HOW RESTAURANTS CAN RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES POSED BY COVID-19?

Coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of people around the world. The virus has also affected lakhs of people in India, leading to several lockdowns to curtail the transmission of the virus.

These lockdowns have severely affected various sectors throughout India, chief among these being the restaurant industry. If the coronavirus pandemic lasts for a long period, people may get habituated with the idea of not dining out, which will inevitably take the industry longer to recover.

In India, the restaurant industry has faced numerous challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak: the end of group dining at restaurants, protecting the health of both the employees and the customers, following the safety regulations laid down by the Government, working with a limited number of workers, running expenditure without revenues to match, etc.

Restaurants can address these challenges by actioning the following:

  • Focus on takeaways: Group dining has become a thing of the past due to the coronavirus pandemic. In this situation, focusing on building the business via takeaways would be a wise decision. This would promote social distancing and would prevent the virus from spreading while ensuring operations are sustained.
  • Collaboration: Restaurants can collaborate to benefit from each other’s strengths. This would not only reduce cost but also increase the number of customers (combining the customers of both the restaurants). The merged restaurant can prepare their best dishes (for which they are famous) and focus their efforts on selling these (which would also result in zero wastage). Collaboration would also help in merging the workforce and have more people available for extensive cleaning and door-to-door delivery.
  • Social media marketing: With the onset of COVID-19, traditional marketing wouldn’t prove to be fruitful. On the contrary, it will be expensive. Owing to the lockdowns, people are getting time to surf on social media. Thus, social media marketing would catch their attention. Restaurants will also be able to connect directly with their customers to build effective customer relationships.
  • Opt for online food ordering: Since people cannot go to restaurants, the only way for these businesses to operate would be through food delivery. They can list themselves on Swiggy, Zomato or other food delivery aggregators to increase sales. They can even opt for food orders placed directly through phone calls. This would reduce costs and create a revenue stream.
  • Create a social awareness program: The restaurants can create a social awareness program around frontline healthcare workers of COVID-19 by supplying them food. Apart from the element of social service, this can also be marketed or advertised on social media and other digital platforms to create goodwill amongst customers.
  • Follow the norms laid down by WHO on hygiene: There are operational challenges in the wake of the pandemic. To overcome those, restaurants should maintain hygiene by extensively using hand sanitizers. They should bear in mind that food safety should be their priority. The working stations should be wiped down at regular intervals using a bleach solution. The executives and valets should be cautious during food delivery and opt for contactless payments.

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All You Need to Know about Business Loans for Manufacturers: Must-Read for SMEs and MSMEs

The health of any business, including a manufacturing organisation, is determined by its cash flow.

It is not uncommon for the expenses of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to exceed their income in the initial years. At times, they may have to price their products/services low to attract new buyers. The purchase of new equipment and quality raw materials can also increase the expenses for businesses.

Temporarily holding the operations is not a solution to cash flow problems because, with this recourse, the enterprise will not only suffer a revenue loss but also bear the burden of its fixed costs. These include amortisation, depreciation of assets, insurance premiums, property rent, taxes and utility bills.

A business that has planned to grow in its industry can keep fuelling its production processes and also invest in new manufacturing technologies by using an unsecured business loan for manufacturer.

As the name suggests, an unsecured SME loan does not require the borrowing entity to pledge any collateral. With a secure digital process, it is also easy to request for this funding.

How to apply for manufacturer/machinery loan

A FinTech company is one of the most favourable sources of an unsecured business loan for manufacturer. FinTech lenders often are non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that use digital techniques to receive applications and disburse loan amounts in minimum time.

The advent of these organisations has made the credit industry more competitive. The start-ups that cannot afford to borrow from established banks due to high collateral requirements and other eligibility constraints find it easier to get an MSME loan from a FinTech firm.

All kinds of manufacturing concerns in India, including companies registered as a sole prop, partnership, LLP and Pvt Ltd can apply for these collateral-free loans.

