7 Signs Your Restaurant's Payroll Company Isn’t Working Out

7 Signs Your Restaurant's Payroll Company Isn’t Working Out
Samantha Fung

By Samantha Fung

Let’s face it—no one looks forward to running payroll. Doing calculations and triple-checking numbers isn’t your idea of a fun afternoon. But if running payroll fills you with dread and anxiety, something is wrong.

If you find yourself putting off payroll because the process is too painful, don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating. Your payroll system should work for you, not against you.

Here are seven signs it’s time to say goodbye to your payroll provider.

1. You find the system hard to use

Between taxes, compliance, garnishments, and tips, paying your employees is complex. You don’t need clunky software to weigh you down.

Interface issues can look like:

  • Problems running off-cycle payrolls
  • Hard-to-find reports and tax documents like W-2s
  • Lots of manual data entry
  • Too many features to learn
  • Complications with onboarding employees

Restaurant payroll isn’t a nice-to-have—it will always be a part of your responsibilities as a restaurant operator. You may as well choose a platform you enjoy (or don’t mind) using.

2. You’re using too many systems

You wouldn’t go to five grocery stores to make one sandwich—so why do 34% of restaurant operators work with five or more tech vendors?

Transferring timesheets and tip data between multiple systems is time-consuming and leaves room for error. It’s also inconvenient to enter employee information into multiple places.

Ann Marie Cilley, Owner-Operator Franchisee of Casual Pint - Hamilton, told us her frustrations with their previous payroll provider:

“The two systems [POS and Payroll] didn't talk to each other. So there was not an easy way to download time punches...we literally had to make a custom spreadsheet to be able to upload our time punches into payroll. The second thing was that we had to calculate tip pooling manually...and translate the hours and tip share into a different spreadsheet...To me, that's just multiple chances for error...I don't like messing with people's money.”

3. You’re paying too many fees

You budgeted for the monthly fee. Then, there was an implementation fee to get started. Next, you found out you had to pay extra for additional payroll runs and printed checks. Now, you have to pay for year-end filing too?

Most pricing structures for the big payroll companies look like this:

  • Base fee: $39-$125 per month
  • Implementation fee: Ranges from hundreds to thousands
  • Additional employee fee: $4-$12 per employee per month
  • Year-end: $2-$16 per W-2 / 1099 filing
  • Off-cycle runs: $0-$50

Simplify your accounting and choose a software with a clear billing structure. Some offer free setup and free year-end filing. Find one that lets you run payroll as often as you want, so you aren’t charged for additional runs.

7shifts Payroll has simple pricing* with no hidden fees:

  • Base fee: $39.99 per month
  • Implementation fee: Free
  • Additional employee fee: $6 per employee paid per month
  • Year-end: Free
  • Off-cycle runs: Free

*Pricing at the time of publishing

4. You aren’t getting help when you need it

You know when a company is all about the chase? The sales rep was at your beck and call before you signed on, but now that you’re paying, you have to jump through hoops to speak to a human. And when you eventually reach someone, they string you along with no real solution.

It’s frustrating when the customer service rep doesn’t understand the system or tries to shift the blame onto a third party. That’s why 7shifts’ support team is hired in-house from North America. You’ll also receive guidance on your first two payroll runs from dedicated payroll implementation specialists.

Lewis Sharp, Owner-Operator Franchisee of Ellianos Coffee Co. in Jacksonville, FL, said:

“I switched to 7shifts Payroll from one of the “big” payroll companies. It has been an amazing experience from beginning to end. The price is great. Implementation was a breeze. Running payroll is extremely simple and the dashboard is user-friendly and up-to-date.
One of the most impressive aspects of 7shifts is the customer service availability. I have used phone, chat, and video call, and they have all been informative and friendly. They follow up with you after you contact them, as well. I look forward to using their services for a long time!”

5. You’re seeing errors

The bare minimum any payroll software should do is run payroll accurately. When you can’t pay people the right amount on the right day, it hurts employee satisfaction and retention. In a study we conducted in 2021, restaurant employees rated wages as the number one reason they left or were planning to leave their jobs. Don’t let your restaurant be a part of that stat.

Here are some examples of payroll system errors, as told by restaurateurs:

  • You give someone a raise and update it in the system, but it doesn’t update on their paycheck
  • An employee works two roles with different base wages or tip splits and it pays them the wrong rate
  • You overpay tax withholdings
A quote from a restaurant operator about not messing with people's money

6. Your employees can’t access their own pay information

People expect digital self-service tools now, for everything from banking to booking a haircut. It’s inconvenient for staff to have to contact you for every tax form or breakdown of their paycheck.

Many restaurant employees have told us they want to be able to view their pay stubs with tip and tax information. They also want to be able to onboard on their own, with access to forms like W-2s and direct deposit.

Responses from restaurant employees about what they'd like to see in an app from their employer
Anonymous feedback from restaurant employees on what information they’re looking for from an employee app.

Honesty is the best policy. Establish trust by making sure pay information is available to staff, ideally in an employee portal that they can access anywhere, anytime. They should be able to see their hourly wage, hours worked, overtime, tip breakdown, and deductions like taxes, garnishments or insurance premiums for a given pay period.

7. You can’t manage tips in your current system

If your payroll vendor caters to multiple industries, it’s likely missing a way to calculate tips. Sure, you could work them out in a separate spreadsheet or software, but importing numbers from one system to another leaves room for error. If you use a tip credit, your payroll provider should also be able to calculate whether and how much you owe an employee.

Screenshot of 7shifts Payroll syncing timesheets with tips
Manage your tip pool and pay tips via payroll in 7shifts

Run payroll in minutes, not hours

Are these situations all too real for you? It’s time to switch your payroll provider. Instead of using separate tools for scheduling, time clocking, payroll, and tip management, do it all in one place with 7shifts. Make your life easier with one login to manage your team.

7shifts also integrates with many POS and accounting software. Check our integrations here.

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Samantha Fung
Samantha Fung

I've taken orders at a drive-thru and a golf course. I've quit a Thai restaurant after 3 shifts. I've done marketing at a Tex-Mex franchise. Now I create content about the restaurant industry.