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The Best HR Software for Restaurants in 2024

Updated Dec 15, 2023
Best for Performance Management
  • Employee recognition features
  • Employee Net Promoter Score tool
  • Seven-day free trial
  • Employee recognition features
  • Employee Net Promoter Score tool
  • Seven-day free trial
Best for Payroll
  • Automatic payroll options
  • Onboarding checklists and reminders
  • Support from certified HR pros
  • Automatic payroll options
  • Onboarding checklists and reminders
  • Support from certified HR pros
Best for Reporting and Analytics
  • Highly customizable reporting
  • Analytics tools for DEI initiatives
  • Employee survey templates
  • Highly customizable reporting
  • Analytics tools for DEI initiatives
  • Employee survey templates
Best for Employee Onboarding
Rippling HR Software
Rippling company logo
  • More than 500 integrations
  • More than 4,000 benefits available
  • Automated payroll compliance
  • More than 500 integrations
  • More than 4,000 benefits available
  • Automated payroll compliance
Best for Benefits Administration
TriNet
Trinet logo
  • Simple PTO tracking
  • Certified benefits brokers
  • Compensation analysis features
  • Simple PTO tracking
  • Certified benefits brokers
  • Compensation analysis features

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Choosing the right HR solution is critical for any small business, but it’s an especially important choice for restaurants. Food establishments can have high staff turnover as well as complicated payroll and time tracking. HR software can restaurant owners identify staffing trends, streamline HR processes, and mitigate compliance risks. We studied several options to help you choose the best HR software for your restaurant. Our picks are based on key criteria like features, pricing, ease of use and more.

Looking for other restaurant solutions?

Compare the Best HR Solutions for Restaurants

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
BambooHR Software
Gusto HR Software
Paycor HR Software
Rippling HR Software
TriNet
Rating9.4/109.6/109.2/109.6/109.1/10
Best use case

Performance Management

Payroll

Reporting & Analytics

Employee Onboarding

Custom Row - No Data
Free trial

Yes, 7 days

Yes, contact for length

Yes, 14 days

None

Custom Row - No Data
Starting price

Must contact BambooHR for quote

$40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month

Must contact Paycor for quote

$35 per month, plus $8 per employee per month

Custom Row - No Data
Third-party integrations

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, more than 500

Custom Row - No Data
Customer service

Email, phone, online resources

Phone, email, live chat, online resources

Email, phone, live chat, online resources

Email, live chat, online resources

Custom Row - No Data
Review Link
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BambooHR Software: Best Restaurant HR Software for Performance Management

  • BambooHR takes a comprehensive three-pronged approach to performance management through manager and self-assessments, peer feedback, and goals.
  • The platform offers robust reporting tools to help you make informed decisions about promotions and raises.
  • Some performance management features are only available as add-ons or part of the higher-priced Advantage plan.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
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Bamboo HR offers robust performance management features for restaurants. We were especially impressed by the opportunities for self-assessment and peer feedback — two essential areas in maintaining happy employees and teams. We also like that BambooHR makes it easy for both employers and employees to track employee goals. The right performance management tools can help restaurant owners and employees focus on improving the customer experience. For example, you may set specific goals for employees to memorize and sell a certain amount of new menu items, to upsell, or to attract repeat customers.

The platform is easy to use and people-focused from the moment you log in. BambooHR’s platform is highly customizable and can be integrated with other popular performance management tools as well.

BambooHR offers a wide selection of reporting options dedicated to performance management, including organization-wide and team-specific options. We find this reporting to be especially helpful so managers can review trends and data related to performance. We also like that employers have the ability to schedule surveys. This makes it easy to maintain a schedule for review performance and goals — no matter how busy things get.

For example, restaurant owners may want to ask employees about the customer response to any new policies or certain specials. They may also ask employees if they feel their onboarding was sufficient, or if they like how schedules are currently made. Soliciting feedback will help employees feel more engaged.

In addition to tracking and reporting, BambooHR makes it easy for managers to deliver clear and actionable feedback within the platform. The platform is a great way to seamlessly integrate a strong performance management process into your business operations without a large HR team or extensive experience.

Gusto HR Software: Best Restaurant HR Software for Payroll

  • Employers can use Gusto to pay both employees and contractors.
  • All Gusto plans offer unlimited payroll runs.
  • If staff members are located in multiple states, the more costly mid-tier Plus service plan or the Premium package will be required.
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10
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Gusto is a comprehensive, easy-to-use HR platform that can help restaurant owners manage hiring, onboarding, compliance and more. We were especially impressed by Gusto’s payroll services. Gusto automatically files local, state, and federal taxes, which eliminates administrative work and reduces the risk of compliance issues. You have the ability to electronically file, sign, fax and store all necessary documents in your Gusto dashboard. In addition, Gusto offers free financial tools and paperless pay.

