Nexus Brewery & Restaurant Addresses Fundamental Financial Controls with Assistance from RestaurantOwner.com
It warms a banker's heart to get all the right numbers in the proper columns - which is why Ken Carson, Jr., owner of Nexus Brewery, LLC in Albuquerque, NM, came to search out RestaurantOwner.com. For a man who expects his ledger entries to balance, RestaurantOwner.com was just the ticket.
Ken Carson, a 35-year veteran of the banking industry, including a 14-year stint as president of a small bank in New Mexico, had planned to retire as a banker. But then the board at the bank he was with "started to have power struggles. I ended up on the wrong side, and they were threatening not to renew my contract."
He moved to another large bank in Albuquerque, "got a decent position and everything was going well," he recalls. "But this was during the financial crisis, and unfortunately the bank I'd joined started to decline. Ultimately, I could tell that they were getting ready to bail." He was, he admits, afraid to put my money back into the stock market or a 401k, "so what I said was, 'I'm going to start my own business.'"
Carson's two-and-a-half-year old restaurant (Nexus: n. meaning connection, link or tie..a heavenly place where everything is perfect…) seats 60 inside and 50 more on a patio, and an average dinner ticket of around $13 per person. Annual sales are $1.3 million. He refers to the cuisine as "New Mexican Soul Food. One of our main dishes, and one
of the most popular, is Fried Chicken and Waffles. Then we do some other southern comfort foods with a New Mexico twist," including a proprietary barbecue sauce he came up with, a combination of North Carolina-style barbecue sauce and red chili puree.
Among the issues that the web site has addressed has been internal controls; specifically, keeping tabs on managers with the ability to void their own tabs. "Being from banking, I should have realized that when you give the managers that ability" problems can result. While Carson had the ability to go back and look at what they had voided, he realizes it is "really hard sometimes to determine whether that's a legitimate void or not."
Armed with RestaurantOwner.com's expertise, he has drafted a policy that significantly reins in this and other, similar practices. "The web site had an article that articulated internal control issues. We implemented and ended up firing a manager over voiding his own tickets. I also put at the end of it, 'Any deviation may result in termination.'" He also makes sure his 30 employees read them.
For a man who expects his ledger entries to balance, RestaurantOwner.com was just the ticket, Carson concedes. "Boy, there are so many things of value that I have read. I have never been in the restaurant business until now; this is the first restaurant I've ever run.
"I find that there are certain financial statements and ratios that I am used to on the banking side that I couldn't really find anywhere else except for RestaurantOwner.com," he concludes. "I know there are some things on the internet, but this was the one-stop-shop to find the fundamentals on how to do things right."