My FIXE Story: Matt Tobey (Champagnes Kitchen)

Restaurant Owners Newport Beach
Photo of Champagnes Kitchen cheeseburger courtesy of Wales Communications.

Matt Tobey is a longtime longtime management and hospitality pro who previously worked at Wild Thyme Group in Sedona, Arizona. He was also Director of Operations for Los Angeles restaurant group Urth Caffé, where he helped guide growth and expansion. In 2022, he and chef/wife Winnona bought Champagnes Kitchen in Newport Beach, a local favorite dating to 1989 that the couple infused with an exciting new energy. Matt is the operator-owner who focuses on the front of the house, freeing up his wife/business partner to be creative with dishes and desserts while managing the kitchen. Bringing the business up to date included how they handle restaurant bookkeeping. We’re happy they turned to FIXE. Matt Tobey explained how FIXE helped him and Winnona to better understand their business so Champagnes Kitchen can thrive. 

How did you learn about FIXE?

During the pandemic, I was doing a lot of consulting, and I had someone reach out to me that wanted to start an accounting firm. I said, “Let’s look at what competition is out there.” I stumbled across FIXE as a local accounting firm, and was really enamored by their business model. You know, it was a local L.A. firm, everything was digital, they didn’t outsource their accounting overseas. For about a year, I thought, in the back of my mind, “I would definitely use these guys when I buy Champagnes or whatever restaurant we open.” So I ended up buying Champagnes. FIXE was one of the first outreaches I had in regards to turning the place around.

What factors convinced you that FIXE is the right restaurant bookkeeping platform for your business?

The main one was that it’s a restaurant focused bookkeeping firm. The owner had four restaurants in L.A., knew the challenges that restaurants face, and had a good understanding. Also, all of his team is in L.A. They don’t outsource anything. Everything is digital. He uses the most up to date technology available. It’s not like one of these old bookkeeping firms that have been around for 100 years. They are not out of date, just an up and coming organization, something that really wanted to help the restaurant industry, I thought was really cool.

What was not working with your previous bookkeeping service or software that motivated you to switch to FIXE? What were you using before?

They were doing everything manually or through QuickBooks when I bought Champagnes. I’ve always taken the approach that if you can outsource as much as possible, and focus on guest service within the restaurant industry, that’s the best way to go. When we bought Champagnes, it was definitely an added expense that they didn’t have previous to my ownership, but I knew that it would take a lot off my plate and streamline a lot and give me some analytics, so that I could focus more on the hands-on operation, things that needed to be corrected.

Photos of Champagnes Kitchen cheeseburger and the Tobeys courtesy of Wales Communications.

What value has FIXE added to your business? How have you and your team saved time and money by using FIXE?

Just the instant reporting and having someone managing it for you. That’s the basics of it. But from the way that they will customize reports based off of your business, accounts communication with your account manager, to the one-on-one with one of the execs, if needed. If there’s a problem, they’ll jump in and talk through it with you. They work off of QuickBooks Online. So, it’s a system that’s already established and works great, but they use a lot of other technologies to accompany it that makes sure that your accounting is correct and precise. And it gives you peace of mind knowing that that number at the bottom of the P&L is the right number.

What have you learned about your business by using FIXE? Have you had any revelations while reviewing your reports that have impacted how you do business?

The two main things that FIXE showed me when we came in is that we really needed a new, up to date point of sale. We had a legacy system when I took over, which was a really good legacy system that was super cost effective. But upgrading to a cloud based system – we use Toast now – helped streamline operations. 

The second thing was my meal period breakdown. When I first bought the place, I thought that my dinner service was my worst meal period in regards to return on hours. The restaurant’s three meals, so breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We were really considering closing at 3 p.m. and just getting rid of the dinner service. But after about six months of reporting and analytics and going through the numbers with FIXE, we realized that it was our second best meal period and breakfast was the most fluid in regards to return on investment for hours open.

If a fellow restaurant owner asked for a restaurant bookkeeping recommendation, why would you tell them to use FIXE?

Because they’re restaurant people. They don’t do other things. They do restaurants. They understand restaurants, the owner’s a restaurateur who’s had multiple restaurants. They understand the challenges and focal points that restaurants need and deserve when looking at accounting.

FIXE Restaurant Bookkeeping Glossary

Restaurant bookkeeping terminology can be confusing. Our glossary demystifies terms and acronyms that you’ll commonly find when running your restaurant.