Fati Mixha is the owner of Fairview Farmers, a brunch spot that sees high demand in Fairview, Texas. Along with his family, he also runs Jessica’s Restaurant, a Chicago-style diner in Roscoe, Illinois. His family has been in the restaurant business since 1986 when they first opened Jessica’s, and it’s a legacy he proudly carries on. With the introduction of Fairview Farmers, Mixha created an establishment that works with local farmers to make everything from scratch, providing American-style fare with healthier, organic options.
Daily bank runs and till discrepancies: two sides of the same cashflow coin
While Fairview Farmers and Jessica’s are both family-owned, Mixha quickly saw differences in customers’ payment preferences when he opened Fairview Farmers in 2021.
“In this new, big, suburban market, we were seeing 93-94% credit card payments,” Mixha said. This translated into daily bank runs and cash flow monitoring for himself and his staff, which took him away from more important aspects of running the business.
While Fairview Farmers’ lack of cash became time-consuming, Jessica’s had the opposite problem: since it has been open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for over 30 years, and many loyal patrons do still pay in cash, the register had lots of money coming in and out all day. With so many hands in the till, Mixha also found that it was consistently short.
“You can barely track it when there's that much money coming in and out,” Mixha explains. “Even if you have cameras in place, how can you tell if someone is tipping out the right amount of money to the bussers or servers?”
Mixha said that the register was “consistently short $100 each day” and that these constant discrepancies were the other side of the cashflow coin that prompted him to find a cashless tipping solution.
The search for a seamless cashless tipping solution
Mixha describes his restaurant connections as “one big, extended family” so initially, he tried to ask his network about their own processes for tip payouts. He found that most people were experiencing the same pitfalls he was, having to make constant trips to the bank or write checks for their servers’ tips, which delayed their gratification.
“Some restaurants go about cashless tipping by adding tips to their employees’ paychecks—those restaurants have high turnover. They can’t retain employees to the same level. Their employees aren’t as happy. So that was out of the question; no server wants that.”
Mixha knew he needed a solution that would prioritize fast payments for his staff. As he began to research the different options, he quickly realized that not all solutions were created equally.
“With [other offerings], you have to deposit the money first and then that’s a bank account and it pulls from there; whereas with Branch, it withdraws whatever you use the next day. I didn’t like the idea of having another bank account, worrying about always having it topped up sufficiently every single time.”
Mixha did his research, and found that Branch didn’t require pre-funding or escrow. He was also impressed by the look and feel of the app for his employees. “The end user experience and interface was just a lot better,” he says. Shortly thereafter, he was up and running with Branch, tipping out his staff digitally at the end of each day and spending less time worrying about constant cash flow monitoring.
Same-day tipping and better bookkeeping
Now that Mixha utilizes Branch at both restaurants, he can tip out all of his staff at both locations at the end of each day—a point he is quick to note is responsible for keeping good retention levels at both locations.
“The instant gratification of getting their money the same day they work is huge for servers,” he says. “That’s how you retain good servers; they want whatever they’ve earned that day.”
As a result of implementing Branch, Mixha has been able to streamline operations and make the payments process easier on everyone involved. Plus, he notes that utilizing Branch has allowed some of his employees access to financial services they may not have had in the past.
“Some of our previously underbanked employees, they had these accounts that might charge them a bunch of fees just to keep their account open. They just use Branch now and it’s been a positive change in their lives. They can get paid and use their money instantly—even if I’m not in town.”
The till discrepancies at Jessica’s have also stopped. “The register has been right ever since we started using Branch,” Mixha explains, since there are fewer hands in the till and Branch makes it easy to digitally tip out employees at the end of each shift. As a result, Jessica’s has saved an average of $3,000 a month—allowing for cost-savings and all-around peace of mind. “My life has gotten easier, and all our manager’s lives have gotten easier,” Mixha says.