Five Tips for Retailers + Restaurants for Managing the Holiday Rush

The holiday season is the biggest time of the year for retailers and restaurant owners. In the United States, Black Friday and Super Saturday are among the busiest shopping days of the year. Last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported more than 99 million people shopped in stores on Black Friday and estimated over 155 million took advantage of Super Saturday sales. With the strengthening economy, sales are expected to increase for 2017.

However, retailers and restaurant owners know the challenges and stress that also comes during this time of year.

To accommodate the crowds, business owners must hire additional staff. In 2016, NRF estimated that retailers hired between 640,000 to 690,000 seasonal positions. Unfortunately, short-term employees tend to lack the commitment to the organization compared to a full-time employee—which increases the business’s risk to internal theft.

Certain crimes also tend to spike around this time. Hayes International reported retail crime rates increase by 30% during the holidays. This trend is likely contributed to criminals seeing the increased activity in stores as an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting employees.

Additionally, business owners are faced with the challenges that come from accepting cash payments. Contrary to popular belief, the need and use for cash is not going away anytime soon. Cash continues to grow as a predominant form of payment for many merchant categories, especially for Food and Personal Care Supplies. This growth leaves many retailers nationwide looking for better ways to efficiently manage their cash flow.

According to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, there is currently more than $1.56 trillion in circulation as of July 2017. This is up 35% from the $1.1 trillion in circulation at the end of 2012.

Fortunately, with the development of new technologies, retailers and restaurants are able to better prepare and streamline their cash management process. Continue reading the helpful tips below to relieve some stress of the holiday season.


1. Review cash handling guidelines
Before the start of the season, review and audit all cash handling procedures. Ensure all guidelines are properly outlined and updated. This is particularly important for merchants that leave any employees alone with cash or have the sole responsibility of managing cash related tasks during their shift.

2. Educate employees of policies
Once the cash handling guidelines have been approved, educate employees to ensure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, train employees to identify suspicious behavior, and the protocol for handling these type of situations.

3. Invest in cash management solutions
Services like armored pickups or devices like smart safes can increase staff productivity and efficiency, reduce loss and eliminate risks of theft. Leveraging an all-encompassing solution can enable retailers to focus on serving their customers instead of making trips to the bank or reconciling deposits.

4. Tighten security at the registers
The point of sale in any merchant location runs the risk of theft and accepting counterfeit bills for payment. Fortunately, devices like smart safes also help with validating bills and require employees to enter an identification number before depositing funds. This increases accountability, eliminates miscounts from human error, and mitigates the risk of theft from an employee or external source.

5. Keep the store or restaurant organized
If a store appears messy or disorganized, it will be more difficult to notice if something has been stolen. It is recommended to keep products close to the edge of the shelf—this should create a solid wall of merchandise. Empty space on the shelf should be a visual cue that something has gone wrong.

Dunbar offers scalable cash management solutions to serve all sizes and types of retailers and restaurants. Complete the form below to request an assessment and learn how Dunbar can simplify and streamline your cash handling for the holidays.

Learn more about Dunbar’s Cash Management solutions and Request an Assessment today.