Since restaurant owners often have to wear many hats, the best payroll solutions for restaurants often include tools that go beyond calculating wages and taxes. These are the features you should look for to help you run your restaurant smoothly.
Many providers offer restaurants flexibility with unlimited payroll runs while others only allow certain pay schedules, such as biweekly or monthly. Consider how often you need to pay employees and if you might need to run irregular payroll like paying contracted staff for a party or catering event. Most restaurants will need a solution that automatically calculates multiple pay rates for their floor staff, kitchen workers and managers. Busy restaurants will appreciate that most providers save you time and worry with automated payroll runs.
When an employee is subject to wage garnishment
, the restaurant has to comply with state laws fully and accurately. Some payroll services, such as Paychex and QuickBooks, ensure you are compliant by handling wage garnishment for you.
Restaurants are unique in that many employees are paid by tips, which presents unique challenges. A good payroll service will calculate tips automatically, withhold the appropriate taxes and make sure that federal and state minimum wage laws are met.
Most payroll services included some basic HR features, namely employee onboarding tools that let you or your staff enter information related to tax withholding and benefits directly into the platform. Some include expanded HR tools for compliance, background checks, training and employee handbooks. A few offer a dedicated HR contact person, which could come in handy for big restaurants that typically don’t have HR staff. We found that advanced HR tools are usually restricted to premium plans or paid add-ons.
Restaurants are often subjected to more inspections and oversight than other small businesses. Running background checks
can guarantee you’re only hiring qualified employees.
Time and Attendance
Time and attendance tools make keeping track of hours worked painless and can save you a lot of time when running payroll. However, not all solutions offer this feature and those that do usually include it as a paid add-on or part of a premium package. If your restaurant needs time and attendance software, look for a provider that goes beyond syncing hours worked with payroll. The best solutions also send overtime notifications, allow for paid time off (PTO) management and track regulatory compliance.
Most payroll services we reviewed include employee benefits administration, although this feature sometimes is restricted to premium plans. As you onboard employees, you can offer them health insurance, 401(k) plans, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and commuter benefits. Some providers don’t offer coverage in all 50 states, so check to see if benefits are available where your restaurants are located.
Payroll services save you time by calculating and filing your local, state and federal payroll taxes automatically. They also will prepare and send year-end forms like W-2s and 1099s to your employees that can be either printed or accessed via an app. Some providers will send the forms themselves but it might cost extra. Most services also guarantee that they will pay all fines for any tax calculation error, but some, such as QuickBooks, only offer this perk with premium plans and cap the penalty limit. The best services alert you to any irregularities before filing so you can make sure your taxes are accurate.
A busy restaurant owner needs efficient business solutions that allow more time on the floor ensuring customer satisfaction. Most payroll services offer integrations that can sync data automatically to help run payroll quickly and painlessly. Some offer limited integrations while others work with hundreds of software solutions. Double-check that the payroll service you choose integrates with the time and attendance and accounting software that you already use.
Nowadays most employees expect payments via direct deposit and every payroll provider we reviewed offers this. Some, like QuickBooks offer same-day or next-day deposit standard, while others offer speedier service for an additional price. Restaurant owners might find that some staff prefer to be paid by check or pay cards and we were glad to see that most services also offer these payment methods.
An online and mobile employee portal allows your staff to keep track of the hours they’ve worked and access year-end tax forms. Some can even let employees check in and out of work and request time off.
Restaurants, especially ones that operate seasonally, can have a high turnover rate, which means owners spend a lot of time filling out required state new-hire paperwork. Many payroll services automate this process, making sure all the appropriate forms for the state you do business in are filed promptly.
Understanding how payroll works
can be complicated for restaurant owners. The best payroll services include features that make calculating wages, paying employees and filing taxes a breeze. Many also include timesaving HR and time management functions.