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Michelle Tempesta

Listening to the market, making recommendations for scalable product requirements, and developing useful content are the services that Michelle’s group brings to Paytronix users. Her constant thirst for marketing results is underpinned by a BS in marketing from Plymouth State University and an MBA from UIC.

Paytronix Viral Challenge Shares Love of Technology with Local High School Students

Last week, Paytronix capped off the #TikTokToTechPX Challenge, run in conjunction with Boston Public Schools, specifically the English High School. We had asked the students to create a TikTok video that tells their story about what attracted them to technology. These students (and their parents) celebrated their exceptional work highlighting the potential of a career in tech.  

This is part of a greater Paytronix effort to bring diversity and inclusion to technology roles not only at Paytronix, but also within the industry at large. In working with Boston Public Schools, Paytronix reaches high school students who have an interest in tech to help show them a path to a role at a company like Paytronix.  

Congratulations to the winners, and we look forward to welcoming them as part of the next generation of tech innovators. 

Understanding Comp Cards vs Gift Cards

As gift card sales come roaring back and diners return with gusto, it’s worth taking a hard look at a common but costly practice that ends up taking a toll on restaurants: using gift cards as comp cards.

Complimentary (comp) programs entitle guests to receive products or special discounts at your restaurants. Whether used as a goodwill gesture for guests or to extend a privilege to employees, providing comps is a part of doing business.

Restaurants use gift cards as a means to comp guests. Like paper certificates, guests readily recognize gift cards, which are convenient to issue, and easy to redeem. Unfortunately, comp programs follow distinct financial accounting procedures. Failure to isolate comp transactions from standard gift card transactions creates a “double taxation” penalty that can overstate your sales tax and income tax burden by as much as 12%!

Common pains of comp programs

Comps typically represent 3-5% of total sales — a meaningful slice of your business — and are often not well controlled or properly processed. The main risks of poorly administered comp programs include fraud and abuse, as well as improper financial accounting.

Fraud and Abuse – No One Wants to Lose Money
Inadequate measurement and control of comp programs can result in fraudulent behavior. Paytronix customers report that restaurants lose one in 10 controllable comp dollars to fraud. Paper certificates lack inherent controls and are particularly susceptible. Fraud is not limited to paper-based systems, though. A discount button on your POS system without appropriate controls also invites overuse and abuse.

Improper Financial Accounting = Increased Tax Burden
Improper processing of comp transactions also causes needless financial losses. Recording the value of comp transactions requires specific accounting treatment. You fall victim to the “double taxation” penalty when that treatment is applied incorrectly.

Fundamentally, this taxation penalty occurs because the comp value is a restaurant expense, not revenue. When you fail to appropriately recognize this expense, you artificially inflate your revenues, overstate your net income, and thereby overstate your income and sales tax liability. This overstating is a costly and unnecessary expense.

Gift Cards, the Common Offender
This taxation penalty often arises when comp situations are handled by issuing a gift card. A gift card is the wrong device for comp transactions. Comp cards and gift cards are both valuable elements in retaining and attracting guests. But, they are distinctly different instruments.

A gift card is sold to guests, represents taxable revenue, and appears on the balance sheet as an accounting liability until redemption.

The value on a comp card is recognized as an accounting expense. A comp should appear as a discount that lowers the subtotal of a guest’s check and reduces the amount of tax associated with the transaction. The comp is given to a guest – not sold – and therefore should be reflected as a business expense, not as revenue.

Consequences of Mixing Gift and Comp Cards
Companies have sometimes had to restate earnings to correct for improper comp treatment. This is because they could not differentiate their comp and gift card balances and were forced by auditors to expense 25% of the combined outstanding balance.

Many chains try to backout the comp transactions in their general ledger, but it is difficult to differentiate these transactions and to accurately account for the amount of comps extended. For example, some companies require that receipts be mailed to corporate for processing. This is a labor-intensive process where lost and unidentified receipts understate the true comp amounts.

Interested in the latest news on Gift Cards? Check out our 2022 Restaurant Gift Card Report

Plus, you cannot back out the sales tax. States generally conduct audits based on POS reports, not general ledger data. Assigning proper tax rates gets very complex when a check has different items with different tax rates and is paid with comp and other tenders.

In short, fraud and mishandled comp programs cost you money, so our comp cards provide you with a safe, practical way to offer complimentary value to guests while halting fraud and assuring proper accounting for every comp transaction. 