Unlike many competitors, Gusto allows customers to choose the payroll cycle that works best for them. Customers can run unlimited payroll cycles, and Gusto also allows for off-cycle payments as needed so you never have to worry about reimbursements, bonuses or other payments outside of your usual pay schedule.

For example, if you’re offering one-time bonuses to employees who picked up an extra shift, or simply need to run an additional payroll due to unique holiday hours, Gusto can support these changes. Payroll processing is essential to every business, but it can be complicated. We appreciate Gusto’s seamless user experience. The employee and administrator dashboards are helpful and intuitive, offering an area for to-do lists and recommendations.

Paycor: Best Restaurant HR Software for Reporting and Analytics

  • Paycor offers predictive analytics, which can help employers identify employees at risk of leaving so they can take a proactive approach to retention.
  • Paycor’s analytics reports are offered in a clear visual format that makes it easy for users across the organization to understand important data.
  • Several of Paycor’s features are only available to employers who purchase higher-priced plans or add-ons.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10
Visit Site

Paycor’s user-friendly reporting tools and features make it our No. 1 pick for small businesses that wish to improve their reporting and analytics capabilities. Paycor’s extensive features allow employers to collect feedback from employees about company culture, new initiatives, and other factors that affect retention and absenteeism. As restaurant owners look for new ways to attract and retain staff, Paycor makes it easy to identify important data points. Paycor’s analytics data can be exported into multiple formats, allowing employers to easily identify trends and make more informed business decisions.

Paycor’s predictive analytics can also help employers identify future turnover risks and labor costs. The platform offers real-time insights, prebuilt reports, and customizable options. One feature we really appreciate is Paycor’s survey templates. They provide one-question pulse survey templates to address specific issues quickly.

Paycor also offers a template for an employee engagement survey and a benefits survey. These templates help restaurant owners cover common employee concerns. Customizable survey templates are also available. Given the increased turnover in restaurant staff, we believe restaurant owners will find Paycor’s reporting, analytics and survey offerings useful in addressing talent attraction, engagement and retention.

Rippling HR Software: Best Restaurant HR Software for Employee Onboarding

Rippling HR Software
Rippling company logo
  • Rippling offers user-friendly onboarding for both employees and employers.
  • Rippling provides one of the fastest onboarding processes we’ve seen — it allows employers to onboard in a matter of minutes.
  • Rippling does not offer a free trial, so you don’t have the ability to try out the product before committing. Given the importance of onboarding, this may be a concern for some employers.
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10

With Rippling’s intuitive and user-friendly onboarding process, small businesses can set employees up for success from day one — with or without a dedicated HR team. Rippling can run background checks, provide offer letters, set up payroll, and process benefits enrollment, among other things.

We really liked how simple the onboarding process is for employees, and appreciated that Rippling’s mobile app allows employees to complete important new-hire paperwork on the go. This can be especially helpful for new hires transitioning from one restaurant to another who may not have regular daily access to a desktop.

Rippling’s Quick Action Springboard enables employers to easily view tasks, create custom reports, or sync third-party applications — all within the Rippling dashboard. These features enable employers to streamline and improve the onboarding process. For example, Rippling helps ensure that employees receive the appropriate handbook and information for their role or location automatically based on data within the platform. And employers can use tasks to serve as a reminder to quickly share helpful information with new staff, such as menu offerings, seating arrangements and any core restaurant policies.

Rippling also allows employers to send pulse surveys to employees to learn more about their onboarding experience. New-hire feedback can help restaurant owners adjust the onboarding process as needed to improve the employee experience. Employees in the service industry face many challenges, such as scheduling and handling difficult customers. Restaurant owners can use these surveys to identify and address challenges early on.

TriNet: Best Restaurant HR Software for Benefits Administration

TriNet
Trinet logo
  • Zenefits makes it easy to shop for plans through the platform or to integrate your own existing plans.
  • Zenefits makes it easy for employees to understand the different types of plans and to select the best fit for them.
  • Businesses must pay for a minimum of five employees even if they have fewer than five.
Editor's Rating: 9.1/10

With some HR software, benefits plan administration is more of an add-on and not a primary focus. Zenefits, however, provides extensive tools to help employers review and select the best plans for their staff. Zenefits has certified brokers and works with many health insurance providers, including Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Many competitors offer fewer provider options, so we consider this a great benefit of Zenefits. Also, if you already have an insurance broker, you can still use them with Zenefits for an additional $5 charge per employee.

The platform makes it simple to administer benefits more effectively through a variety of tools. We really like that Zenefits is dedicated to educating users about the different types of plans, providers and pricing. They offer simple comparisons so small and midsize business owners can make the best decision for their employees. Electing the best benefits can be overwhelming for employees who are not familiar with the different offerings and terms.

