7 Tips To Simplify Your Restaurant Payroll

Author profile picture
Noah Edis
February 8, 2023
A restaurant payroll counter is looking at spreadsheets as she completes payroll manually

Being a restaurant owner comes with its own set of challenges. Between the late nights, escalating food costs, and staffing issues, your restaurant payroll is the last thing you want to worry about. 

We understand. Payroll processing is tedious and can quickly become overwhelming for any restaurant owner. Yet, it's necessary to keep your business running smoothly. The restaurant industry already suffers from high turnover, and late or inaccurate pay only makes it worse. In fact, the typical duration of employment for restaurant workers as of January 2022 was a maximum of 1.5 years, on average. According to 7shifts, some workers only stay a few months! What does this mean? It means that keeping your workers happy is job one, and that starts with paying them well and on time. 

If you're looking for ways to simplify the process of managing payroll at your restaurant, then you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn strategies to streamline your restaurant payroll and make life easier! Let’s get started by answering some commonly asked questions.

What is Restaurant Payroll?

In a nutshell, restaurant payroll is the process of managing and organizing employee salaries, wages, and deductions. It also involves keeping accurate records of hours worked and taxes paid to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

What Percentage Should Payroll Be in a Restaurant?

All expenses related to staffing including wages, payroll taxes, and contributions to employee benefits should add up to approximately 30% of total sales. This percentage can vary depending on the type of restaurant, location, and business model. You can calculate your restaurant labor cost percentage by taking your total labor costs and dividing it by your total revenue. 

How Long Does it Take to Complete Payroll for a Restaurant?

On average, it takes about 2-5 hours per pay period to complete payroll for a restaurant. This can vary depending on the staff size and complexity of the company's restaurant payroll policies.

Can Restaurant Payroll be Automated?

Yes, restaurant payroll can be automated! Automating payroll allows restaurants to quickly and accurately process employee compensation, saving time and money.

How Can I Simplify My Restaurant Payroll?

For eateries of any size, but especially with larger organizations, it can be challenging to manage the complexities of restaurant payroll. But before you start scratching your head in frustration, there are several ways to streamline this necessary process.

Here are our top 7 tips for simplifying your restaurant payroll.

1. Automate Payroll Calculations

Automating your restaurant's payroll calculations will save time and reduce errors. This will also ensure accuracy when calculating taxes, deductions, wages, and other expenses related to employee paychecks. 

Here are just some of the things that can be automated when it comes to restaurant payroll: 

  1. Calculating hours worked for each employee 
  2. Determining pay rate based on job title and hours worked
  3. Generating accurate payslips for employees 
  4. Withholding taxes in accordance with local laws 
  5. Calculating deductions such as health insurance 
  6. Automatically transferring payroll funds to employee accounts 
  7. Managing employee leave and vacation time 
  8. Managing overtime hours and pay
  9. Distributing tips

Automating your restaurant payroll will help you maintain compliance with labor laws, save time, and reduce the risk of calculation errors. You can streamline your payroll process from start to finish with just a few clicks!

Two restaurant workers smiling behind masks chopping tomatoes, confident that their payroll is accurate.

2. Consider Outsourcing Your Restaurant Payroll

Outsourcing is an easy way to simplify restaurant payroll if you feel overwhelmed by the task. Outsourcing an accountant or using specialized payroll software can help remove some of the administrative burdens, saving you time and money in the long run.

The average cost of an in-house payroll accountant can be pretty expensive, with the price for a CPA ranging anywhere from $150-$450 hourly. To complicate matters, finding one with the specific skillset needed for restaurant payroll is often tricky. 

Outsourcing your payroll is a great way to access experienced and knowledgeable professionals for a fraction of the cost. The average fee for outsourcing an accountant is only about $225 per employee per year. 

3. Use Face ID to Verify Clocked Hours

Clocking in with face ID works by utilizing facial recognition software to match an employee's face to clock them into their shift quickly and easily. It also helps reduce data entry errors due to incorrect login information, clock-in times, or potential time theft. 

Employees are known to ask their friends to clock them in when they’re running late or out when they leave early, costing restaurants thousands of dollars each year. With facial recognition software, employees can no longer “buddy punch” for one another. 

Face ID eliminates this practice by instantly recognizing the employee's identity and accurately logging their start and end times. By using facial ID technology in your payroll, you’ll get peace of mind that everyone is getting paid accurately for hours worked, without overpaying for hours they haven’t.

