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

Nonetheless, it’s necessary 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 all the pieces you might want to find out about bettering the performance of your bar payroll system and making certain a easy course of each payday.

What you might want 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 must file a new rent report along with your state. You and your new group member can even submit a couple of kinds as a part of the onboarding course of:

Kind W-4

IRS Form 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 individual 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.

Kinds W-2 and W-3

Form W-2 stories how a lot you’re 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.

Form W-3 is submitted on the similar time. This one stories 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 replica of the W-3 to your workers.

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

Compensation insurance policies

Hourly vs. wage workers

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

Full time vs. part-time workers

In keeping 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 extra time pay kicks in.

You possibly can outline what full-time work and part-time employment appear like at your enterprise. Many bar and restaurant homeowners use the everyday 40-hour workweek to outline a full-time worker, however others think about 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 obscure authorized definition means you might have the flexibleness 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 you could provide. So make sure 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 main supply of revenue. You would possibly actually 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 group member who commonly earns greater than $30 in recommendations on a month-to-month foundation. The IRS requires that your workers file and report any tipped revenue of $20 or extra monthly.

Below the FLSA, you could depend a proportion of the ideas {that a} tipped worker earns towards the minimal wage requirement. That is referred to as a tip credit score. Nevertheless, state guidelines range — check out your state labor law guide to be taught extra.

Type of cost

You may have a few choices for the way you pay your group members. Let’s have 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. Workers don’t must share their banking info, giving them extra management over who would possibly have the ability to entry their accounts. Workers 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 might be harmful for your enterprise 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 workers by way of direct deposit — or the digital switch of a cost on to their checking account — is simple and offers your group the good thing about 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 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 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 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 usually and have easier access to wages. Moreover, hourly workers usually have inconsistent shift schedules and a weekly pay interval could make paying them easier.

Weekly payroll can even assist arrange your payroll system simply — you may merely select sooner or later of the week and stick with it each payroll interval.

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


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 must pay the processing charges as usually.

Nonetheless, your workers are getting paid much less often which might scale back morale. Fortunately there’s a contented medium: Homebase gives the chance to offer your group 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 working 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 primary bar payroll course of

For the reason that bar and restaurant payroll course of might be tedious and complex, it helps to have a set guidelines 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 executed simply for those who use an automated time tracking tool like Homebase.

2. Accumulate tip stories

You might want to acquire tipped revenue 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 will need to withhold revenue taxes and FICA taxes on tip revenue.

Embrace the tip revenue 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 keep up information of worker ideas in case you’re audited.

3. Calculate gross wages for every worker

Gross wages in 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 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 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 in this article, however right here’s the rundown of how a lot you might want 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 12 months
  • SUI: Fee is assigned by the state

Worker-paid taxes

  • Revenue tax: Federal and state revenue 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 web pay is the cash left over in any case 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 easy as attainable.

7. Safely retailer the payroll information

You’re required beneath 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 keeping with the IRS, information of employment taxes have to be maintained for no less than 4 years after submitting the fourth quarter for the 12 months. These embrace your workers’ Kind W-4s and dates of employment.

Learn how to degree up your bar payroll

Following the following pointers 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 range broadly primarily based on the state and metropolis you reside in. Check out your state labor law guide to double-check that you simply’re following the precise 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 decisions by alerting you when workers are about to achieve extra time, permitting you to maneuver a couple of shifts round and construct schedules according to your labor price targets.

Arrange direct deposit 

Direct deposit is the simplest solution to pay your group 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 fashion your group can relaxation straightforward understanding their funds shall be delivered to their checking account seamlessly every pay interval.

Doc all the pieces

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

Automate payroll administration

One of the best ways to make sure a easy course of each pay interval is to automate it! Use a payroll software program like Homebase to cut back errors and get all the pieces executed on time.

How Homebase simplifies bar payroll administration

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

Handle worker schedules

With Homebase scheduling, you may keep away from extra 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 enable you scale back time theft, and set labor to gross sales targets so you may defend 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 enable you arrange breaks and extra 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 vital paperwork and in addition retailer your information that can assist 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, 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 ideas and money ideas?

Money ideas are given to an worker instantly by your prospects as an alternative of by way of a paycheck. Paycheck ideas are costs that your prospects add to bank cards that you simply then embrace 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. Nevertheless, the penalty could possibly be averted in case your worker exhibits “affordable trigger” for not reporting them. Learn more about the IRS penalties here.


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