Zenefits provides tools to help employees learn more about their benefits options before making a decision. Since serving staff in particular may be part-time or full-time, and may not have prior experience selecting benefits, Zenefits makes it easy for employees to compare available options and make the best choice based on their current needs. The platform is user-friendly for both employees and employers. We really liked the ease of navigation and accessibility tools, such as VoiceOver.

Costs of HR Software for Restaurants

The cost of HR software can depend, in part, on add-ons and upgrades. Some offer a clear per employee, per month (PEPM) base price, which can be helpful in predicting future costs. Zenefits, for example, offers a PEPM price. Employers may add on features, such as payroll or advisory services, for an additional PEPM price. Others, such as BambooHR, offer a flat monthly rate for businesses with 20 or fewer employees. This transparent pricing is especially beneficial for smaller restaurants. Other solutions, such as Rippling, are less transparent and require that you meet with a representative to learn more. They do offer flexibility and customization, however.

Add-on fees are not uncommon when searching for the best HR software. For example, with BambooHR and Zenefits, payroll is considered an add-on. If your restaurant has the staff to efficiently manage payroll, you don’t need to worry about this. Gusto offers expert HR services support for an additional PEPM charge. This hands-on support could be extremely beneficial for restaurant owners who have a small or less experienced HR staff. Ultimately, restaurant owners must determine what best suits their needs. While some level of customization is nice, you should make sure you aren’t paying for services you don’t need.

TipTip
As you meet with representatives and explore different product demos, consider what you actually need to accomplish your specific business goals. The restaurant industry has specific HR concerns that others do not, and it’s important to take those into account. Ask how pricing might change as your business grows, and consider what HR functions will help you best support and retain staff at all levels.

Features of HR Software for Restaurants

A feature-rich restaurant HR software solution will help business owners eliminate administrative work, improve efficiency, and support employees. Here are some key features to seek out in great HR software for restaurants.

Reporting and Analytics to Address Employee Needs

HR drives business outcomes. And in an industry with high turnover, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of HR trends. Strong reporting and analytics can help restaurant owners make more informed workforce decisions. They can help identify employee wants, needs and challenges so they can be addressed in a timely manner. The service industry can be stressful, so identifying key issues among staff quickly via surveys and data can help improve the employee experience.

Mobile Access for Nondesk Employees

Ease of access should be an important consideration when selecting HR software.

Restaurant employees are less likely to be sitting at a desk, so on-the-go access to HR functions, such as benefits and payroll, is especially important. Having the ability to view and edit without a desktop can improve the HR experience for both employers and employees.

Customization Options to Improve Efficiency and Employee Experience

Not all HR software is fit for every company or industry. Customizations for functions like onboarding, reporting, and even the platform’s dashboard can greatly improve the experience for both employers and employees. Customization can help minimize human errors, increase employee satisfaction, and reduce turnover — all common problems in the fast-paced restaurant industry.

Template Libraries for Quick Onboarding, Training and More

Some HR software solutions offer template libraries for various documents, such as reports, surveys and offer letters. Templates make it easy for business owners with less HR experience to confidently create and use the documents they need most. Many onboarding documents and training information for restaurants will be similar for all staff. Having easy templates available for quick use is helpful in such a fast-paced work environment.

Third-Party Integrations Make Managing Employee Data Easy

Third-party integrations help you seamlessly manage multiple business operations. Integrations can help identify trends and important data points without having to run multiple reports across different platforms. For example, if an HR solution doesn’t include time tracking, a third-party integration can help you better record and review time as it relates to benefits, PTO and performance goals. This is especially important for restaurant owners and HR leaders given the mix of full-time and part-time staff.

Customer Service When You Need It

Given the importance of HR functions, it’s essential to have access to customer support when you need it and in the format that works best for you. The majority of HR software providers offer email and live chat, but you may find it beneficial to have phone service available as well — especially in a restaurant environment. Because it can be difficult to attract and retain top talent in the service industry, it’s critical that restaurant owners have access to the kind of HR support they need when they need it, whether that’s 24/7 or just during business hours.

Before you commit to a provider, be sure they can meet your customer service needs when and how you prefer.

Dedicated Account Manager Who Understands the Industry

Customer service is important, but a dedicated account manager means you always have one person who knows your business and is ready to address your most pressing HR issues. Continuity of service and support is one of the biggest benefits of having a single dedicated account manager. Given the challenges restaurant owners face, it can be beneficial to have a dedicated account manager who understands the industry, as well as the specific challenges of your restaurant.

Bottom LineBottom line
Different HR softwares offer different features. When trying to select the one that’s best for your restaurant, take into account your current needs and business goals. But don’t forget to factor in what you may also want as your restaurant grows.

