Tidal Cafe 12 months on

Jack Davern


Implementing Profit First and Streamlining Financial Operations at Tidal Cafe

Tidal Cafe, a popular riverside cafe in Launceston, Tasmania, sought the expertise of Steven Mulligan when Jack Davern took over the business in 2022. Steven introduced the Profit First system into their business to improve their financial management and streamline their operations, as well as other strategies to enhance budgeting, cost control, and overall financial clarity.

The Benefits

Steven Mulligan and Number Krunchers worked closely with Tidal Cafe to implement the following solutions:

Profit First System: Steven introduced the Profit First system, which involved allocating funds into different accounts or “buckets” to ensure proper budgeting. This included setting aside funds for expenses, taxes, GST, profit, and more. Jack says this system offers transparency and clarity on what funds they actually have available.

Financial Clarity and Reporting: By implementing the Profit First system, Jack was able to gain a clear understanding of their financial position. “We sit down once a fortnight face-to-face to go over our finances. We chat about how we’re tracking, I bounce ideas off him, see what we can do to improve. Steven’s a very creative person, he’s always thinking about his clients and how he can help improve their business. He’s always coming up with new ideas and brainstorming because he’s so passionate about them and the industry” Jack says. These regular, personal meetings allow for detailed discussions on financial performance, tracking progress, and identifying areas for improvement.

Automated Food Costing and Purchasing: Steven helped Tidal Cafe implement a food costing and purchasing program. This involved researching and implementing software to manage ordering, invoicing, and food costing. The program provides incredible insights into meal profitability, ingredient pricing, and overall cost analysis. “Having Steven beside me to explain things every step of the way meant that we were able to push out this big change in only a couple of weeks. Your average person without this support would have spent months trying to do the same” Jack explains.

Mentorship and Collaboration: Jack describes Steven as his mentor. He provides personal, valuable insights and guidance on business decisions. They meet up regularly to brainstorm ideas and solve problems before they snowball.

Chef’s Palate & Industry Connections: Through his network, Steven facilitated connections with industry experts, such as Chef Bryan who offers their Chef’s Palate service. These connections provided additional knowledge, advice, and support for menu planning and improving operational efficiency. “I was thinking of a certain menu item so I spoke with Bryan and got his opinion. He said it was going to be a lot of work and I thought we’ll just give it a go anyway. It turns out he was 100% right!” Jack shares. “It’s fantastic being able to rely on someone with a lot more experience. It’s an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience that Steve has access to as a specialist in the industry.”

Mystery Diner Audit: Steven organised a Mystery Diner audit to gain objective feedback on the cafe’s customer experience. “Since I’m the owner and the chef, I spend most of my time on busy days in the kitchen. This means I don’t always get to see what’s happening out the front. The feedback we got was good but there were still some things they suggested that we could sharpen up, which I would have never been able to see myself. It was a really nice experience and a good asset to have” Jack says.

Payroll and Time & Attendance System: Steven set up an end-to-end payroll and time & attendance system for Tidal Cafe. This streamlined staff sign-ins, timesheet management, and rostering, making it easier to manage payroll efficiently. “It’s so easy to use and makes rostering so easy to do. With the click of a mouse I can move shifts around and manage rostering easily” Jack explains.


Partnering with Steven Mulligan and Number Krunchers has brought significant benefits for Tidal Cafe:

Improved Financial Clarity: The Profit First system provided transparency and clarity on available funds, ensuring better budgeting and expense management. In Jack’s words, “the Profit First bookkeeping system gives us clarity on our finances so we know what money we actually have, what we’re able to spend and what money needs to be kept for tax, GST and other expenses.”

Stress-Free Tax Time: By setting aside funds for tax payments and other expenses throughout the year, Tidal Cafe has eliminated the stress of tax time. “Profit First means there’s no nasty surprises at tax time. You don’t get a bill with your tax return and then you’re stressed trying to find the money, instead you’ve got it sitting there waiting” Jack says.

Enhanced Menu Profitability: The food costing and purchasing program allowed Tidal Cafe to monitor ingredient costs, assess menu profitability, and make informed pricing decisions to maximise profitability.

Efficient Payroll Management: The implemented payroll and time & attendance system simplified staff management, allowing for easy rostering and accurate payroll processing.

Valuable Mentorship: Steven’s mentorship and collaboration provided Jack with a sounding board, industry expertise, and personalised support to navigate the challenges of running a restaurant business. “Steven is really relaxed. You don’t feel like you’re coming into a business meeting every two weeks where we’re talking percentages and numbers and all these sorts of things – which we can talk about if we need to – but he’s got a real world application because of his experience and passion for the hospitality industry” Jack says. “It’s a really personal service.”

Industry Connections: Access to industry experts like Chef Bryan provided Tidal Cafe with additional knowledge and insights to improve menu planning and operational efficiency.

Objective Feedback: The mystery diner audit facilitated by Steven revealed insights into customer experience and areas for improvement, enhancing overall service quality.

Supportive Team: The Number Krunchers team have helped support Tidal Cafe grow. “I have to give Daniel a lot of credit, he is very on the ball, very quick and reliable. If you’re questioning an invoice or bill, it’s literally one message to him, within 30 minutes you have an answer, explanation or solution.The number Krunchers team is very efficient and very on the ball.” Jack says.


By implementing the Profit First system and streamlining financial operations through the guidance of Steven Mulligan and Number Krunchers, Tidal Cafe experienced improved financial clarity, effective budgeting, optimised menu profitability, streamlined payroll management, and personal mentorship. This partnership allows Jack to focus on delivering exceptional dining experiences, while he knows his finances are in safe hands.

“If you are new to owning a business and aren’t sure how to run the behind the scenes, manage the books, a service like Number Krunchers offers is going to be invaluable for you.

They explain everything so clearly to me, they’re just so willing to sit down and take it step by step so that you’re not overwhelmed. If he threw all the numbers at me and gave me a bit of paper it would just be too overwhelming” Jack says.


Get the Latest News & Updates

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates