The 6 Best Restaurant Payroll Software Choices in 2023

The restaurant industry can be fast-paced, demanding and competitive. However, the right payroll software solutions can ease some of the responsibilities of restaurant management by streamlining payroll processes.

Whether you own a small independent diner or a large chain establishment, payroll software can allow you to dedicate more focus to driving your business’ success. Start your search for the best payroll software for your restaurant by reading through our list of the top restaurant payroll products below.

Top restaurant payroll services: Feature comparison table

SurePayroll Restaurant365 Square Payroll Justworks ADP Run Gusto Paychex
Starting base price $19.99/mo. Custom $35/mo. None Custom $40/mo. $39/mo.
Starting per-payee price $4/mo. Custom $6/mo. $59/mo. Custom $6/mo. $5/mo.
Time and attendance Add-on No Yes Add-on Yes Yes Add-on
Benefits administration Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Expense management No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Employee self-service Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

The year’s best payroll software for restaurants

SurePayroll: Best restaurant payroll

The SurePayroll logo.
Image: SurePayroll

SurePayroll’s full-service plan allows restaurants to quickly and easily automate payroll runs, including payroll tax calculations and filing. The software also provides helpful and comprehensive reports on payroll transactions over specific periods of time. These reporting capabilities allow businesses to gather insights from various datasets regarding payroll, new hires, employee trends, benefits and other vital metrics.

Best of all, SurePayroll offers fast payroll solutions at an affordable price. Its full-service payroll software is easily one of the most affordable payroll solutions for restaurants. While SurePayroll doesn’t have a built-in time tracking tool, it does integrate with several time clock systems, including several that are available for free.

Plus, SurePayroll’s parent company, Paychex, is a well-known PEO and payroll software company with top-tier employee benefits options. SurePayroll customers can use Paychex’s extensive benefits connections to integrate employee benefits fee-free with their SurePayroll plan.

Find additional information on SurePayroll’s pricing, plans and features in our SurePayroll review.

Pricing

SurePayroll’s two plans include a cheaper self-service payroll solution and a more comprehensive full-service plan:

  • Self-Service Payroll: $19.99/mo. + $4/employee paid/mo. This plan calculates paychecks and taxes but leaves payroll tax filing in your hands.
  • Full-Service Payroll: $29.99/mo. + $5/employee paid/mo. This plan calculates and files payroll taxes on your behalf.

Features

  • Minimum wage alerts, FICA tip credit reports, tip sign-off reports and makeup tips.
  • Mobile payroll app for employers and employees.
  • Free integration with time-tracking apps like TimeTrex.
  • Live U.S.-based customer service via chat, email or phone.
  • Optional health insurance and retirement plan benefits.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance integration and administration.
  • Built-in employee benefit administration.

Pros

  • Extended live customer service hours on weeknights and weekends.
  • Basic onboarding and HR features included with every plan.
  • Time-saving autopilot payroll feature.
  • Access to high-quality, competitive PEO-level benefits.

Cons

  • Not as scalable as some payroll solutions.
  • Less fully featured than more robust payroll competitors.

Restaurant365: Best for restaurant workforce management

The Restaurant365 logo.
Image: Restaurant365

Restaurant365’s workforce management software solution is completely tailored to the needs of restaurant businesses and their staff. The platform’s restaurant-specific features and capabilities can help you source top-quality talent and support them through the entirety of their employee lifecycle.

Restaurant365 (frequently abbreviated to R365) Workforce is the software provider’s payroll solution. It bundles paycheck processing and payroll tax filing with shift scheduling, onboarding, employee benefits administration and hiring tools.

The payroll program’s transparent employee self-service shift feature also makes shift swaps simple, helping ensure that restaurants don’t end up short-staffed. Restaurant employees will also appreciate restaurant-specific payroll features that support faster payment processing.

Pricing

R365 Workforce is one of four core solutions that Restaurant365 offers. Workforce specifically supports hiring, payroll processing, benefits administration and labor analyses. R365’s other solutions for restaurants include an accounting program, store operations program and reporting/analysis program.

R365 doesn’t list pricing for any of its four key products. Interested parties can contact the company directly to request a demo and pricing for individual software plans or bundled packages.

Features

  • Full-service payroll runs with comprehensive tax administration.
  • Automatic general ledger syncing and journal entry creation.
  • Shift scheduling integration.
  • Multiple employee pay methods, including direct deposit, paper checks and prepaid debit cards.
  • Multi-location support.
  • Plans support small, midsize and growing businesses, as well as restaurant enterprises.

Pros

  • Flexible pay schedule options, including daily paychecks.
  • Simple integration with POS systems, including Square POS.
  • Shift schedule management with customizable rules and parameters.
  • Restaurant-specific support ensures restaurants get industry-tailored payroll support.
  • 500+ third-party integrations.

