Do bar payroll higher: Finest practices + bar payroll companies to contemplate

For a small enterprise proprietor managing a bar, operating payroll for bartenders and the remainder of your employees comes with its personal set of challenges. Worker wages are sometimes calculated otherwise due to suggestions, and finishing your payroll tax submitting accurately might be difficult with the modified hourly wages underneath federal and state minimal wage necessities.

Nonetheless, it’s necessary to deal with worker paychecks the best method so you possibly can keep compliant and keep away from stepping into hassle with the IRS.

Let’s break down every thing that you must learn about bettering the performance of your bar payroll system and guaranteeing a clean course of each payday.

What that you must know when managing bar payroll

From worker contracts to setting the best pay interval on your staff, right here’s an inventory of what goes into managing your bar payroll.

Worker contracts

As quickly as you rent new staff on your bar, you’ll have to file a new rent report together with your state. You and your new workforce member may even submit a number of types as a part of the onboarding course of:

Type W-4

IRS Form W-4 helps decide how a lot federal earnings tax to withhold out of your worker’s paycheck. They’ll want to finish this way earlier than they present up for his or her first shift.

Type I-9

Your workforce member should additionally submit the I-9 earlier than beginning their first shift. The shape verifies that the particular person is legally approved to work in america. You don’t must file this one with the federal government, however you’re required to retain it in your employment information.

Check out our article on how to fill out Form I-9s for extra info.

Varieties W-2 and W-3

Form W-2 studies how a lot you might be withholding in payroll taxes from every workforce member. You’ll have to file this paperwork with the Social Safety Administration yearly by February 1, when additionally, you will have to ship copies to your workforce.

Form W-3 is submitted on the similar time. This one studies the overall quantity of withheld payroll taxes out of your whole workforce and the overall quantity of paid worker wages. You don’t have to ship a replica of the W-3 to your staff.

Study extra about payroll taxes (together with a rundown on FICA, Social Safety, and extra) in this article.

Compensation insurance policies

Hourly vs. wage staff

Staff who’re paid a wage obtain the identical quantity every pay interval primarily based on an annual wage. Nonetheless, your bar or restaurant staff doubtless get paid hourly wages, that means you pay them primarily based on the hours they work.

Full time vs. part-time staff

In response to the Honest Labor Requirements Act (FLSA), a full-time worker works 40 hours per week. That is the one legislation that stipulates common workweek hours earlier than additional time pay kicks in.

You’ll be able to outline what full-time work and part-time employment appear like at your small business. Many bar and restaurant house owners use the everyday 40-hour workweek to outline a full-time worker, however others contemplate a full-time schedule to be 35 and even 30 hours in a single week.

Your part-time employees are those who work lower than your outlined full-time hours. The imprecise authorized definition means you will have the pliability to construct your workforce nonetheless you see match.

The primary distinction between part-time and full-time is that part-time workforce members aren’t certified to obtain sure worker advantages it’s possible you’ll supply. So remember to designate every worker clearly.

Fortunately, Homebase scheduling works for each part-time and full-time staff. You’ll be able to schedule as many staff as you want for the week and ship the set schedule to your workforce instantly, giving them loads of time to swap and commerce shifts.

Tipped staff

Many bar staff earn tipped wages throughout their shifts as their major supply of earnings. You may also have a tip pooling system in place, which you’ll be able to be taught extra about in this article.

A tipped worker is a workforce member who often earns greater than $30 in recommendations on a month-to-month foundation. The IRS requires that your staff report and report any tipped earnings of $20 or extra per 30 days.

Beneath the FLSA, it’s possible you’ll depend a share of the ideas {that a} tipped worker earns towards the minimal wage requirement. That is known as a tip credit score. Nonetheless, state guidelines fluctuate — check out your state labor law guide to be taught extra.

Type of fee

You have got a few choices for a way you pay your workforce members. Let’s have a look at the professionals and cons of every.

Paper test

Some enterprise house owners select to pay staff with paper checks as a result of it permits for extra privateness and management. Staff don’t must share their banking info, giving them extra management over who may be capable to entry their accounts. Staff are additionally in a position to management once they deposit their checks and the place.