A restaurant employee using face ID on her phone to clock in for her shift.

4. Incorporate a Restaurant Payroll System That Supports Multi-Location

If you operate multiple restaurants, then you need a payroll system that can support multi-location operations. This will make tracking and processing payroll across all locations easier. On top of automating data entry and guaranteeing compliance, a multi-location system can also allow you to:

Centralize reporting

With a single point of access for all your restaurants’ payroll information, you can generate reports quickly and accurately without having to pull together multiple systems or paperwork. You’ll also be able to compare performance metrics across all your locations and use the data to make better business decisions. 

Added Transparency

A multi-location payroll system can provide added transparency, by consolidating data across all locations. Executives can use one login to view payroll data across all locations.

Save time & money

Managing separate payroll systems can be time-consuming and expensive when you have multiple restaurants. A unified payroll system will save you both time and money by reducing labor costs associated with data entry, multiple accounts, and report generation tasks at numerous sites. 

Reduce errors

With a single system to manage payroll data and reports, you can reduce errors associated with manual entry or transferring data across multiple systems. This helps you ensure accuracy while avoiding payroll discrepancies that could cost you time and money in the long run. 

Manage benefits & PTO accurately

Managing employee benefits like paid time off (PTO) and overtime can be incredibly challenging when they work at multiple locations. A unified restaurant payroll system will help ensure accurate tracking of PTO for each employee across all your restaurants, saving you from manually transferring information between different systems. 

As you can see, using a multi-location restaurant payroll system is a no-brainer if you are attempting to keep track of operations at many different venues. 

5. Use an Integrated Approach

To simplify your restaurant's payroll further, consider using an integrated approach where your POS, payroll, and HR systems connect with one another. This will eliminate the need to manually consolidate data between systems, saving you time while also helping to ensure accuracy. This can help you generate sales vs. labor reports and forecasts, allowing you to schedule the right people on the right days to optimize profits. By selecting software that offers a wide selection of integration partners, you can streamline and modernize your entire business. 

A pile of American $100 bills, signifying manual restaurant payroll.

6. Stay Compliant

Staying compliant with all applicable labor laws and regulations is important when managing your restaurant's payroll system. Ensure you understand any local or state laws that may affect how you process payroll and schedule shifts, while withholding the right taxes from employee paychecks to avoid potential penalties or fines. To simplify compliance, look for a payroll system that has compliance assistance baked right in.

7. Transparency is a Must

To create a workplace of trust and respect, be transparent in how and when payroll is processed, how tips are distributed, and explain the legally required tax deductions. This can be completed during onboarding and training, or for best practices, include a payroll section in your employee handbook. Ensure that your accounting and management team are all aware of the policy and abide by it — that means no late payments or scrimping on tips. By outlining and following your payroll policy you can foster a culture of transparency and trust, allowing employees to better understand how their paychecks are calculated each month. 

Streamline Your Restaurant Payroll with Push

Automation and outsourcing platforms are important for making the payment process easier. With Push Operation’s payroll software, you’ll have all of the features above available to you 24/7 in one easy-to-use platform. Our comprehensive, cloud-based payroll system makes it simple to keep tabs on every part of your restaurant payroll.

Push offers you a convenient way to save time with its automated functions, calculations, and data transfers. Book a demo with Push today, and make your restaurant payroll headaches disappear! 

Table of content

February 2023


You Might Also Like

No items found.

Want to know more about how you could work more in on your business?

Save money with this easy all-in-one restaurant management tool


payroll and onboarding


per week



Don't take our word for it, hear what our customers have to say

“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”

-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations

Capterra's review score for Push
G2's review score for Push
Software Advice's review score for Push
Google's review score for Push
G2 easiest to use spring 2022 badge for Push
Easiest To Use
Spring 2022
G2 high performer spring 2022 badge for Push
High Performer Spring 2022
G2 best usability spring 2022 badge for Push
Best Usability Spring 2022
G2 easiest setup spring 2022 badge for Push
Easiest Setup
Spring 2022
Crozdesk trusted vendor high market presence badge for Push
Trusted Vendor
Crozdesk quality choice top-ranked solution badge for Push
Quality Choice

Easily and quickly scale your restaurant with the all-in-one solution

Book a Demo Call!