Cons

  • Steep software learning curve for first-time employers.
  • No transparent online pricing.
  • High software cost compared to other small-business payroll options.

Square Payroll: Best POS integration

The Square Payroll logo.
Image: Square

Square’s robust restaurant-specific POS system, Square for Restaurants, processes payments, enables table management and lets employees clock in and out. Square Payroll integrates seamlessly with Square POS, allowing you to automatically turn employees’ hours worked into accurate paychecks.

Additionally, Square Payroll provides full-service multi-state payroll, which is useful for chains managed across multiple states. The restaurant payroll software also includes automatic tax filings and payments, a self-service app for employees and free end-of-year W-2 and 1099 filing.

Find additional information on Square Payroll’s pricing, plans and features in our Square Payroll review.

Pricing

Square Payroll costs a flat monthly fee of $35 plus $6 per employee paid per month.

Square for Restaurants, Square’s restaurant-specific POS service, starts out with a free plan that supports payment processing across multiple locations. Paid POS plans start at $60 per month plus standard payment processing fees.

Features

  • Tip and commission tracking and importing.
  • Built-in multi-state payroll.
  • Automatic time tracking.
  • Multiple employee pay methods, including direct deposit, paper checks and the Square Cash App.
  • Healthcare and retirement benefits add-ons.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance integration and administration.
  • HR compliance through Square’s partner Bambee.

Pros

  • Excellent restaurant-specific features.
  • Seamless syncing with Square for Restaurants, Square POS and all other Square products.
  • No fee for seasonal inactivity.
  • Straightforward flat rate.

Cons

  • One plan only means limited scalability.
  • Fewer HR features than other payroll software tools for restaurants.

Justworks: Best time-tracking add on

The Justworks logo.
Image: Justworks

Justworks provides time tracking and payroll software to businesses, allowing them to gain more oversight of their HR and team operations. Its all-in-one payroll and HR solution can process payments to employees in all 50 states and supports teams with remote employees, contractors and both salaried and hourly workers.

Justworks’ time-tracking tool, Justworks Hours, contains robust features like mobile clock-in capabilities, overtime alerts and geo-stamping to ensure accuracy when payday arrives. Justworks Hours is available as an add-on to any Justworks plan for an additional fee.

Justworks is a professional employer organization, or PEO. As such, it assumes full responsibility for your business’s HR and payroll functions, leaving ordinary business operations up to you. If you want to spend less time managing benefits and more time expanding your restaurant’s locations, a PEO like Justworks can help.

Find additional information on Justworks’ pricing, plans and features in our Justworks review.

Pricing

Justworks has two plans that offer the same payroll features:

  • Justworks Basic: $59/employee/month. Includes payroll, benefits administration, HR and compliance.
  • Justworks Plus: $99/employee/month. Includes all Justworks Basic features plus medical, dental and vision insurance.

Both plans’ prices drop by $10 for your 50th employee onward, bringing your per-employee fee down to either $49 or $89 a month.

Justworks Hours, an add-on time and attendance tool, costs $8 per employee per month.

Features

  • Manual tip additions to employee paychecks.
  • Payroll support for both hourly and salaried workers.
  • Automatic payroll tax administration with end-of-year W-2 and 1099 filing.
  • Expense management.
  • Employment practices liability insurance, workers’ compensation add-on and FUTA tax administration.

Pros

  • Vendor and contractor payments along with hourly and salaried employee payments.
  • Integration with top accounting software like QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop and Xero.
  • Shift scheduling (with Justworks Hours).
  • Transparent pricing.

Cons

  • Time tracking available as an add-on feature only.
  • Customization may be tricky for new users.

ADP RUN: Best for customization

The ADP logo.
Image: ADP

ADP RUN simplifies payroll for businesses of all sizes and varieties, including those in the hospitality sector. This solution takes care of payroll with tax and compliance capabilities built in. RUN also includes thorough HR features, including hiring tools and HR support.

Restaurants can choose between four ADP RUN payroll services to secure the best fit for their organization’s payroll and people management needs. With multiple plan tiers, businesses are free to scale up to a more robust plan as they hire more employees and open new business locations.

Find additional information on ADP RUN’s pricing, plans and features in our review of RUN Powered by ADP.

Pricing

RUN Powered by ADP is provided in four packages, and the price is based on the number of employees. Businesses should contact the RUN by ADP sales team for a free quote.

If RUN Powered by ADP doesn’t have enough HR or payroll features to support your growing workforce, a more comprehensive ADP product like ADP Workforce Now could work better for you.

Features

  • Built-in tax filing and compliance.
  • Autopilot feature schedules payroll runs in advance.
  • Flexible employee pay options.
  • Unique employee perks like consumer discount programs.
  • High-value benefits add-ons, including health insurance and retirement plans.

