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BJ’s Restaurants and Ferry Launch Payroll Card Powered by Highnote, Digitally Disbursing Employee Tips at 200+ Restaurants Nationwide

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ferry, a financial technology platform facilitating automated instant tip payouts and tax compliance for hospitality businesses, today announces the nationwide launch of an advanced payroll card and instant tip payment solution for BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: BJRI), a leader in the casual dining industry. The new card program will leverage Highnote, the embedded finance company setting the new standard in modern card platform management, as its issuer processor. The cards are available nationally among BJ’s Restaurants’ 200+ casual dining locations in 30 states, marking a significant step in providing a same-day tip access and wage payment solution that integrates with a restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) and human capital management (HCM) software, handles secondary tip-outs, and ensures tax compliance.

The news comes on the heels of a continued positive trajectory for BJ’s. In the fourth quarter of 2023, the company expanded margins to over 14 percent, representing an increase of 150 basis points from the prior year. The company managed to do this while investing in enhancements to in-dining experiences and employee-focused upgrades designed to improve net promoter scores and reduce training and overtime costs.

“At BJ’s Restaurants, we are proud to be on the forefront of technology, and we strive to have an openness to adaptation to the latest advancements,” says Jake Guild, Senior Vice President & Chief Accounting Officer of BJ’s Restaurants. “We realized the best way to retain our valued team members, while optimizing operations, is to leverage a modern payment solution. To do that, we sought a high-performance platform that could meet the demands of our business. The results of what Ferry provides for us are clear – since launching this card program, we’ve reduced our cash-carrying costs by over 66 percent and increased both team member and manager retention rates to pre-Covid levels.”

Ferry worked closely with Highnote to develop an innovative card solution customized to the unique needs of hospitality service employers like BJ’s Restaurants. The cards operate using Highnote’s white-labeled API, providing the card issuance infrastructure and program management capabilities that make the hardest parts of card issuance easy to manage. The API seamlessly integrates with Ferry’s intelligent backend, empowering BJ’s to auto-calculate tips for every team member, split tips, and allocate funds across employee accounts without the need for manager intervention. By granting team members access to pay faster and easier than direct deposit or paper checks, BJ’s significantly elevates its employee experience while fostering greater financial security.

"We are so happy to be working with Highnote and customers like BJ's as we scale and empower more service workers with faster access to their hard-earned pay," says Trista Kempa, Co-Founder and COO of Ferry. “Highnote’s infrastructure for money movement across financial accounts made it a perfect fit for this stage of our growth, and we are thrilled to work with BJ’s, who has such a strong commitment to their employees' well-being. We’ve already been amazed by the flexibility with which Highnote operates, which has allowed us to create our own ecosystem for Ferry and our incredible customers like BJ's and their employees.”

“Ferry’s vision is exactly the type of use case for which Highnote was built, and the sophistication of their program has already proven just what high level of performance our platform is capable of,” says John MacIlwaine, CEO and Co-Founder of Highnote. “We applaud the BJ’s team for its forward-thinking approach to employee well-being, as well as the incredible caliber of the Ferry team and technology. With partners like Ferry and its customer BJ’s, we know our platform can continue exceeding market demands for an innovative card issuer. We’ve already seen the positive impact on cardholders unlocking the access to pay they deserve, and we look forward to further expanding this program together with Ferry and BJ’s.”

About BJ’s Restaurants, Inc.
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. is a national brand with brewhouse roots where Craft Matters®. BJ’s broad menu has something for everyone: slow-roasted entrees, like prime rib, BJ’s EnLIGHTened Entrees® including Cherry Chipotle Glazed Salmon, signature deep-dish pizza and the often imitated, but never replicated world-famous Pizookie® dessert. A winner of the 2024 Vibe Vista Award for Best Overall: Multi Unit Chain Restaurant and the most decorated restaurant-brewery in the country, BJ’s has been a pioneer in the craft brewing world since 1996 and takes pride in serving BJ’s award-winning proprietary handcrafted beers, brewed at its brewing operations in four states and by independent third-party craft brewers. The BJ’s experience offers high-quality ingredients, bold flavors, moderate prices, sincere service, and a cool, contemporary atmosphere. Founded in 1978, BJ’s owns and operates over 200 casual dining restaurants in 30 states. All restaurants offer dine-in, take-out, delivery and large party catering. For more BJ’s information, visit

About Ferry
Ferry’s patented technology seamlessly integrates into native POS and HCM systems to allow restaurants and others in the hospitality industry to easily track and calculate tips, split tips among support staff, and offer near-instant cashless tip outs. The Ferry Payroll Card modernizes payroll by reducing the need for paper checks, and offers users a litany of financial benefits including free access to over 40,000 ATMs nationwide, a competitive Cash Back program, and earned wage access for both tips and wages. Headquartered in New York City, Ferry is reshaping the landscape of same-day payouts, where innovation meets flexibility and lasting value. Learn more about Ferry at The Ferry Prepaid Payroll Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license to Visa U.S.A. Inc.

About Highnote
Highnote is an embedded finance company setting the new standard in modern card platform management. Purpose-built to realize customer loyalty and engagement through embedded card experiences, Highnote’s fully integrated tech stack provides every service needed for innovative companies to launch new ways to use card payments. Utilizing the developer-friendly Highnote platform, product and engineering teams at enterprises of all sizes can easily and efficiently embed virtual and physical payment cards (commercial and consumer prepaid, debit, credit, and charge), ledger, and wallet capabilities into their existing products, creating compelling value for users while growing revenue and building a unique and differentiated brand. The company has raised more than $100 million from leading investors and strategic partners and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For additional information, please visit

Issuing statement: The Ferry Prepaid Payroll Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license to Visa U.S.A. Inc.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Media Contact: Jillian Smith,

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