Paytronix Congratulates Regina Jerome on Her Hospitality Technology Lifetime Achievement Award

Today, the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards program honored Regina Jerome, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Uno Pizzeria & Grill, as one of a select number of outstanding women from both restaurants and technology suppliers who are reimagining restaurant processes and operations while demonstrating excellence in leadership, inventiveness, and skill. As a longtime partner of Uno Pizzeria & Grill and a close collaborator with Regina, the entre Paytronix team celebrates this honor. 

Regina has been active in restaurants ever since she was a head waiter 32 years ago.  She’s served as a leader in every step of the restaurant IT chain at well known brands such as Bertucci’s and Legal Sea Food, and as Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Uno Pizzeria & Grill where she led the transformation of their tech stack.   

Want to learn about the transformation of Uno’s Tech Stack straight from Regina? Listen to our partner webinar with The Spoon. 

Since launching Paytronix Order & Delivery, Uno Pizzeria & Grill has taken more than 58,000 orders across its 100 restaurants. The brand has also consistently seen the totals for online checks be 10% larger than those placed on-site. 

What Regina Jerome accomplished at Uno Pizzeria & Grill in 18 months would have taken five years somewhere else. Her deep understanding of restaurant systems, her ability to integrate those systems, and her focus on collecting and analyzing system data so that Uno can make better decisions have made a big impact on the brand.  Regina’s Hospitality Technology Lifetime Achievement Award is well-earned, and the whole Paytronix team celebrates with Regina.   

Congratulations! 

The Ideal Guest Experience

It’s a food-service marketer’s dream: the ideal guest experience from couch to couch. 

A great promotion targets the proper segment of guests with an impeccably relevant offer. When the offer is redeemed, the order experience is frictionless to prevent transaction abandonment. And of course, the right follow-up message is then sent to ensure that guests will continue patronizing your brand (and tell their friends).

Paytronix takes the guesswork out of this process with tools that enable the savvy marketer to create a perfect menu, streamline the guest experience, and keep customers coming back.

  1. AI to IASM: Artificial intelligence is the key to creating a customized guest experience. Your guests want to feel recognized as soon as they walk in the door or log into your mobile app. That means sending relevant promotions via effective segmentation, building customer profiles, and knowing the right follow-up message to send after a transaction – all on an individual customer basis. The Paytronix platform sums it up with “artificial intelligence to individual action.” (AI to IASM). Drawing from a deep well of customer data, centered around customer behavior and sales trends, machine learning tools can create targeted campaigns that help you get the most out of your marketing dollars.  
     
    Want to read about AI to IASM in action at Caribou Coffee? 
  1. Order Experience Builder: With online ordering becoming ubiquitous, customer expectations have shifted. Conditioned by Amazon, guests now expect a simple, straightforward, branded experience. The stakes are particularly high for restaurants, as guests are easily frustrated by out-of-date information and wary of establishments with poor ordering interfaces.   
     
    Paytronix provides substantial customization from the beginning, enabling you to incorporate the latest features right away with a lower cost of ownership. New features like Order Experience BuilderSM and FEEDbackSM are part of an end-to-end platform that helps marketers delight today’s digitally connected consumers. Order Experience Builder changes how marketers design and deploy online ordering, providing the tools to create powerful, interactive, and appealing online menus simply and easily. Meanwhile, FEEDback facilitates instant responses from customers at the time they place and receive their order, enabling managers to reply to comments in real time, when the opportunity to foster long-term loyalty is strongest.
     
    Leveraging AI-driven guest intelligence as a core part of the platform, the Order Experience Builder offers the best of both worlds. Restaurants no longer need to choose between using a standard ordering template and paying a designer for a customized site.
  1. Multi-variant Menu Testing: Your menu is more than just a list of dishes – it’s a playbook for your customers. And every great playbook needs to be analyzed. The Paytronix platform allows for multi-variant menu testing so you can examine all of the small details that ultimately make a big difference in a guest’s experience. Through menu testing, restaurants are able to experiment with menu designs and use AI to find the most effective layout for items and descriptions. Determining the right menu configuration can boost your average basket size and increase loyalty enrollment.

So are you ready to make guests happy from couch to couch? Request a demo of Paytronix Order & Delivery or consult the great resources for online ordering on the Paytronix website.