As restaurants start to think about their steps for reopening, it’s important they consider their service vendor relationships as these partners are critical to doing so successfully. Restaurant owners have been so wrapped up with saving their businesses, preserving cash, providing needed documentation to the SBA, and renegotiating leases with their landlords, that their aging Accounts Payable is the elephant in the room that they’ve put off addressing for as long as possible until the operating landscape becomes clearer.
You should begin to reach out to your service vendors and have conversations around how to structure their relationships and payments moving forward. Whether it is small or large amounts of money owed, working out mutually agreed upon payment schedules or settlements that benefit both parties will ensure that you have a reliable vendor partner when you need them. At the end of the day, both sides need each other to make it through this mess, so you should be aligned on how to do just that, and remember, Keep It Simple Stupid! There is a lot of work to do to open back up (see our Restaurant Reopening Facilities and Equipment Checklist) and the strength of your existing vendor relationships will keep you at the front of their dispatch queues.
Taking the approach that there will be plenty of work to choose from once things get started, giving you the opportunity to pick and choose service calls based on your ability to charge premium rates and overtime is not reality, well at least not with our clients. Vendors need to take a long-term and partnership approach to this unprecedented event; one that is mutually beneficial to all parties and preserves the industry, giving everyone the ability to fight and survive another day!
We can do this, but it can only be done together!