Typically, a digital loan application available on the FinTech’s official website can be filled in less than 10 minutes from any secure Internet connection. To substantiate their credentials, the borrowers also need to upload the digital copies of ID proofs, PAN cards and the documents validating their business earnings. Such documents may be a balance sheet, recent profit and loss statement, the copies of processed income tax and GST returns and the papers comprising information on the ownership of the business.

Within minutes of the application submission, the FinTech sends its decision on the MSME/SME loan applied for, and if this is an approval, the approved loan amount is transferred to the bank account of the borrower in 2-3 business days.

Types of Business Loans for Manufacturers

An unsecured business loan for manufacturer could be a loan to buy machinery or working capital loan. The latter brings funds to finance day-to-day operations and for maintaining the current assets of the company at a higher level than the current liabilities.

An organisation can also borrow any amount – from a few lakhs to over a crore – to start a factory at a new location or to add more product lines to the business. In addition to these, FinTech companies can be approached for a loan to buy raw materials used in the production processes.

It is good to mention the exact purpose of the loan while filling the application because that helps to choose a customised loan product at the right rate of interest.

Understanding the Fee for Loan

While looking for loans online and making comparisons among the available options, prospective borrowers often check only the interest rates. Lured by a low interest rate, they also end up signing up for loans that later prove more expensive.

Some lenders do not mention the total fee of their loans clearly on websites and in brochures. It is talked about only in the Terms and Conditions in tiny letters, which is why it gets overlooked by borrowers. In applying for a raw materials/machinery loan, therefore, a manufacturer must also ask upfront about the loan processing fee, loan insurance premium if any, the involved legal cost, documentation fee and any other charge that would eventually drive up the repayment instalments of the loan.

Although the interest rate quoted by a FinTech company appears higher than the heavily advertised ‘low interest rates’, it makes for a better option. This is because in addition to their interest, FinTechs have a low processing fee of no more than 2% of the borrowed amount, and they do not levy additional charges such as insurance and documentation fee. A FinTech company can afford to do away with such amounts because most of its processes from application to loan disbursal are conducted online.

Ease of Repayment

Bank loans and funds lent by other conventional sources are usually paid in equated monthly instalments (EMIs). However, at times business borrowers including manufacturers can afford to pay back their borrowed sum sooner than the predetermined schedule. The flexible repayment options for an unsecured loan provided by a FinTech company make them suitable sources of such funding.

Conclusively, though making the final choice on a loan source is the prerogative of the borrower, the multiple benefits of unsecured loans put them in a more favourable position than secured loans. Why indeed would anyone want to bring in additional documentation and hypothecate their business assets when credit on easier terms is available from an alternative lender?

In the business of manufacturing, and particularly in the production of perishable items such as eatables that are usually undertaken by SMEs, time is money. Buying of machinery and required raw materials cannot be delayed even if the general cash flow is reduced at any point in time. The gap in cash reserves can be filled by an instant, unsecured loan.

At Capital Float, we have designed an array of unsecured loan products to suit the needs of manufacturers and other businesses. If you have felt the need to inject more funds into your operations, feel free to contact us for the financing that will serve your interests.

Our customer service reps will also answer any of your queries pertaining to your loan application.

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Oct 24, 2018

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A digital prescription for the pharma industry

Pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself our because it is pain, but because occasionally can procure great pleasure.

Oct 24, 2018

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Important GST Definitions, Terms and Glossary

The GST is ready for implementation and brings with it a slew of changes that indirect tax payers and business owners need to get familiar with. Not only are businesses required to register themselves under the GSTN, they must also reassess their business in accordance with certain new terminologies to determine how the GST impacts them. A few of the important GST definitions and the registration process are briefly specified here to help you get started.

GST terms to know 

Certain essential definitions have been mentioned under the Model GST Law, which was first released in June, 2016, and then modified and released again in November, 2016.

Business : Definition: Business refers to trade, commerce, manufacture, profession, vocation or any other similar activity, including transactions related or incidental thereto, irrespective of volume or frequency, as well as supply of goods/ services in connection with commencement or closure of business.

The definition is quite wide and seems to be borrowed from State VAT legislations. Some parts have been modified to include transactions in services.

