North High Brewing Opens 5 New Locations with the Help of Kickfin

Success Stories

North High Brewing Opens 5 New Locations with the Help of Kickfin

Restaurant Group | FSR, Brewery

About the company

Founded in 2011, North High Brewing Company was one of only 7 breweries in the Central Ohio area. Ten years later, they’ve expanded into brewpubs and restaurants across four cities and two states.

Notable sites

While they now brew the beer off-site, the Dublin brewpub serves the flagship and the face of the business.

Number of locations

7  (with three more coming soon!)

Service type

FSR, Brewery

“Kickfin makes a huge difference when it comes to staying organized, making transitions seamless, and ensuring that we’re comfortable with how the business is going before we’re onto the next expansion.”

Jodi Skaff

Director of Finance
North High Brewing Company

Key Results

  • Accountability. Cash never goes missing due to disorganized tipping methods.
  • Happier employees. Managers only spend 15-20 minutes a week on tip distribution, and employees can count on their Sunday deposit.
  • Rapid growth. Balanced books allowed them to open five new locations just in the past year.

Meet Jodi.

Jodi Skaff is the Director of Finance for North High Brewing Company, which has expanded from its original Columbus brewery to include six other brewpubs in Ohio and Indiana. Jodi’s oversight of NHB’s finances has made it possible to scale the business quite rapidly — with five locations opening in the past year and three more on the way. 

As an early addition to the craft beer scene in central Ohio, North High has built a reputation for good beer and classic, midwestern-style menus. At all of the many NHB locations, they exclusively serve North High beer alongside favorites like fried pickles and buffalo cauliflower chunks.

Disappearing tips

Before adopting Kickfin, NHB tipped out their 50 employees in cash – and the disorganization was costing them. With that much cash floating around, mistakes are bound to happen, and NHB was losing money every week. 

Jodi noticed the discrepancies in credit card tips and cash tips, but there was no way to recoup the losses and no accountability. “I think for restaurants, tipping poses one of the biggest risks for money to just disappear,” she said. “You pay someone too much cash and it’s gone. There’s no way to really trace it after that.”

Balancing the books with Kickfin

Jodi has her hands full with keeping seven brewpubs’ finances afloat, and missing money was making it even harder. When North High made the switch to Kickfin’s cashless tip distribution, she said the nightmare was over. “It was pretty much a no-brainer because dealing with cash from an accounting and finance standpoint was a nightmare,” she said. “I always struggled to balance the books and they would never match up. And now it’s a very cut and dry system.”

Not only was Jodi happier with the added accountability, her managers and employees bought into the system, too. Instead of having to come in person to collect tips, employees count on Kickfin to deliver their pay on a regular basis without interrupting their days off.

Jodi says the managers like the system because they no longer have to deal with her. “It’s less frustrating for managers because I’m not coming at them asking why money is missing anymore,” she said.

Scaling their restaurant

As North High grew, the company needed to quickly set up gratuity management systems at each new location. Jodi relied heavily on Derek from the Kickfin team to implement the platform throughout their expansion. “We’ve opened five locations in just the past year and it’s been very simple to just let him know we have a new location and he’s on it,” Jodi said. “He’s great, especially because half the time I’m reaching out last minute and need to get things set up and he just makes it happen.”

Not only has Kickfin supported North High’s expansion, but it also makes it easier to switch employees between locations, and hire new employees–especially now that they have 253 tipped employees. According to Jodi, the system is straightforward and easy for employees to get behind. “It’s so user-friendly for everyone, and I never really get questions about how to use it,” said Jodi.

While cashless tipping didn’t directly cause NHB’s rapid growth, using Kickin has certainly made it easier to scale. According to Jodi, “Balancing the books plays a huge role in our ability to expand. If you’re not super organized and keeping finances in check, you can’t expand as quickly as we have.” Going cashless has made finances much clearer for NHB, ultimately growing their confidence in their business and continuing to grow.

The bottom line

“Expanding is hard enough as it is. You need to set up so many new systems, have to make sure the books are balanced, and using Kickfin to easily pay out tips and check for discrepancies makes a huge impact.”

Jodi Skaff

Director of Finance
North High Brewing Company

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Fifty/50 Restaurant Group Saves Managers 2 Hours Per Shift with Kickfin ​

Success Stories

Fifty/50 Restaurant Group Saves Managers 2 Hours Per Shift with Kickfin

Hospitality Group | FSR, QSR, Bar & Nightlife

About the company

Established in 2008, Fifty/50 Restaurant Group is a well-known, fast-growing hospitality group that operates  establishments across the Chicago area.

Notable sites

Fifty/50 manages the famous Second City theater, a comedy club where many SNL alums got their start. 

Number of locations

14

Service type

FSR, Bar & Lounge, Coffeeshops, Catering

“Tip volume is extremely high across our locations. It used to take our managers up to 3 hours to distribute tips. Since we got Kickfin, I’ve seen end-of-night notes from managers saying it only took them 20 minutes to go through the whole closing procedure. That means our managers get hours back in their shift, every shift.”