Pros

  • 24/7 support.
  • Seamless integration with hundreds of third-party apps.
  • Self-guided employee onboarding saves employers time.
  • Custom employee handbook and other HR features available with higher-tier plans.

Cons

  • Time tracking available as an additional feature only.
  • Some reviews cite poor customer service.
  • State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) management features only available with higher-priced plans.

Gusto: Most scalable

Image: Gusto
The Gusto logo.

Gusto is a well-known software provider with scalable software solutions for payroll, benefits, HR and other related processes. The platform automates payroll tasks and simplifies the otherwise tedious and time-consuming work of calculating paychecks, finding benefits and filing taxes.

Although Gusto’s payroll software primarily targets small and midsize businesses, it can work well for growing restaurants that want comprehensive but uncomplicated payroll software. Gusto is easily one of the most popular payroll solutions in the industry, which means it syncs with nearly any accounting software program you’re using. By automating tasks that come with restaurant management and payroll administration, Gusto lets business owners spend more time and energy on taking their restaurant to the next level.

Find additional information on Gusto’s pricing, plans and features in our review of Gusto.

Pricing

Gusto offers three pricing tiers:

  • Gusto Simple: Starts at $40/month, plus $6/month per employee.
  • Gusto Plus: Starts at $80/month, plus $12/month per employee.
  • Gusto Premium: Pricing available upon request.

Gusto also includes some add-on tools for an extra price, such as international contractor payments.

Features

  • Support for payroll across multiple locations and on varying pay schedules.
  • Easy syncing with popular time-tracking apps.
  • Built-in time tracking with higher-tier plans.
  • Minimum wage compliance.
  • On-demand pay through Gusto Wallet.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Basic talent management features, including hiring and onboarding.

Pros

  • Straightforward self-service onboarding.
  • Three plans for maximum scalability.
  • No additional fees for benefits integration.

Cons

  • HR Resource Center access limited to priciest plan.
  • High per-employee fee with mid-tier plan.
  • Health insurance coverage limited to 37 states.

Paychex Flex: Best tipping feature

Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Paychex’s powerful payroll software enables restaurants in every state to accurately track their employees’ hours, calculate payroll taxes and ensure HR compliance across the board. As a popular national payroll software provider and PEO solution, Paychex pairs employers with high-quality benefits that keep restaurants competitive in the challenging post-COVID-19 hospitality economy.

Out of every restaurant payroll service on our list, Paychex easily offers the most comprehensive HR resource library. Unlike Gusto, Paychex doesn’t limit HR library access to its most expensive plan. Regardless of the plan tier you choose, you’ll be able to look through hundreds of Paychex’s how-to guides, templates and best-practice explanations to ensure your business stays compliant.

Pricing

Out of its three HR and payroll plans, Paychex only lists pricing for its lowest-tier plan:

  • Paychex Flex Essentials: $39/mo. + $5/employee paid/mo.
  • Paychex Flex Select: Custom pricing only.
  • Paychex Flex Pro: Custom pricing only.

Features

  • Tip tracking, calculating and pooling through Paychex’s Tip Network feature.
  • Easy electronic tip distribution at the end of each shift.
  • Self-service employee app.
  • Mobile payroll app for employers running payroll on the go.
  • Shift scheduling.
  • Mileage tracking with instant employee expense reimbursement.

Pros

  • Comprehensive, competitive employee benefits.
  • Excellent tip features.
  • Multiple employee pay options, including on-demand pay through prepaid debit card.
  • Three plans with optional HR features to support growing businesses.

Cons

  • Additional fee for time-tracking, W-2 filing and other payroll essentials.
  • Limited transparent pricing online.
  • Limited HR features with cheapest plan.

Our methodology

This is a technical review that relies on compiled literature researched from relevant databases. The information provided within this article is gathered from vendor websites and incorporates information gleaned from an aggregate of user feedback to ensure a high-quality review.

To find the best restaurant payroll software, we looked only at payroll providers that offered restaurant-specific features like tip imports and minimum wage compliance. We also prioritized vendors who either offered native shift-scheduling tools or synced with third-party time trackers.

Our payroll software methodology page explains more about how we choose, rate and review payroll software.

How to choose the right payroll software for your restaurant

Choosing the best payroll software for your restaurant business requires the careful consideration of several vital factors.

Firstly, companies should identify which payroll features they need, such as compliance with local labor laws, tax filing and automation. Developing a list of your software requirements can help guide shoppers in their search.

From here, restaurants can create a shortlist of potential solutions by researching payroll products with their must-have features. Consider payroll software built specifically for restaurants as well as more generic payroll software for small businesses.

Organizations must also consider the price of payroll software before making a decision. Restaurant businesses should compare each product’s pricing along with the features and customer support provided for each payroll option. By assessing these factors, restaurant businesses can choose the best payroll software to support their staff, improve their accuracy and streamline their payroll processes.

Read next: A Complete Guide to Payroll Software (TechRepublic)

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