Place of Business : Definition: (a) A place from where the business is ordinarily carried on, and includes a warehouse, a godown or any other place where a taxable person stores his goods. (b) A place where a taxable person maintains his books of account. (c) A place where a taxable person is engaged in business through an agent.

Since GST is a destination-based indirect taxation system, the place of business is a critical factor in determining the business model and taxation dues of a business that is present in many places.

Time of Supply : Definition: The time of supply is the earlier of the following dates: (a) Date of issue of invoice by the supplier or the last day by which the supplier is required to issue invoice or (b) Date of receipt of payment.

The time of supply is important since it determines the point of taxation i.e. the point in time when goods / services have been deemed to be supplied or services have been deemed to be provided and hence SGST or IGST apply.

Goods : Definition: “Goods” refers to every kind of movable property other than money and securities, but includes actionable claim, growing crops, grass and things attached to or forming part of the land which are agreed to be severed before supply or under a contract of supply.

While the term “movable property” has been mentioned, it has not been defined in the Model GST Law, and one needs to refer to the General Clauses Act 1897 for this. It does not include intangible property such as intellectual property rights (copyrights, trademarks). Also, an item needs to be movable for it to be classified as goods.

Services : Definition: “Services” means anything other than goods.

The GST Model Law clarifies that services include intangible property and actionable claims but does not include money. There are separate definitions for supply of software, works contracts and leasing transactions, even though they fall in the ambit of services. The inclusion of “actionable claim” may create confusion where financial and commercial transactions are involved.

Software includes the development, design, programming, customisation, adaptation, upgradation, enhancement, implementation of information technology software, and is treated as a service.

As far as leasing transactions are concerned, a finance lease would be considered as supply of goods, and an operating lease would be considered as a service under the Model GST Law,

Works Contract : Definition: It is an agreement for carrying on building, construction, fabrication, erection, installation, fitting out, improvement, modification, repair, renovation or commissioning of any moveable or immovable property. Work Contract has been defined as a “Service”, simplifying its taxation procedure.

Supply : The GST has three new definitions related to “Supply”, i.e., Principal Supply, Composite Supply and Mixed Supply.

1. Principal Supply
Definition: It is the supply of goods or services which constitutes the predominant element of a composite supply and to which any other supply forming part of that composite supply is ancillary and does not constitute, for the recipient an aim in itself, but a means for better enjoyment of the principal supply.
It is generally the dominant supply in a bundle of supplies or a bundle of services. For example, in a mobile phone and the charger, the mobile phone will be the principal supply.

2. Composite Supply
Definition: a supply made by a taxable person to a recipient comprising two or more supplies of goods or services, or any combination thereof, which are naturally bundled and supplied in conjunction with each other in the ordinary course of business, one of which is a principal supply.

For example, goods packed with insurance and packing material is a composite supply, with the good being the principal supply. Here, there is a main supply and supporting supply, which normally go together in the course of business and enhance the enjoyment of the main supply.

3. Mixed Supply
Definition: Two or more individual supplies of goods or services, or any combination thereof, made in conjunction with each other by a taxable person for a single price where such supply does not constitute a composite supply.

Take the case of a corporate gift pack that consists of a tie, a wallet and a pen. These are bundled in a package supplied for a single price. None of the items is dependent on the other, nor necessary to be purchased together. This is a case of a mixed supply, where the individual items, which can also be sold separately, are sold together.

Aggregate Turnover : Definition: “aggregate turnover” means the aggregate value of all taxable supplies (excluding the value of inward supplies on which tax is payable by a person on reverse charge basis), exempt supplies, exports of goods or services or both and inter-State supplies of persons having the same Permanent Account Number, to be computed on all India basis but excludes central tax, State tax, Union territory tax, integrated tax and cess.

Reverse charge tax is a system where the recipient of the supply (goods and services), i.e. the client, is liable to pay the tax. Inward supplies are input supplies used as an input for manufacturing the goods or providing the service. Tax paid on input expenses can be adjusted against tax paid on output supplies, through input tax credit. This means that it cannot be treated as a part of the aggregate turnover.

Read more about GST at our GST blog for India.

Oct 24, 2018