August 24, 2023

The Cost of Cash for Restaurants

By Ryan Ashton

By Ryan Ashton


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It’s the early 2000’s. Cash is king, and everyone coming to your restaurant pays with cash, making it easy to pay your employees their tips at the end of the night. Life is good.

Fast forward to today, and it’s a completely different story. Cash at restaurants is becoming scarce – as of 2022, 89% of all consumer transactions are now via credit or debit cards. Clearly, something has to give, as the squeeze on available cash provides a challenge for operators that depend on it for their employees tips.

This shortage of cash leaves the business to effectively become the ‘bank’ for staff when paying out their tips each day – and it’s a painful process. The business must convert the credit card tips to cash, before they can even distribute it to the employee. To do that, they’re faced with trips to the bank, deliveries from armored cars, or leased smart safes.

All of these options have a cost and time attached to them.

So what are the options for the restaurant operator?

One option is to secure a contract for armored car services (delivery service and smart safe) for cash pick up or drop off, which would include dropping off ‘change’ orders for tips, and the rental of smart safes. The average cost of this service? In the neighborhood of $300 – $500 per month, per location. Ouch.

The restaurant could also assign a manager to do these cash runs each day – which would take about an hour each time, costing valuable time and money in the process, not to mention the liability and safety issues associated with this.

A third option would be to simply add employee tips to their regular paycheck during regular pay cycles – but we all know how much employees rely on these daily tips, so this option would probably have a negative impact on employee recruitment and retention.

So what’s left?

What if your manager could simply and quickly – with the click of a button – pay your employees right after they work via a purpose-built electronic tips disbursement solution, all without any additional costs to you or to the employee?

That’s where Instant Tips comes in.

Instant Tips lets your management team send tips and payments instantly to their team at the end of the night, thereby completely replacing the need for on-site cash, and all of the costs associated with this. Your manager simply enters their tip amounts into our Tips platform, and your team members get a notification on their phone that their tips are instantly available in their account.

All the headache and costs we mentioned previously? Gone.

And we’ve done the math too – an organization with 100 locations could save over $240,000 annually in armored car and courier costs with the switch to Instant. Not to mention all the other soft costs like envelopes, office supplies and more. The savings add up. They did for our client Ultra Steak.

But there’s more.

Instant’s admin platform lets your team keep a full digital log and receipts of all tips sent to staff, providing a clean audit trail for accounting purposes, and allows your team to easily reconcile against the records your team already keeps.

And lastly – if not most importantly – you’re keeping your valued staff safe, as they’ll no longer have to leave work at the end of the night with an envelope full of cash.

Wrapping it all up

By eliminating those unnecessary – and expensive – trips to the bank and reducing the costs of armored car services, your team will now have more time to focus on higher value tasks, like running the restaurant and increasing the productivity of your employees.

And from a corporate standpoint, you now have visibility into cash management and reconciliation at both a local and enterprise level.

With Instant Tips, you’re gaining efficiencies at all levels of the organization, saving a significant amount of money, and keeping your staff safe.

To learn more about the value of Instant Tips, visit or get in touch with us directly at

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