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Do bar payroll higher: Finest practices + bar payroll companies to think about

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

Nonetheless, it’s vital to deal with worker paychecks the precise means so you may keep compliant and keep away from moving into hassle with the IRS.

Let’s break down every part it’s worthwhile to learn 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 precise pay interval in your workers, right here’s an inventory of what goes into managing your bar payroll.

Worker contracts

As quickly as you rent new workers in your bar, you’ll have to file a new rent report together with your state. You and your new group member will even submit a couple of types as a part of the onboarding course of:

Type W-4

IRS Type 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 group 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 the US. You don’t must file this one with the federal government, however you’re required to retain it in your employment data.

Check out our article on easy methods to fill out Type I-9s for extra data.

Varieties W-2 and W-3

Type W-2 stories how a lot you might be withholding in payroll taxes from every group 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 group.

Type W-3 is submitted on the similar time. This one stories the entire quantity of withheld payroll taxes out of your complete group and the entire quantity of paid worker wages. You don’t have to ship a replica of the W-3 to your workers.

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

Compensation insurance policies

Hourly vs. wage workers

Staff who’re paid a wage obtain the identical quantity every pay interval based mostly on an annual wage. Nevertheless, your bar or restaurant workers possible receives a commission hourly wages, which means you pay them based mostly on the hours they work.

Full time vs. part-time workers

In accordance with the Truthful Labor Requirements Act (FLSA), a full-time worker works 40 hours per week. That is the one regulation 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 to be at your online business. Many bar and restaurant homeowners use the standard 40-hour workweek to outline a full-time worker, however others take into account a full-time schedule to be 35 and even 30 hours in a single week.

Your part-time workers are people who work lower than your outlined full-time hours. The imprecise authorized definition means you have got the flexibleness to construct your group nonetheless you see match.

The primary distinction between part-time and full-time is that part-time group members aren’t certified to obtain sure worker advantages you might supply. So make sure you designate every worker clearly.

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

Tipped workers

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

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

Below the FLSA, you might rely a share of the guidelines {that a} tipped worker earns towards the minimal wage requirement. That is known as a tip credit score. Nevertheless, state guidelines fluctuate — check out your state labor regulation information to be taught extra.

Type of fee

You’ve a few choices for the way you pay your group members. Let’s take a look at the professionals and cons of every.

Paper examine

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

Nevertheless, workers have a better likelihood of shedding or damaging paper checks, which may be harmful for your online business because it lists data 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 workers by way of direct deposit — or the digital switch of a fee on to their checking account — is straightforward and provides your group the good thing about 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 price to get began — they sometimes vary from $50-$149. You might also be charged per worker for every deposit (wherever from $1.50 to $1.90).

Moreover, your worker’s financial institution could have charges connected 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 homeowners ought to observe a weekly or bi-weekly fee interval for a bar, particularly if workers are paid per hour. There are professionals and cons to each schedules.


Paying workers 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 workers usually have inconsistent shift schedules and a weekly pay interval could make paying them easier.

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

Nevertheless, weekly checks can show to be dearer. Bear in mind these direct deposit charges? Relying in your worker rely, they will add up if you happen to’re paying your group extra usually.


Paying workers 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 received’t must pay the processing charges as usually.

Nonetheless, your workers are getting paid much less often which may scale back morale. Fortunately there’s a contented medium: Homebase affords the chance to offer your group entry to their wages as they earn them. Be taught 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 primary 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 means round.

7 steps in a fundamental bar payroll course of

For the reason that bar and restaurant payroll course of may be tedious and complex, it helps to have a set guidelines that you would be able to 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 if you happen to use an automated time monitoring device like Homebase.

2. Accumulate tip stories

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

Embody the tip earnings and withholding on all payroll tax stories, you’ll must make deposits as required on tip withholding and FICA taxes. You’ll additionally want to take care of data of worker suggestions in case you’re audited.

3. Calculate gross wages for every worker

Gross wages in your bar payroll means the entire 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 online pay — extra on that later.

4. Issue within the taxes

First, calculate any voluntary pre-tax deductions that must 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 based mostly 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 workers.

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 based mostly 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 yr
  • SUI: Fee is assigned by the state

Worker-paid taxes

  • Earnings tax: Federal and state earnings tax (the place relevant) fluctuate based mostly 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 spite of everything obligatory deductions are withheld. These embrace pre-tax deductions, native, state, and federal taxes, and tip credit.

When you’ve deducted all the mandatory 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 workers. Bear in mind to first arrange a plan for the way you need to pay your group to make this step as clean as doable.

7. Safely retailer the payroll data

You’re required underneath the FLSA to retailer all payroll data for at the very least three years. Moreover, the FLSA requires you to take care of data of the way you calculated wages for 2 years.

In accordance with the IRS, data of employment taxes have to be maintained for at the very least 4 years after submitting the fourth quarter for the yr. These embrace your workers’ 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.

Examine native minimal wage insurance policies

The federal minimal wage is $7.25 for non-tipped workers and $2.13 for tipped workers with a tip credit score, however these numbers fluctuate extensively based mostly on the state and metropolis you reside in. Check out your state labor regulation information to double-check that you just’re following the precise guidelines.

Don’t go overboard with additional time

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

Arrange direct deposit 

Direct deposit is the simplest strategy to pay your group 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 manner your group can relaxation simple figuring out their funds will likely be delivered to their checking account seamlessly every pay interval.

Doc every part

Once more, all payroll data have to be correctly maintained and saved to keep away from any undesirable run-ins with the federal government. Ensure you have a strong 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 every part carried out on time.

How Homebase simplifies bar payroll administration

Homebase makes payroll administration for bar homeowners simple. Right here’s how.

Handle worker schedules

With Homebase scheduling, you may keep away from additional 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 aid you scale back time theft, and set labor to gross sales targets so you may shield your backside line whereas concurrently breezing by way of step one of many payroll course of.

Keep compliant

Homebase takes away the headache of sweating difficult compliance duties. We’ll aid you arrange breaks and additional time in 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 in addition retailer your data that can assist 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 sometimes 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 instantly by your clients as an alternative of by way of a paycheck. Paycheck suggestions are prices that your clients add to bank cards that you just then embrace in your worker’s paycheck.

What occurs if you happen to 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. Nevertheless, the penalty may very well be averted in case your worker exhibits “affordable trigger” for not reporting them. Be taught extra in regards to the IRS penalties right here.




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