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

For a small enterprise proprietor managing a bar, working 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 appropriately might be sophisticated with the modified hourly wages beneath federal and state minimal wage necessities.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to deal with worker paychecks the best method so you’ll be able to keep compliant and keep away from entering into bother with the IRS.

Let’s break down the whole lot it is advisable learn about enhancing the performance of your bar payroll system and guaranteeing a easy course of each payday.

What it is advisable know when managing bar payroll

From worker contracts to setting the best pay interval to your workers, right here’s a listing of what goes into managing your bar payroll.

Worker contracts

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

Kind W-4

IRS Kind W-4 helps decide how a lot federal revenue 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.

Kind 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 licensed to work in the USA. You don’t should file this one with the federal government, however you’re required to retain it in your employment data.

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

Kinds W-2 and W-3

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

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

Study 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 primarily based on an annual wage. Nonetheless, your bar or restaurant workers doubtless receives a commission hourly wages, that means you pay them primarily based on the hours they work.

Full time vs. part-time workers

In accordance with the Honest 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 time beyond regulation pay kicks in.

You possibly can outline what full-time work and part-time employment appear like at what you are promoting. Many bar and restaurant homeowners 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 workers are people who work lower than your outlined full-time hours. The imprecise authorized definition means you’ve the pliability to construct your group nevertheless you see match.

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

Fortunately, Homebase scheduling works for each part-time and full-time workers. You possibly can 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 major supply of revenue. You may also have a tip pooling system in place, which you’ll study extra about on this article.

A tipped worker is a group member who repeatedly earns greater than $30 in tips about a month-to-month foundation. The IRS requires that your workers file and report any tipped revenue of $20 or extra per 30 days.

Underneath the FLSA, it’s possible you’ll depend a share 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 fluctuate — check out your state labor regulation information to study extra.

Type of cost

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

Paper verify

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

Nonetheless, workers have a better probability of dropping or damaging paper checks, which might be harmful for what you are promoting because it lists info 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 workers via direct deposit — or the digital switch of a cost on to their checking account — is straightforward and offers your group the advantage of accessing their wages quicker.

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

One con of direct deposit is that you just’ll should pay a setup price to get began — they sometimes 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 might 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 might additionally price cash.

Payroll interval

Bar homeowners ought to observe a weekly or bi-weekly cost 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 typically and have simpler entry to wages. Moreover, hourly workers typically have inconsistent shift schedules and a weekly pay interval could make paying them simpler.

Weekly payroll can even assist set up your payroll system simply — you’ll be able to merely select at some point of the week and persist with 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 will add up for those who’re paying your group extra typically.


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

Nonetheless, your workers are getting paid much less incessantly which may scale back morale. Fortunately there’s a contented medium: Homebase gives the chance to provide your group 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 working a bar: an working account and a payroll account.

Working account

Your working account features 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 fundamental bar payroll course of

For the reason that bar and restaurant payroll course of might be tedious and sophisticated, it helps to have a set guidelines you can 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 performed simply for those who use an automated time monitoring device like Homebase.

2. Accumulate tip studies

You must acquire tipped revenue studies from workers and bank card transactions out of your POS and embody all tipped wages for every pay interval. In your calculation of wage funds, you need to withhold revenue taxes and FICA taxes on tip revenue.

Embody the tip revenue and withholding on all payroll tax studies, you’ll should make deposits as required on tip withholding and FICA taxes. You’ll additionally want to keep up data of worker suggestions 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 charge 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 workers.

We laid out the need-to-knows on this article, however right here’s the rundown of how a lot it is advisable 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 yr
  • SUI: Price is assigned by the state

Worker-paid taxes

  • Revenue tax: Federal and state revenue 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 web pay

Your worker’s web pay is the cash left over in spite of everything necessary 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 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 workers. Bear in mind to first arrange a plan for a way you need to pay your group to make this step as easy as doable.

7. Safely retailer the payroll data

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

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

Tips on how to stage up your bar payroll

Following the following tips will assist guarantee a easy 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 workers and $2.13 for tipped workers 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 regulation information to double-check that you just’re following the best guidelines.

Don’t go overboard with time beyond regulation

An excessive amount of time beyond regulation can damage your backside line, so use it correctly. Homebase helps you make smarter scheduling selections by alerting you when workers are about to achieve time beyond regulation, 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 approach to pay your group and prevents you from having to print checks each pay interval. Get began by amassing consent and banking info from every worker and submitting it to your direct deposit supplier. This fashion your group can relaxation straightforward understanding their funds might be delivered to their checking account seamlessly every pay interval.

Doc the whole lot

Once more, all payroll data 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

The easiest way to make sure a easy course of each pay interval is to automate it! Use a payroll software program like Homebase to scale back errors and get the whole lot performed on time.

How Homebase simplifies bar payroll administration

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

Handle worker schedules

With Homebase scheduling, you’ll be able to keep away from time beyond regulation with helpful alerts, construct schedules in step with your gross sales forecasts and labor targets, and extra.

Calculate work hours robotically

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 allow you to scale back time theft, and set labor to gross sales targets so you’ll be able to defend your backside line whereas concurrently breezing via step one of many payroll course of.

Keep compliant

Homebase takes away the headache of sweating sophisticated compliance duties. We’ll allow you to arrange breaks and time beyond regulation to your state, and even calculate, pay, and file your payroll taxes for you.

Moreover, we’ll robotically submit your new rent reporting and file and distribute essential paperwork and likewise retailer your data 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, a superb 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 immediately by your prospects as an alternative of via a paycheck. Paycheck suggestions are costs that your prospects add to bank cards that you just then embody in your worker’s paycheck.

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

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




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