Kassie Barr

Administration & Finance Director
Fifty/50 Management Group

Key Results

  • >2 hours saved, per shift. Tips are instantly sent straight to employees’ bank accounts — where cash tips would end up anyway — saving managers and employees time (and reducing labor costs).
  • Rapid setup. Seamless, same-day implementation. No hardware, no learning curve.
  • Unprecedented visibility. Every payment is tracked to the penny. That’s a win for accounting, and it has created a culture of trust with employees.
  • Safety first. Less cash on site and on employees has greatly reduced the risk of theft.

Meet Kassie.

Kassie is the Director of Finance and Administration for Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, which owns and manages restaurants, clubs, bars and coffeeshops across the Chicago area.

That includes the famous Second City comedy club — an SNL “feeder” of sorts that has graduated the likes of Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Steve Carell,  Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert (to name a few).

Cash payouts: no laughing matter.

Tip volume is consistently high across all of Fifty/50’s sites, and for years, employees were paid out in cash. Kassie said cash tip payouts had become one of their biggest operational pain points.

“It’s not unusual for our managers to pay out $20,000 in one evening. That’s $20,000 in cash that they have to count out, bill by bill. Managers were spending four hours in the back office working on tip distributions when they could be out on the floor.”

Cash also set the team up for human error: “If you get a couple of new bills stuck together, you could accidentally pay out an additional $300 or $400 that you didn’t intend to,” Kassie said.

And then there’s the risk of having so much cash on site, night after night: Over the years, Fifty/50 has experienced theft across multiple locations.

Employees were feeling the pain, too.

It’s not just the management team that struggled with cash. Because tip distribution took so long, employees would have to stay late or make an extra trip to pick up their tips.

“We have employees that only work one or two days a week, so if they don’t have time to wait after their shift for tip-outs, then they’d either have to come back on an off day, or wait until they work again,” Kassie explained. “Some people are working paycheck to paycheck, and waiting isn’t an option.”

Safety was also a consideration; employees often left work with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in their pockets.

Going cashless with Kickfin.

“We first heard about Kickfin on LinkedIn,” Kassie said. “I remember thinking, ‘This could be a cool thing to try.’”

There were some reservations at first. Switching to cashless tips felt like a big operational and culture change. And ultimately, it was a big change — for the better.

“It can feel daunting to roll out a new system, especially one that’s so intrinsically involved with payroll, reporting — and also the fact that it would have a direct impact on our employee experience,” Kassie said.

But it didn’t take long for all 12 locations to get on board, and employees quickly became Kickfin fans.

“Our employees were actually relieved to have Kickfin. They value their time, and they like having their funds when and where they need them.”

And of course, life with Kickfin is much easier for managers.

“I’ve seen end-of-night notes from managers saying it only took them 20 minutes to go through the whole closing procedure. That means our managers get hours back in their shift, every shift.”

The bottom line

“We’ll be launching four more sites by the end of 2022, and they’ll be added to Kickfin as soon as they’re up and running.”

Kassie Barr

Administration & Finance Director
Fifty/50 Management Group

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Southern Proper Hospitality Eliminates 4 Bank Runs A Week With Kickfin

Southern Proper Hospitality Food

Success Stories

Southern Proper Hospitality Eliminates 4 Bank Runs A Week With Kickfin

Hospitality Group | Full-service

About the company

Southern Proper operates 23 restaurants. Concepts range from elegant southern gastropub, to Spanish tapas restaurant, to coastal seafood.

Location

Southeastern U.S. (Gyspy Kitchen located in Washington D.C.)

Number of locations

23

Service type

Full service

“We used to go to the bank 3-4 times a week, and we’d walk out with $10,000-$15,000 in cash. Now that we’re using Kickfin, I think I’ve been to the bank once in the past month. As an operator, there’s a sense of security that we no longer need to have that much cash on site.”

Andres Sweek - Gypsy Kitchen

Andres Sweek

Managing Partner,
Southern Proper Hospitality

Key Results

  • Eliminated 3-4 bank trips a week
  • Saved managers 20-30 minutes per shift distributing tips
  • Mitigated risk by reducing volume of cash on premises
  • Strongly preferred by employees over cash/paycard tip payments

 Meet Andres.

Andres Sweek is the managing partner of Gypsy Kitchen, one of Southern Proper Hospitality’s 20+ restaurants. Andres was all too familiar with the cost of cash management and the headache of cash tip payouts: frequent bank runs, tedious tip distribution process, lack of visibility and accounting issues.

He knew cash wasn’t going to cut it — so his team signed up for Kickfin shortly after Gypsy Kitchen opened their doors in Washington D.C.

