Case Studies

How Elephants Delicatessen Cut Their Accounts Payable Time in Half

For over 30 years, Elephants Delicatessen has been Portland’s favorite specialty foods & catering company, they are a trusted and integral part of the community fabric. Their taste creations have been reviewed in publications from Portland Monthly to the New York Times. Elephants Deli takes great pride in ensuring that the pleasure of eating is an all-encompassing sensory experience.

Looking for a restaurant accounts payable solution that is simple and efficient

Growing from one to eleven locations, it was tough staying on top of everything. “I knew that we were spending way too much time processing paper and that there had to be a better way,” recalls Elephants Deli’s Controller Becca Peters.

On average, Elephants Deli processes approximately 2,000 invoices a month for the entire business. “We’re not a super large operation,” says Becca. “So we need every aspect of our AP process to be as resourceful as possible.” Prior to Sourcery, most invoices were picked up by delivery drivers and brought to headquarters. Some vendors mailed or emailed their invoices to the corporate office, and Becca would print out and categorize them by hand. There were tons of loose papers and straggler invoices every week. While some payments were automatic, others required a time-consuming manual review process.

After tracking down invoices, reviewing them and finally approving, Becca then wrote over 700 checks per month, stuffed and stamped envelopes, and even mailed some checks. “I was spending a huge amount of my time processing paper checks,” she recalls. “It was quite the undertaking…then on top of it, I was taking calls from vendors and managing relationships as well.” These chores took her personally more than eight hours each week and took away from the other urgent priorities of her growing business.

Streamlined processes through Sourcery

“Every single need, every question is answered – I feel like I’m their only client – I feel that important” says Becca.

Becca knew there had to be a better way to automate the payment process but wasn’t sure there was an AP solution built specifically for the foodservice industry. Down two accounts payable managers, she was in a tough spot and needed answers fast. She took a call from Dain Laverty with Sourcery. “It was important to me to find a partner that was open to understanding our unique needs and a technology solution that was nimble enough to grow with us,” she says.

Sourcery was built to empower people in the food and hospitality industry, with more accurate and modern accounts payable. Clients have real-time insights into their operational costs so they can be financially viable, and focus on doing what they love – creating incredible food and providing great service.

Elephants Deli selected Sourcery to bring new efficiency to their payment process. “I knew we needed to do something and Sourcery was just the right fit,” she recalls. The Sourcery implementation team worked hard with Becca to create a customized onboarding plan that met her needs – from initial setup to training. “It was very easy to pick up – and the learning curve was not steep”. Elephants Deli was fully up and running on the Sourcery platform within two short weeks.

Beyond training, Becca and her team worked with their Sourcery Account Manager, Alexa, to move all their invoices online, with the end goal of becoming completely paperless. Through their personal Account Manager, Elephants Deli had easy access to their questions. “Every single need, every question is answered – I feel like I’m their only client – I feel that important” says Becca.

With the Sourcery platform, Elephants Deli gains a complete, end-to-end AP and Payment Automation solution, one that brings new efficiency to every stage, from invoice intake to approvals to payment execution.

A better process means a more efficient business

“We’ve more than cut our time in half,” she says.

The Sourcery AP solution is a natural fit with Elephants Deli. Now Becca and her team can use Sourcery to make her process a new model of efficiency at her organization. “Our store-level people are now having to look at and think about what they’re purchasing as they go through the categorization process in Sourcery.”

Becca also sees the process as more mobile and flexible now. “If I happen to be out of the office, it doesn’t put the business on hold,” she says. Sourcery’s anytime, anywhere approval process lets Becca and her team review and approve invoices and payments online, quickly and easily. “In the past, I was the gatekeeper,” she says. “Now if I travel, I can still get the payables out.”

Becca highlights the key Sourcery capabilities that help Elephants Deli. Invoice categorization according to Elephants’ chart of accounts. Sourcery’s payment controls interface allows her team to float/hold and/or dispute invoices. Vendor setup and ongoing vendor-relations. One final crucial benefit – The Sourcery dedicated account manager. The account manager knows and cares about, Elephants Deli’s business as much as Becca does. They look after her operations and keep her posted on any changes that they notice.