As convenience store operators seek to cut costs in an uncertain economy, increasing efficiency in cash management is a smart strategy. The experience of Hutch’s convenience stores points to five ways companies can benefit from implementing a cash recycling solution.
Oftentimes, convenience store owners don’t quantify the cost of cash handling when they’re looking to improve their bottom line. Other issues such as labor shortages, rising fuel costs, and supply chain disruptions get their attention, distracting them from the huge time and labor commitment to cash that can weigh-down profitability. But cash recyclers have made a tremendous difference in Hutch’s convenience stores by:
- Eliminating trips to the bank
- Improving customer service capacity
- Optimizing tills for shift changes
- Increasing job satisfaction
- Enabling innovation
Keeping managers in the store instead of en route to the bank
Because 20–30 percent of transactions at some Hutch’s locations is in cash, waiting for a weekly pickup from an armored car service isn’t an option—there simply isn’t space to safely store the money night after night. That means either convenience store managers would have to leave their stores and drive back and forth to the banks during the busiest times, or someone else such as Hutch’s founder Ross Hutchinson would handle daily cash deposits because it was too disruptive—which he did for years at all Elk City, OK, locations.
But when Hutch’s installed Loomis under-the-counter cash recyclers, they were able to receive daily provisional credit for deposits and skip the bank trips altogether.
“Freeing the manager from making deposits so they can remain in the store during the busy times is just a huge difference,” said Hutch’s CFO Justin Robinson.
Increasing customer service bandwidth
At each of Hutch’s 21 locations, staff spent significant time preparing tills for opening/closing and shift changes, counting cash and bundling it—up to three times a day, by multiple associates—which took time away from serving customers.
“Closing out and starting a shift was a big problem in our stores,” said the founder’s son and current CEO, David Hutchinson. “When a shift change happens, you’ve got two cashiers at a register that’s shut down, and you could see customers waiting in line at another register getting impatient. That was a frustration of mine from a customer standpoint.”
Now, the cash recycler dispenses pre-counted drawers, so the switch happens much faster—cutting register downtime during shift change to just one person taking two minutes at most. And with less time spent counting cash, teams can focus on serving customers that much more.
“The Loomis cash recycler saves so much time and effort from the older safes,” said Hutch’s CFO Justin Robinson.
Optimizing tills for shifts
Before the solution was in place, cashiers hesitated to take money out of the till and put it into the safe because they might need to go back into the safe to make change for large bills at the drop of a hat. Now, drawer balances in the tills can be lower because it’s easier to retrieve money from the cash recycler.
“Cashiers no longer have to worry about keeping extra cash in their drawers—they can drop it and get it back whenever they want from the recycler,” said Robinson. “It’s just a huge change from where we came from.”
Improving job satisfaction
After fully integrating the cash recyclers in seven stores, Robinson said the biggest change came in labor savings, which had an effect beyond cash management. Saving time turned out to be a factor in job satisfaction as well, which is critical in attracting employees in a rural environment.
“In the labor market we’re in today, anything to help somebody be more satisfied with their job is a win,” Robinson said. “The recycler saves so much time and effort, just the handling of the cash and the deposits, easily you’ve got an hour a day saved without question. We decided, well this is a no-brainer.”
Enabling innovative solutions
In terms of customer experience, Hutch’s is always looking at putting new things into stores to keep customers coming back. For example, in addition to things like new fountain machines, they’ve also installed self-ordering kiosks where customers can order their own food and it goes straight to the kitchen, as well as self-checkout kiosks, so people can get what they want, pay for it, and get on their way faster.
“The safe has been great because it helps replenish the kiosks,” Robinson said. “And that goes hand-in-hand with what we like to be known for: Offering what the competition doesn’t—we’re going to do it better.”
With such positive results, Hutchinson says they have plans underway to roll out the Loomis solution into another seven Hutch’s stores in the coming months. To learn more about automating your c-store’s cash management, visit loomis.us/cashrecycling.
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