So, when seeking an accountant, he settled on a business that mirrored his own values and that measured itself on high levels of customer service.
“If you have a bad meal, but get good service, the customer is much more likely to come back than if they had a decent meal but received poor service”, explains Steve.
The Chequers at Burcot has nine rooms and on a busy Sunday can easily serve more than 150 covers. Despite this and a popular food offering based on good quality sharing plates, the business comes with a level of complexity and perceived risk that would put off many accountants.
There are perhaps fewer businesses that come with the same complexity, receive the levels of scrutiny or carry the same risk as restaurants, pubs, hotels and bars. The volumes of transactions and cash nature can mean record keeping is very hard work. The complex nature of fluctuating demand, new trends, supply chains and varying costs, generally mean that tight budgeting and accurate income and expenditure forecasting is essential. Added to this cash flow problems can arise very quickly and if unchecked, do escalate and can destroy restaurants and pub businesses quickly.
In addition, prior to the Coronavirus epidemic, the Chequers at Burcot was enjoying record profits, but with the imposed lockdown faced a very uncertain future.
Steve wanted to work with an accountant he trusted, someone he got on with, but also someone that understood the hospitality sector and the unique pressures of running a Gastropub.
Prior to lockdown, Cypher offered Steve weekly meetings that included budget reviews and quarterly cash flow forecasts and models for the period ahead to provide Steve with the information, guidance and peace of mind he needed to ensure The Chequers paid suppliers, while remaining profitable and on track.
During lockdown and the enforced temporary closure of the pub, Cypher has also been instrumental in securing separate business loans to provide Steve with the necessary funds to meet his rent commitments and keep the business going. With rents owed quarterly in advance, this was a position that put many other tenants at high risk.
“Having access to that level of funds just gives us the confidence that we can re-open and be in a good shape”, explains Steve, adding “Having something to fall back on has really helped.”
As lockdown eased, The Chequers made plans to reopen in July 2020. With the UK economic climate remaining far from certain Steve takes confidence at least in his support structure.
“We almost have a blank canvas going forward. We are in a position of strength; we can follow trends, anticipate customer’s requirements and continue with our ethos of serving really good food and offering really good customer service”.