State of the Restaurant Industry 2022: Payments and treasury

Facing complexity and fraud


6 minute read

Key takeaways

  • Fraud remains a key concern for operators, both in the front and back of the house
  • Customers have myriad new payment options, making reconciling daily cash more challenging
  • With more cash on hand, efficient and safe cash management is more critical than ever

When it comes to day-to-day financial management post-pandemic, restaurant operators are focused on two things — managing cash and staying on top of fraud.


In the simplest financial terms, a restaurant operator needs to take customer orders and payments, keep track of and reconcile sales and pay vendors and staff. Each of those functions has become significantly more complex, at a time when operators have a lot of cash on hand and want to optimize that liquidity but also protect the treasury from fraud.


Senior relationship manager for Bank of America, Ted Lynch, says, “Consider that 25 years ago, probably 90% of restaurant sales were in cash, with the rest paid with a credit card or a gift card. McDonald’s wasn’t even accepting credit cards until 2004. Today, one of the biggest concerns restaurant operators have is that there are more than a dozen different ways a sale can be recorded.”


It’s the price of driving a truly frictionless customer experience. It’s critically important for the restaurant operator and the bank to partner closely together to integrate payments and platforms alternatives to ensure a seamless experience. 

“Providing multiple payment options is important. But truly integrating them to be part of the restaurant’s overall payment and service ecosystem is ultimately what drives efficiency and return.”

But as the pandemic spurred significant — and sudden — changes in customer payment options, those changes accelerated faster than companies’ ability to account for them.  Lynch says. “The decision to accept different types of payments came without us having the systems in place to make reconciliation easy.”


If you’re the restaurant manager, it’s hard to reconcile the day’s cash. No human can reconcile the day’s activity easily and fast. But there’s a need for robustness of reporting all your transactions to headquarters. These things are taking up a disproportionate time for people. Lynch continues, “The phrase I hear is that we need general-ledger ninjas to get the quality of reporting we had when we were an all-cash business.”

One system that can help is Bank of America’s CashPro®, a complete digital platform designed to make managing payments and receipts faster and easier, at a time when managing liquidity is paramount.


For many Bank of America clients, cash on hand is higher than in years past. “In a rising rate environment, they have a larger treasury chest to protect,” says senior treasury sales officer for Bank of America, Charles Murphy. “Fraud has become so prevalent that often it’s all we talk about with clients. You have this larger than usual amount of cash, and that presents an opportunity to lose it through fraud. What tools do we have to protect the treasury, and also help them get the highest returns?”


In addition to the need to protect the payment pathways, there’s also the back of the house side of day-to-day financials — payroll and accounts payable. During the pandemic, more office staff moved to remote work, and a lot of that is here to stay. But is it secure? 

“What have you done to ensure the security of working from home? If a payroll manager is logged into your system from home, can someone access the company’s payroll files and get a fraudulent payment issued? Or access supplier information, and make a change in address that sends the payment to the criminal?”

He points out that Bank of America’s Complete AP really took off during the pandemic, as a way to make AP faster and safer by sending and receiving digital payments, validating supplier information and optimizing the timeliness of payments.


Murphy believes the mobile feature of CashPro also helps both treasury employees and managers respond in the safest and most efficient way. You don’t have to be tied to the laptop because you can see everything through a mobile device.  The tool can help you make the most informed and timely decisions for making payments and increase the efficiency of things like releasing wires so you don’t have to scramble.


Solutions like Complete AP, Comprehensive Payables and CashPro also help companies facing continued labor issues that make an office vulnerable. Although most attention has been focused on the industry’s front of house worker shortages, restaurant companies also are struggling to hire employees for the back office as well. “When you’re short on experienced help, when the team isn’t seasoned enough to quickly validate things like supplier information, the Bank’s solutions can do that for you,” Murphy says. “We’re in a better position than clients. We have the tools and the connections with other financial institutions to validate information.”


These tools go a long way in helping operators navigate a challenging time for the industry. And as innovation brings more complexity, those who embrace alternative ways of doing things will ultimately be better positioned for the future.

Galen Robbins | Managing Director, Head of Global Banking Merchant Sales, Global Strategy & Enterprise Platforms, Bank of America 

Charles Murphy | Director, Senior Treasury Sales Officer, Global Transaction Services, Bank of America

Ted Lynch | Managing Director, Senior Relationship Manager, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America