“The thing about restaurants is that a lot of the workforce is made up of younger generations. They’ve grown up with technology that provides instant experiences and a high level of convenience — it’s really all they know. Kickfin is a service that’s in-line with what they need and expect: convenience, speed, safety.”

“So, so easy.”

The SPH team doesn’t shy away from technology. They have software and systems for every aspect of their operations — from POS to invoicing to accounting to payroll.

“Kickfin stands out from the rest of the tech we’re using,’ Andres said. “This, by far, has been the easiest program to stand up and use.”

Andres said they explored other digital tip payment options, but none compared to the functionality and ease of use of Kickfin: no hardware, no integrations required, no predatory fees, and as Andres said: “You really only need two fingers to make it work.”

Employees are (big) fans.

Cash management isn’t just an issue for managers and operators. It’s a problem for employees too — because really, no one uses cash any more.

“They’re not paying with cash. They’re doing everything digitally,” Andres said. “So when we pay out tips with cash, they have to make their own bank runs, too. In the city, they have to take an Uber or walk to the bank and deposit their money before they can use it. It just makes so much more sense to put it in their account where it ultimately ends up anyway.”

The bottom line

By bringing Kickfin to Gyspy Kitchen, Andres transformed their old-school method of tip distribution into an efficient, automated process. He’s eliminated their need for an every-other-day bank run, and the amount of cash on premises (and on his people) is dramatically reduced.

And — importantly — it’s a huge value add to his employees.

“I’m always looking to make my workers’ jobs easier and more convenient,” Andres said. “I do most of the recruiting and orientation, and I’ve incorporated Kickfin into my spiel. New hires are like: Great. That’s a benefit to me.”

“I was excited to jump on Kickfin, and it’s been a great solution for us. The technology aligns with the way things are done today, especially when you think about the younger generations who make up a lot of our workforce. It’s quicker, it’s safer, it’s user friendly.”

Andres Sweek - Gypsy Kitchen

Andres Sweek

Managing Partner,
Southern Proper Hospitality

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Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani Puts People First By Tipping Out with Kickfin

Success Stories

Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani Puts People First By Tipping Out with Kickfin

Hospitality Group | Full-service

About the founder

Fabio Viviani is a celebrity chef, restaurateur, TV host and bestselling cookbook author. He rose to stardom after competing on the reality television competition series Top Chef in 2008.

About the company

Fabio Viviani has created a “restaurant empire,” partnering with other restaurateurs and hospitality groups across the country to launch dozens of concepts.

Number of locations

20+

Service type

Full service, Fast Casual, Bar & Nightlife

“We’ve done cash tips. We’ve done tips on payroll. We’ve tried prepaid cards. None of those keep you competitive with other employers. Kickfin does.”

Shane Farzad

Head of Operations, Fabio Viviani Hospitality

Meet Ken and Shane.

For years, these two hospitality pros have helped drive the success of Fabio Viviani  Hospitality. Shane, Head of Operations, and Ken, who’s launched dozens of restaurants alongside Fabio and on his own, know everything there is to know about restaurant operations.

And — as credit card transactions continued to increase in their restaurants — they knew they needed to resolve their tip payment problem, fast.

“We never had enough cash to pay out tips,” Shane said. “Our managers were constantly going to the bank and coming back with $40,000 of cash in their pockets. It’s crazy.”

Managers also were spending way too much time on the (tedious, error-prone) admin tasks that come along with cash management: counting out cash, divvying up tips, running reports.

But inefficiency wasn’t the only concern.

“Cash was a safety risk,” Ken said. “Our managers were walking around with thousands of dollars in their pockets. Servers and bartenders are leaving with a lot of cash every night after getting tipped out.”

Ken and Shane are the first to acknowledge that hospitality can be a grind. Cash was only making life harder for their team, and they knew it was time for a change.

Kickfin for the win.

When one of their partners told them about Kickfin, Ken says it was “a no-brainer.” They quickly signed up for Kickfin and stood it up across multiple locations.

“There was very little hesitation from our employees,” Ken said. “They were actually more excited than anything else. It’s become the standard.”

Ken and Shane said Kickfin has helped their team:

  • Solve the “cash problem:” All of the hassle and risk that come with cash tips are eliminated with Kickfin. Cash management is streamlined — no more bank runs or tedious tip distribution, and reporting and tracking are simple. Plus: there’s less cash handling, less cash on the premises, and less cash on their people.
  • Keep managers on the floor: Managers want (and need) to be on the floor engaging with guests and overseeing operations — not stuck in the office working on admin tasks, or making trips to the bank. Kickfin allows managers to do the job they were intended to do.
  • Cut labor costs: With fewer admin tasks and more efficient tip payment processes, FVH has realized a cost savings with their hourly workers.
  • Stay competitive with other employers: FVH employees are happy to get instant tips right where they need them — in their bank accounts. 

“Kickfin has become the standard for hospitality tip payments.”

Ken McGarrie

Fabio Viviani Hospitality

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