4 June 2012 Insights

Case Study : Beluga Restaurant

Retail Capital

In 1999, Beluga opened its doors for the first time in a historic, 100 year old building, with solid wooden floors and double height ceilings, creating a warm and relaxed New York loft feel.  Beluga offers a full A la carte, dim sum, wine and cocktail menu, but is probably best known for its exceptional sushi, serving over 1 800,000 pieces of sushi every year. Once voted as one of the Top 60 restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, Beluga has been reinventing itself every year and will continue to do so.
Since inception, Beluga has hosted presidents, princes, movie stars and rock legends, but is most proud of a loyal and committed regular customer base, serving on average six hundred customers a day. Owner, chef and entrepreneur, Oscar Kotze has only one rule for himself and his team; that Beluga’s food, service and overall dining experience is one for which every guest will return. He sets only one goal; that everyone does better than they did the previous day, continually striving to exceed expectations, in the on-going search for perfection.
“The hospitality and restaurant industries are fast-paced and trends and tastes are continuously changing, making it dynamic and extremely challenging. As an entrepreneur, there is nothing better than to wake up in the morning with a great idea on how to improve quality, service and delivery, or to improve efficiency, increase turnover or overall business performance.  However, to implement these ideas, you will almost certainly need to have access to capital, often relatively quickly” he comments.
“The banks seem to be stuck in a recessionary, risk adverse mind-set and do not appear to have the appetite to lend money to restaurants at the moment.  If you are lucky enough to get credit, then you are looking at a combination of high interest rates, bank charges and more surety than is healthy.  Over and above this, at the times when turnover is at the lowest, the fixed bank payments represent a large part of your available cash on hand,” he continues.

“In the current economy and climate, accessing capital at all, and especially quickly, is much more difficult than it used to be meaning that we often have to put off opportunities or worse still, miss them altogether.“That is where Retail Capital came in, offering me quicker and easier access to funding,” says Oscar. “They made my life a lot easier, when I need to make some changes to Beluga”.

Retail Capital offer a product called a business cash advance, which allows restaurant owners to leverage an asset that the banks do not even consider; their future debit and credit card turnover.

In simple terms, Retail Capital will buy an amount of future card turnover, for an agreed price paid immediately.  The purchased amount is then paid over at an affordable percentage of the future daily card transactions, until the total purchased value is realised.
Each advance is tailored to the specific needs, capabilities and turnover of the business.  As the pay over is based on turnover, it ebbs and flows with the business cycles, ensuring that pay over is more affordable than fixed credit instalments.  A simplified application process means that applications can be processed and the money dispersed within as little as two weeks.  There are no requirements for financial sureties, or restrictions on what you can use the money for.
“Dealing with Retail Capital has been a really great experience. They were open, honest, straight talking and came to meet with me at Beluga to answer all of my questions face to face. Their product is very easy to understand and they provide a clear definition of the costs.  Most importantly, their turnaround time was amazing,” says Kotze.
In order to qualify for a Retail Capital business cash advance, restaurants will need to have:
• To have been operating for at least 6 months

• A demonstrable track record of card turnover

• An on-going lease, mortgage, or to own their premises
Restaurant owners will be required to supply merchant information detailing their card turnover and contractual agreement, recent bank statements and a copy of the mortgage/lease agreement.  In addition, key references will be requested.
“I believe that Retail Capital enters into a win-win partnership with business owners and shares in the ups and downs of our trading seasons. I have no hesitation in recommending them and would work with them again in the future,” states Kotze.


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