. Clean the outside of your refrigeration units and give the interior and exterior of your ovens and steamers a good scrubbing.
  • Monthly cleaning – Every month or so, you should give your restaurant a thorough deep cleaning. One important thing you should include is the condenser coils in your refrigerators. If too much grease buildup on these, it will stop the unit from working as it should. You should also clean the tubes, air filters, drain pans, and the interior of the refrigeration units while you’re at it. Empty all your grease traps and switch out any pest traps you have lying around. Last but not least, calibrate the thermostats on your ovens if they need it. 
  • Yearly cleaning – There are a couple of larger jobs that need to get done each year. Check your ice machines and dishwashers for limescale buildup. When winter weather starts to come around, you should have professionals come in to check out your plumbing and heating to ensure they work through the cold months. 
  • The little things – Last but certainly not least, there are smaller tasks that are often forgotten about but just as important. These include:
    • Ice Accessories – the ice maker is your biggest challenge but that scoop your staff uses? Yea, that thing can get pretty gross from being touched all day. Run it through the dishwasher at least once a day.
    • Soda fountain – all the syrupy sugar can build up on your nozzles and make them super yucky. Remove them once a day for a good cleaning and then replace them
    • Menus – many restaurants post-Covid have opted for paper or QR code menus, but some establishments are still using the old-fashioned kind. If they are laminated, give them a good wipe down. If they are paper, make sure they are replaced often.

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Raise the Roof!

Today, July 5th, is pretty much the Mondayest Tuesday ever.  So let’s talk about something fun, shall we?! The weather is on fire and the world is reopening – what better way to celebrate than to hit up some of Richmond’s best rooftop bars?! A cold drink AND view is a tough combo to beat! Here are some of the best ones according to BoozingAbroad.com:

Hofheimer 

the hof FB richmond rooftop

Photo Credit: The Hof Garden Facebook

While you won’t see the epic downtown skyrises from here, the Hofheimer (affectionately called the Hof by locals) is a great rooftop bar option, especially during baseball season.

The close proximity to and views of the Diamond during the summer guarantee some fireworks action. 

Both a beer garden and a full liquor bar, you can bask on the rooftop while overseeing the Scott’s Addition brewery scene below. 

The Byrd House at Graduate Hotel Richmond 

the byrd house richmond graduate

Located in the downtown area of Richmond, the Byrd House has incredible views of the historic Jefferson Hotel as well 360-degree views of the city. Plus, they have a rooftop pool! 

With great shareable snacks and some great local beers on tap, this bar is a fun spot for a drink. 21+ only allowed on the roof.

Kabana Rooftop 

kabana roftop bars in richmond va

Photo Credit: The Kabana Rooftop Facebook

Looking for a top-notch rooftop party (see what we did there?)?

As the tallest rooftop bar in Richmond, Kabana Rooftop is located on the 20th floor with incredible views of downtown.

Open until 1:30 am on Friday and Saturday night, if you want to dance the night away under the stars, this is your bar. They also have a kick-ass cocktail list that pairs nicely with their brunch on the weekends too.

21+ only allowed on the roof.

Q Rooftop Bar at Quirk Hotel 

Quirk Hotel rooftop bars in richmond

The Q Rooftop Bar is a 2-story outdoor rooftop bar in Richmond that offers craft cocktails, beer and wine on tap, top-shelf liquors, elevated street fare and unbelievable views!

If they are closed for inclement weather, their lobby bar is perfect for a drink and as a bonus, it’s super Instagram-able for those looking for great pics!

Starr Hill Brewery 

starr hill brewing richmond rooftop bar

While not the most epic view of all the rooftop bars in Richmond, Starr Hill Beer Hall and Rooftop is the only brewery in Scott’s Addition with a rooftop.

Complete with a ground-level taproom and an all-season rooftop patio with great views of Richmond, Starr Hill is a great place to grab a beer with friends, listen to some live music, play some trivia, and try some of Richmond’s delicious food trucks.

Dogtown Brewing 

dogtown brewing rooftop bars in richmond va

 Dogtown Brewing is located just south of the city and has a completely awesome rooftop area.

This is one of the few rooftops outside of the city from where you can still see the full skyline from afar. With German-style beers and food, this place offers a laid back atmosphere with great craft beer!

So grab some friends, get out, and support local businesses! Enjoy!

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A Very Happy 4th in RVA! Where to celebrate!

It’s hard to believe it, but Independence Day is this weekend!  Wasn’t it just spring?  Where has the time gone?!  If you’re like us, you’re probably itching to get out and do something fun (FINALLY!).  Check out some happenings going on this week and weekend to celebrate our freedom – and America’s birthday!

Sun. July 4, 2021 – Richmond Flying Squirrels – Independence Day Celebration & Dueling Fireworks – An annual Richmond tradition, celebrate the 4th of July at The Diamond and enjoy one of region’s largest firework shows after the game. | Gates open at 4:30 PM. 

 SUN., JULY 4, 2021 AT 4 PM – 10 PM – Red, White, and Lights 2021 – Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park

SUN., JULY 4, 2021 AT 5 PM – 10:30 PM – Fourth of July Celebration presented by Virginia Credit Union – Chesterfield County Fairgrounds 

July 4th Parade & Celebration in Ashland, Virginia  You are invited to join in Sunday, July 4 at 11am for the best small town July 4th Celebration around! Parade, Patriotic music, Pie Contest, Pet Contest, Food, Lawn games. For more information, contact The Hanover Arts & Activities Center, 500 S Center St Ashland, VA 23005. 

Powhatan Freedom Festival on Sunday July 4th from 5pm-12am at the Powhatan fairgrounds, at the Powhatan County Fairgrounds, 4042 Anderson Highway. Fireworks show starts at nightfall.

For the most up-to-date information, visit: https://www.rvaonthecheap.com/july-4th-independence-day-festivities-in-richmond-virginia/

Whatever you decide to you, please be careful.  Every year, there are several injuries due to people setting off their own fireworks.  In addition, please keep in mind that not everyone enjoys fireworks – please be respectful of your neighbors.

Have fun!  And Happy Birthday, America!