Nonetheless, staff have a neater likelihood of shedding or damaging paper checks, which might be harmful for your small business because it lists info like account and routing numbers. Paper checks additionally require extra supplies for printing, which implies more cash lacking out of your backside line.

Direct deposit

Paying staff by direct deposit — or the digital switch of a fee on to their checking account — is straightforward and provides your workforce the advantage of accessing their wages sooner.

Direct deposit funds are additionally good as a result of there’s no likelihood of the fee getting misplaced on the way in which to the financial institution.

One con of direct deposit is that you just’ll must pay a setup charge to get began — they usually vary from $50-$149. You might also be charged per worker for every deposit (anyplace from $1.50 to $1.90).

Moreover, your worker’s financial institution might have charges hooked up to the service — or they might not have a checking account in any respect. They must open one earlier than getting paid, which may additionally price cash.

Payroll interval

Bar house owners ought to observe a weekly or bi-weekly fee interval for a bar, particularly if staff are paid per hour. There are professionals and cons to each schedules.


Paying staff on a weekly foundation can construct belief and enhance morale as a result of they’re getting paid extra typically and have easier access to wages. Moreover, hourly staff typically have inconsistent shift schedules and a weekly pay interval could make paying them easier.

Weekly payroll may assist manage your payroll system simply — you possibly can merely select at some point of the week and follow it each payroll interval.

Nonetheless, weekly checks can show to be dearer. Bear in mind these direct deposit charges? Relying in your worker depend, they’ll add up in the event you’re paying your workforce extra typically.


Paying staff bi-weekly, or twice a month, saves time because you’re solely operating payroll twice a month as an alternative of 4 occasions. It additionally saves cash since you gained’t must pay the processing charges as typically.

Nonetheless, your staff are getting paid much less regularly which might scale back morale. Fortunately there’s a contented medium: Homebase affords the chance to present your workforce entry to their wages as they earn them. Learn more here.

Financial institution accounts

It’s necessary so that you can open two separate financial institution accounts when operating a bar: an working account and a payroll account.

Working account

Your working account features as your most important enterprise account. Use this one for bank card transactions and money deposits. It’s additionally used to pay your payments and invoices.

Payroll account

Your payroll account is used just for payroll functions — and nothing else. Solely transfer cash out of your working account to your payroll account earlier than every pay interval, and by no means transfer cash the opposite method round.

7 steps in a primary bar payroll course of

Because the bar and restaurant payroll course of might be tedious and sophisticated, it helps to have a set guidelines which you could refer to every pay interval so that you don’t miss any steps.

1. Calculate the variety of hours for every worker

First, calculate every worker’s work hours for the pay interval. That is carried out simply in the event you use an automated time tracking tool like Homebase.

2. Accumulate tip studies

It’s good to accumulate tipped earnings studies from staff and bank card transactions out of your POS and embrace all tipped wages for every pay interval. In your calculation of wage funds, you have to withhold earnings taxes and FICA taxes on tip earnings.

Embrace the tip earnings and withholding on all payroll tax studies, you’ll must make deposits as required on tip withholding and FICA taxes. You’ll additionally want to keep up information of worker suggestions in case you’re audited.

3. Calculate gross wages for every worker

Gross wages on your bar payroll means the overall quantity of earnings for every worker earlier than any taxes or deductions are withheld. To calculate it, merely multiply their hourly pay fee by the variety of hours they labored for the pay interval.

You’ll base all different calculations on gross pay earlier than reaching the online pay — extra on that later.

4. Issue within the taxes

First, calculate any voluntary pre-tax deductions that have to be taken out of the gross wages. These can embrace:

  • Well being advantages
  • Retirement contributions
  • Commuter advantages
  • Life insurance coverage

Subtract these quantities (if any), after which calculate taxes due. The quantity of tax withheld varies primarily based on every worker’s withholding allowances from their Type W-4. 

It’s time to calculate, withhold, and submit tax funds for you and your staff.

