Do bar payroll higher: Greatest 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 ideas, and finishing your payroll tax submitting appropriately might be sophisticated with the modified hourly wages below federal and state minimal wage necessities.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to deal with worker paychecks the fitting method so you possibly can keep compliant and keep away from entering into bother with the IRS.

Let’s break down all the things it’s worthwhile to find out about bettering the performance of your bar payroll system and guaranteeing a clean course of each payday.

What it’s worthwhile to know when managing bar payroll

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

Worker contracts

As quickly as you rent new staff to your bar, you’ll have to file a new rent report along with your state. You and your new crew member can even submit just a few types as a part of the onboarding course of:

Kind W-4

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

Kind I-9

Your crew member should additionally submit the I-9 earlier than beginning their first shift. The shape verifies that the individual is legally licensed to work in the US. 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 methods to fill out Kind I-9s for extra data.

Varieties W-2 and W-3

Kind W-2 studies how a lot you’re withholding in payroll taxes from every crew 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 crew.

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

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

Compensation insurance policies

Hourly vs. wage staff

Workers who’re paid a wage obtain the identical quantity every pay interval primarily based on an annual wage. Nonetheless, your bar or restaurant staff seemingly receives a commission hourly wages, which means you pay them primarily based on the hours they work.

Full time vs. part-time staff

In keeping with 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 extra time pay kicks in.

You may outline what full-time work and part-time employment seem like at your enterprise. Many bar and restaurant house owners use the standard 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 staff are those who work lower than your outlined full-time hours. The imprecise authorized definition means you’ve the pliability to construct your crew nevertheless you see match.

The principle distinction between part-time and full-time is that part-time crew members aren’t certified to obtain sure worker advantages you could provide. So remember to designate every worker clearly.

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

Tipped staff

Many bar staff earn tipped wages throughout their shifts as their main supply of earnings. You may actually have a tip pooling system in place, which you’ll study extra about on this article.

A tipped worker is a crew member who commonly earns greater than $30 in tips about a month-to-month foundation. The IRS requires that your staff report and report any tipped earnings of $20 or extra per thirty days.

Below the FLSA, you could depend a proportion of the guidelines {that a} tipped worker earns towards the minimal wage requirement. That is referred to as a tip credit score. Nonetheless, state guidelines range — check out your state labor legislation information to study extra.

Type of cost

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

Paper examine

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

Nonetheless, staff have a neater likelihood of dropping or damaging paper checks, which might be harmful for your enterprise because it lists data like account and routing numbers. Paper checks additionally require extra supplies for printing, which implies extra money lacking out of your backside line.

Direct deposit

Paying staff by direct deposit — or the digital switch of a cost on to their checking account — is simple and provides your crew the advantage of accessing their wages quicker.

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

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

Moreover, your worker’s financial institution could 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 might additionally price cash.

Payroll interval

Bar house owners ought to observe a weekly or bi-weekly cost interval for a bar, particularly if staff are paid per hour. There are execs 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 usually and have simpler entry to wages. Moreover, hourly staff usually have inconsistent shift schedules and a weekly pay interval could make paying them easier.

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

Nonetheless, weekly checks can show to be costlier. Keep in mind these direct deposit charges? Relying in your worker depend, they will add up for those who’re paying your crew extra usually.


Paying staff bi-weekly, or twice a month, saves time because you’re solely operating payroll twice a month as a substitute of 4 instances. It additionally saves cash since you received’t must pay the processing charges as usually.

Nonetheless, your staff are getting paid much less regularly which may cut back morale. Fortunately there’s a cheerful medium: Homebase presents the chance to present your crew entry to their wages as they earn them. Study extra right here.

Financial institution accounts

It’s vital 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 capabilities as your foremost 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 complex, it helps to have a set guidelines that 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 completed simply for those who use an automated time monitoring software like Homebase.

2. Acquire tip studies

You have to gather tipped earnings studies from staff and bank card transactions out of your POS and embody all tipped wages for every pay interval. In your calculation of wage funds, you could withhold earnings taxes and FICA taxes on tip earnings.

Embody 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 ideas in case you’re audited.

3. Calculate gross wages for every worker

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

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

4. Issue within the taxes

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

  • 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 Kind W-4. 

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

We laid out the need-to-knows on this article, however right here’s the rundown of how a lot it’s worthwhile to 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: Sometimes 0.6% on the primary $7,000 of wages paid within the yr
  • SUI: Fee is assigned by the state

Worker-paid taxes

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

5. Tally the web pay

Your worker’s internet pay is the cash left over in spite of everything obligatory deductions are withheld. These embody pre-tax deductions, native, state, and federal taxes, and tip credit.

When you’ve deducted all the required funds, the remaining 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. Keep in mind to first arrange a plan for a way you need to pay your crew to make this step as clean as doable.

7. Safely retailer the payroll information

You’re required below the FLSA to retailer all payroll information for a minimum of three years. Moreover, the FLSA requires you to keep up information of the way you calculated wages for 2 years.

In keeping with the IRS, information of employment taxes should be maintained for a minimum of 4 years after submitting the fourth quarter for the yr. These embody your staff’ Kind W-4s and dates of employment.

Learn 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.

Test 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 range broadly primarily based on the state and metropolis you reside in. Check out your state labor legislation information to double-check that you simply’re following the fitting guidelines.

Don’t go overboard with extra time

An excessive amount of extra time can damage your backside line, so use it properly. Homebase helps you make smarter scheduling choices by alerting you when staff are about to achieve extra time, permitting you to maneuver just a few shifts round and construct schedules in step with your labor price targets.

Arrange direct deposit 

Direct deposit is the simplest solution to pay your crew and prevents you from having to print checks each pay interval. Get began by accumulating consent and banking data from every worker and submitting it to your direct deposit supplier. This fashion your crew can relaxation straightforward realizing their funds will probably be delivered to their checking account seamlessly every pay interval.

Doc all the things

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 to have a stable system in place to take action.

Automate payroll administration

The easiest way 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 all the things completed on time.

How Homebase simplifies bar payroll administration

Homebase makes payroll administration for bar house owners straightforward. Right here’s how.

Handle worker schedules

With Homebase scheduling, you possibly can keep away from extra time with helpful alerts, construct schedules in step with 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 assist you cut 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 sophisticated compliance duties. We’ll assist you arrange breaks and extra time to 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 vital paperwork and in addition retailer your information that will help you keep compliant with the FLSA.

Bar payroll FAQs

What proportion ought to payroll be in a bar?

Whereas each bar is exclusive and comes with its personal labor proportion, an excellent 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 ideas and money ideas?

Money ideas are given to an worker immediately by your clients as a substitute of by a paycheck. Paycheck ideas are costs that your clients add to bank cards that you simply then embody in your worker’s paycheck.

What occurs for those who don’t report money ideas?

In case your worker doesn’t report tricks to you, they could possibly be topic to a penalty of one-half of the FICA taxes owed on these unreported ideas. Nonetheless, the penalty could possibly be averted in case your worker reveals “affordable trigger” for not reporting them. Study extra in regards to the IRS penalties right here.



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