The first half of 2020 has forced us all to rethink our approach to everything, particularly our approach to business in a world where cashflow has ground to halt.
This conundrum is especially challenging for restaurants given that their livelihood is dependent on face-to-face transactions and in-person patronage.
Many attempted to make a pivot to the curbside and delivery world, but when margins are razor thin, and the usual demands of rent and supplies bleed dry precious cash reserves, it became apparent that, for many, the traditional business model was unsustainable.
So how do we move into a future knowing full well that the challenges of 2020 are very likely to rear their head again?
The answer: look to the past.
I have worked for more than two decades towards building a bartering ecosystem made up of Canadian companies, in which business owners engage in one of the world’s oldest forms of commerce. That work is encapsulated in BarterPay.
This system helps Canadian businesses get what they need without cash and now is the perfect time to learn more about doing commerce in a way that saves cash, reduces waste and is socially responsible.
In the BarterPay ecosystem, businesses offer their services, products or idle inventory in exchange for Barter Credits (One Barter Credit equals one Canadian Dollar for valuation, accounting and tax purposes).
Then those Barter Credits can be used to get what you need or want for your business from any other member in the community, you’re not restricted to a one-on-one trade.
For those in the food service industry, gift cards can be exchanged for Barter Credits which, in turn, could be used for something like hood vent cleaning, construction or printing services. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Most variable costs, that a small business is currently spending their hard-earned cash on, can be offset via BarterPay.
In cases where gift cards are being used to earn Barter Credits, it fuels a reciprocal transaction because the business comes right back into the business that provided the gift cards. It leads to even more business from outside of the ecosystem because the gift card user often brings guests.
In this time, leaning on programs like BarterPay can be a great benefit to operators reopening and recovering. Here are five reasons for leveraging BarterPay during COVID-19:
Anne Farmer, who owns Moon Under Water Brewery Pub & Distillery in Victoria, B.C., which has been one of our members for a year, sees the networking and reciprocating aspect of the system as one of its most important perks.
“We wanted to introduce the business to a new marketplace,” Farmer said of her decision to join. “BarterPay connected me with a whole bunch of trades and business owners I wouldn’t normally have come into contact with.”
She also notes that the ease with which her transactions are arranged through a BarterPay coach has proven rewarding.
“When there’s a service we’re looking for, they’re right there. They’re like an extension of the team,” she said, adding that her coaches do most of the legwork in terms of making the deal happen.
Essential Products for COVID-19 Recovery
Mike Garside, the Chief Operating Officer of Golf North, one of the biggest golf property owners in Canada, says it’s the symbiotic relationship among BarterPay’s nearly 4,000-business community that attracted his company more than 10 years ago. In that time, Golf North has participated in close to $3 million in barter transactions.
“Anytime you can use your goods and services to not only run your business, but to market it to other businesses that are essentially in the same boat you are, is really important,” he said. “We’re growing our business on both ends.”
In Golf North’s case, memberships have been offered up to earn Barter Credits and, most recently, $80,000 worth have been used to obtain physical distancing stickers to use on their courses, as well as items to help them get through the COVID-19 emergency. These are items they otherwise would have had to use cash for.
“At a time like this, it’s nice to lean on a company like BarterPay to obtain those incidentals without having to cut a cheque,” Garside said.
Grab Overstock and Support the Industry
One of Golf North’s most recent transactions was with Gordon Food Services (GFS), one of the largest privately-held foodservice distributors in North America, to obtain take-out containers for some of their properties where they were offering food pick-up.
GFS is one of the newest members of our BarterPay family, and they were introduced to the system out of necessity.
As businesses started shuttering this past spring, GFS found they had an abundance of overstock. They eventually turned to us to see how we might be able to do to help.
We created a Shopify account for them and loaded the store with their overstock and then members bought — with Barter Credits — what they needed.
In the first month, I’m pleased to say BarterPay was able to help offload approximately $175,000 worth of overstock for GFS. A lot of that was tabletop and disposables that went to restaurants.
The BarterPay system turned what was sitting idle into full value for GFS who can now take their newly earned Barter Credits and use them in the future to offset their own costs.
Another way in which BarterPay helps business owners offset the cost of essentials, is providing interest-free loans that businesses can pay off through the accumulation of Barter Credits.
Vitaliy Sakhryn, who is the owner of The Perogie Bar in Hamilton, Ont., obtained a BarterPay loan to help out with the costs of moving his business.
“You showed up at the right time,” he said. “I’m using my loan to have my hood vent moved, and using it towards some moving expenses, as well as painting and printing.”
Sakhryn said, with the help of his BarterPay coach, he’s also looking into other services he might need to rely on to help get his new location up and running in the coming weeks.
The Perogie Bar’s loan will eventually be settled by providing gift cards from the business to other members of BarterPay.
The BarterPay coach plays a key role in making the system work for all involved. Essentially, whatever you want, put it in a list and they will attempt to line it up for you.
Coaches will check as often as you need them to and if there’s something on your wishlist that we can’t find in our system, we’ll look beyond it.
We’re fully aware of how little time business owners have to devote to adopting BarterPay for the things they need. A BarterPay coach comes alongside you and will guide you through the process.
Contribute to the Community
We also help advise businesses on obtaining the best bang for their Barter Credits. There are a number of ways users can apply them beyond using them to obtain a product or service.
In some cases, they can be given to other members in the system, which can cultivate loyalty among potential customers. They can also be used for a good cause.
In recent years, we’ve evolved BarterPay to further the social responsibility aspect of the ecosystem.
The BarterPay It Forward foundation is designed to allow BarterPay businesses to donate Barter Credits and receive a charitable tax receipt. To date, over 3 million Barter Credits have been donated and redistributed to charities.
Restaurants Canada Members get these exclusive BarterPay perks:
- Reduced activation fee of $195 ($300 Savings)
- T$200 Instant rebate (T$=TRADE dollars) (Covers activation fees)
- Monthly fee waived for 6 months
- Start shopping right away – BarterPay will buy up T$2000 in gift cards/certificates at time of activation
- Inclusion is special TRADEflashes and TRADEpromos to promote traffic