Choosing a HR Software for Restaurants

Take the following steps to decide which HR software is best for your restaurant operation.

1. Conduct market research.

Most HR software vendors provide information on features and pricing on their website. However, this can be a lot of information to review and may be overwhelming if it’s your first time searching for an HR software solution. Search online for up-to-date comparison guides so you can determine how different solutions compare to one another. We also recommend reading online reviews through websites like Trustpilot.

Look for vendors who serve other restaurants. You can typically find a significant list of customers under a section on the vendor website labeled Case Studies or Testimonials. If you can’t find any, consider the features that will be most beneficial in your own restaurant. If you are uncertain about whether or not a vendor can meet your needs, make note of the features you are most concerned about so you can ask the vendor directly. It’s important to look for the right customer service as well. We really appreciate vendors that offer 24/7 customer service and dedicated account managers, but you may not need this level of support.

Compile a list of any questions you have for the vendors you are most interested in working with. If they do not have a clear pricing structure available on their website, include questions about pricing as well.

2. Contact vendors for demos.

Once you’ve determined which vendors you are most interested in, reach out to schedule a demo with each one. A demo will allow you to see the software in real time. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about add-ons, integrations and customizations. As you walk through each demo, consider how the features vary and what you like or dislike.

We also recommend that you sign up for any free trials offered. This will allow you to test out the usability of each platform and dashboard. Since you and your employees will be interacting with the platform regularly, it’s important you find it intuitive or very easy to learn. As you work through the free trial, write down any additional questions you may have. For example, you may want to know how to complete a certain task or where to find templates and other resources. Write down these questions so you can review them with your contact during — or at the completion of — your free trial.

3. Evaluate pricing.

In some cases, vendors will provide clear pricing on their website. In others, you will need to request a pricing quote after you’ve determined what features you will need. Carefully compare what each package or plan includes. You want to ensure you receive the most bang for your buck. In addition, confirm that any features essential to your HR operations are included or available at an additional rate.

TipTip
As you evaluate pricing, remember to take into account the cost of add-ons and future price increases as they relate to staff size. If you understand your software needs and your goals for growth, you can plan ahead and avoid any budget issues.

Advantages of HR Software for Restaurants

Below are some key ways in which HR software for restaurants can benefit your operations and bottom line.

  • Better HR data insights. Using the right HR software can help you better keep track of talent acquisition efforts, benefits use, payroll and performance management. Having good data helps restaurant owners make more informed business decisions, which can lead to happier employees and greater profits.
  • Reduced administrative time. Many HR functions take a significant amount of administrative time. HR software can eliminate some of the time required to file taxes, onboard new employees, or support benefits enrollment. This is especially helpful given the fast pace of the restaurant industry.
  • Expert support. Restaurant owners and HR practitioners will appreciate the support provided by the right HR software. It can help eliminate compliance issues and automate essential processes sometimes impacted by human error.
  • Improved user experience and accessibility. Most HR software solutions now include access to a mobile app. Since restaurant employees don’t spend time sitting at a desktop, it’s helpful to have a mobile app that allows them to complete documents, update benefits information, or set performance goals on the go. Restaurant owners will appreciate the ability to maintain one primary dashboard for HR.
  • Add-ons and integrations. Third-party applications can help improve your HR software solution. For example, you might integrate services like background checks, employee mental health support, or employee recognition awards. Integrating other tools can help restaurant owners streamline processes and track important information in one place.

HR Software for Restaurants FAQs

Ultimately, it’s up to each restaurant owner to determine their HR needs and budget. However, the right HR software can potentially help you save on HR staff and administrative time. The reporting and analytics included with some HR software can also help you make more informed staffing decisions. Together, these benefits can help businesses increase productivity and employee engagement while reducing costs over time.

Some HR software includes scheduling tools, while others may consider scheduling an add-on. In addition, you may find software that integrates with a scheduling system you already use.

The setup time for HR software can depend on the provider. Setup may also take more or less time based on the number of employees you have and any add-ons or integrations you may need. Some software providers say that setup can be complete within a few hours, while others may take up to two weeks.

HRIS stands for human resources information system. An HRIS helps companies manage employee data. HR software is more comprehensive. It enables companies to store employee data and manage HR operations, such as onboarding, payroll and benefits administration, in one place.

Casey Conway headshot
Casey Conway
Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Casey Conway is an HR expert and communications consultant specializing in employee experience and internal company communications. Casey brings experience training leaders on how to develop and administer employee recognition programs designed to improve employee morale and engagement. She has also helped develop and lead company-wide wellness initiatives that provide employees with the resources to care for their physical and mental health. In addition to her experience as a business consultant, Casey has more than 15 years of experience as an HR technology writer. In that time, she has covered tools like HR software, as well as outsourcing options like Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs).
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