We laid out the need-to-knows in this article, however right here’s the rundown of how a lot that you must take out of gross wages primarily based on the kind of payroll tax:

Employer-paid taxes

  • FICA: Social safety is 6.2%, and Medicare is 1.45%
  • FUTA: Usually 0.6% on the primary $7,000 of wages paid within the 12 months
  • SUI: Price is assigned by the state

Worker-paid taxes

  • Revenue tax: Federal and state earnings tax (the place relevant) fluctuate primarily based on earnings and withholding allowances
  • FICA: Social safety is 6.2%, and Medicare is 1.45%

5. Tally the online pay

Your worker’s internet pay is the cash left over in any case necessary deductions are withheld. These embrace pre-tax deductions, native, state, and federal taxes, and tip credit.

When you’ve deducted all the required funds, the remainder belongs to the worker and is what they obtain on payday.

6. Distribute payroll

Lastly, it’s time to chop and distribute checks or deposit funds to your staff. Bear in mind to first arrange a plan for a way you need to pay your workforce to make this step as clean as doable.

7. Safely retailer the payroll information

You’re required underneath the FLSA to retailer all payroll information for no less than three years. Moreover, the FLSA requires you to keep up information of the way you calculated wages for 2 years.

In response to the IRS, information of employment taxes should be maintained for no less than 4 years after submitting the fourth quarter for the 12 months. These embrace your staff’ Type W-4s and dates of employment.

Find out how to stage up your bar payroll

Following the following pointers will assist guarantee a clean course of and take away undesirable complications come payday.

Verify native minimal wage insurance policies

The federal minimal wage is $7.25 for non-tipped staff and $2.13 for tipped staff with a tip credit score, however these numbers fluctuate broadly primarily based on the state and metropolis you reside in. Check out your state labor law guide to double-check that you just’re following the best guidelines.

Don’t go overboard with additional time

An excessive amount of additional time can harm your backside line, so use it correctly. Homebase helps you make smarter scheduling decisions by alerting you when staff are about to achieve additional time, permitting you to maneuver a number of shifts round and construct schedules according to your labor price targets.

Arrange direct deposit 

Direct deposit is the best approach to pay your workforce and prevents you from having to print checks each pay interval. Get began by accumulating consent and banking info from every worker and submitting it to your direct deposit supplier. This manner your workforce can relaxation simple figuring out their funds will probably be delivered to their checking account seamlessly every pay interval.

Doc every thing

Once more, all payroll information should be correctly maintained and saved to keep away from any undesirable run-ins with the federal government. Be sure you have a strong system in place to take action.

Automate payroll administration

One of the best ways to make sure a clean course of each pay interval is to automate it! Use a payroll software program like Homebase to cut back errors and get every thing carried out on time.

How Homebase simplifies bar payroll administration

Homebase makes payroll management for bar owners simple. Right here’s how.

Handle worker schedules

With Homebase scheduling, you possibly can keep away from additional time with helpful alerts, construct schedules according to your gross sales forecasts and labor targets, and extra.

Calculate work hours mechanically

Tallying work hours? Piece of cake. The Homebase time clock does it for you by immediately changing your timesheets into hours and wages in payroll. It’ll additionally provide help to scale back time theft, and set labor to gross sales targets so you possibly can shield your backside line whereas concurrently breezing by step one of many payroll course of.

Keep compliant

Homebase takes away the headache of sweating difficult compliance duties. We’ll provide help to arrange breaks and additional time on your state, and even calculate, pay, and file your payroll taxes for you.

Moreover, we’ll mechanically submit your new rent reporting and file and distribute mandatory paperwork and likewise retailer your information that will help you keep compliant with the FLSA.

Bar payroll FAQs

What share ought to payroll be in a bar?

Whereas each bar is exclusive and comes with its personal labor share, rule of thumb is that labor prices usually vary from a low of 25% to a excessive of 40% of gross sales.

What’s the distinction between paycheck suggestions and money suggestions?

Money suggestions are given to an worker straight by your prospects as an alternative of by a paycheck. Paycheck suggestions are fees that your prospects add to bank cards that you just then embrace in your worker’s paycheck.

What occurs in the event you don’t report money suggestions?

In case your worker doesn’t report tricks to you, they may very well be topic to a penalty of one-half of the FICA taxes owed on these unreported suggestions. Nonetheless, the penalty may very well be prevented in case your worker exhibits “cheap trigger” for not reporting them. Learn more about the IRS penalties here.


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