Turning a cult market following into 8 venues and counting
That darling of old school Balmain, the Cat and Fiddle Hotel, had its doors firmly shut around 2017, but new owners Chris Matthews and veteran hotelier Richard Wynne had other ideas. We caught up with Chris and the Fiddle’s restaurant manager, Sue Whittingham, to hear more about how they’re settling into the new digs with Tyro Payments.
Champing at the bit
Generations of Aussies have spent more than their fair share of time at the Cat and Fiddle since it was built back in 1930, and the pub has undergone many a genre-change through the years. From after-work local to live music venue to now – friendly gastro pub with a Mediterranean twist.
“We’ve got two distinct offerings, one in the bistro and one in the main bar. And the other reason why people come here is because it is an iconic pub; all the locals have been waiting for us to re-open it,” said Chris.
True money manager
In addition to knowing a thing or two about hotel acquisitions – Chris co-owns the deco-inspired Alexandra Hotel in Leura – he also knows finance inside out. In the mid 1980’s he kickstarted a successful accounting career straight out of high school, a career still going strong in the background today.
The accountant in him shines through when talking Tyro:
“On the Tyro App I’ve got both pubs on there at the same time, so it actually gives me a really good idea of which pub’s trading better or which pub’s…you know, how they’re going.”
“I can be anywhere in the world and know what settlements are going to be. So that allows me to manage my cashflow”.
Sensible food choices
Chris took no chances when it came to core business – “our customers come here mainly because of the food”, he said. Restaurant manager Sue Whittingham agreed, sharing her thinking behind the varied menu at Rita’s Bar and Kitchen:
“All of our dishes are designed to share. And so it’s really bringing that Mediterranean family feel and getting people chatting around the dinner table.”
On those tables of six sharing upwards of ten dishes at a time, that’s where Sue’s team heavily rely on Tyro’s Pay@Table and split bill functions to keep the peace.
“My team have iPads that they use at the table….We take the Tyro system to the table when they’re ready to pay, we pop in our table number, and everything is all just generated, and it’s all completely integrated throughout the whole floor.”
Did you know?
Rita’s Bar and Kitchen got its name from the original Rita – herself a licensee/owner of many a fine establishment in Sydney, including The Star in Balmain, which she renamed in 1976 to none other than the Cat and Fiddle Hotel.
Systems better together
We asked Sue to lay it out for us – could she speak to one thing that’s proving to be stand out in terms of how Tyro is working for her?
“The Tyro EFTPOS system, for us, because it’s fully integrated.”
By integrated she’s about talking their Point-of-Sale system, IdealPOS:
The menu is plugged into Ideal POS, the team takes orders by iPad, and when diners are finishing up, it’s back to the table with Tyro EFTPOS to settle the bills with Pay@Table.
From there, transactions for money-man Chris appear on his Tyro App wherever he is 24/7, and settlements can be paid overnight between 5pm-8am into their Tyro Bank Account. “It’s completely, completely integrated and seamless…We don’t have to think about it. The system has done all of that for us and it’s easy,” said Sue.
Kudos to the Cat & Fiddle
Bringing a gorgeous old pub back from less than glorious days has been hard work for all. But just reading the social media reviews, you can see that they’re onto something special. Maybe we can help you too? Read more here