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Kickfin Gives 16" on Center the Best of Both Worlds

Restaurant Group | Full Service

Chicago skyline


16” on Center is a hospitality collective that provides support and services to bars, restaurants, music venues, and food halls.


Chicago, Illinois

Restaurant type

Multi-location restaurant group

Service type

Full service

“Kickfin allows us to tip out our teams immediately after a night of crushing it — without needing to have a bunch of cash on hand across multiple locations. We love it.”

Matt Sherry

Director of Restaurants, 16″ on Center

Meet Matt.

Matt Sherry is the Director of Restaurants for 16 on Center, a Chicago-based hospitality collective that provides services and support to a variety of meeting space concepts like restaurants, bars, music venues, and food halls. Each concept is a stand-alone business; 16″ on Center’s purpose is to provide them with necessary services, resources and support, so they’ll continue to grow and thrive.

Growth brings cash complications

Matt’s first property, The Empty Bottle, opened 27 years ago. It was a bar and music venue, and at that time, there was always enough cash on hand to tip out the band and bartenders every night.

Matt saw it as a benefit to pay everyone on the spot — and of course, his employees appreciated it, too.

“It was very much like, ‘Hey, the band played a great set, the bartenders hustled. Everyone deserves their money for a job well done. There were a lot of benefits to instant cash tip outs, and the positives outweighed the negatives.”

But as 16″ on Center began to grow its portfolio, tipping out cash after every shift to 700 employees spread out over 13 locations became close to impossible to manage.

“When it comes to paying everyone cash, the list of negatives is long: safety, security, time and labor costs, and now with Covid, sanitation.”

Putting tips on payroll helped to streamline the tipping out process, and it added extra layers of security and transparency. Of course, that presented a problem for employees: they had to wait days to get their earnings.

Ultimately, Matt knew he needed to find a solution that was the best of both worlds: paying his employees instantly and while reducing the burden of cash management.

16″ on Center Finds the Best of Both Worlds

Kickfin was exactly what Matt was looking for.

“Prior to Kickfin’s technology, there were two options: either you paid everyone cash immediately, or you used the bulky, complicated tip sheet and paid everybody on paychecks,” Matt said.

So Matt made the switch to Kickfin, and immediately, he was able to reap all the benefits of cash tips (instant payment) and payroll tips (safety, security, accuracy) — with none of the downsides.

Rollout, he said, was pretty seamless.

“Anytime you approach your team and you talk about how their money is going to be distributed, it’s natural for a human being to put their guard up. But we learned quickly that the team was bought into it, and we all thought: Okay, great. We can move this along to all of our properties.”

  • Employees love it: Everyone who uses Kickfin at 16″ on Center’s restaurants, bars and venues loves how simple and straightforward it is. Because their tips are directly deposited into their bank accounts in real-time, employees never have to wait, and managers get hours back in their week.
  • Works seamlessly with current software: Matt found that Kickfin works seamlessly with his current point-of-sale system and payroll software. “It’s really pretty easy. It ties in nicely with everything we use,” he said.
  • Benefits of cash without the risk: Matt is able to continue tipping out his employees at the end of every shift — which was always important to him — but now, his people and his business are safer without the liability of cash tips.
  • Cash is better utilized: Rather than having large sums of cash set aside for tips, that money is now better utilized in a bank account, where he can put it to work 16″ on Center’s business.

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