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The Best Payroll Software For Restaurants

These great restaurant payroll software options will help you manage taxes, pay your employees on time, and handle benefits administration.

    Matt Sherman
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

There is plenty to think about when running your own restaurant and, in an industry with razor-thin margins, staying on top of your finances is crucially important. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best payroll software for restaurants to help you maximize your profits.

The right restaurant payroll software should be able to help you manage crucial back-end tasks like time tracking, managing taxes, and benefits. Fortunately, there are plenty of payroll software options that can handle all of those needs and more. But you’ll want to make sure that you’re not being overcharged for services you don’t need. Read on to find out more about our top payroll software for restaurant selections.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Gusto

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Overall best payroll software for restaurants
Overall best payroll software for restaurants

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ADP Payroll

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Best all-in-one restaurant payroll software
Best all-in-one restaurant payroll software

Get A Quote

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Toast POS

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Best restaurant payroll designed specifically for restaurant needs & features
Best restaurant payroll designed specifically for restaurant needs & features

Visit Site

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SurePayroll

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Best mobile app for restaurant payroll
Best mobile app for restaurant payroll

Visit Site

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Square Payroll

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Best for smaller food service establishments
Best for smaller food service establishments

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Other Featured Options:

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 7 Best Payroll Software For Restaurants

The best payroll software for restaurants should come with a rich feature set including tip management, reporting and analytics, and minimum wage alerts to help keep your business running at peak efficiency. The best options for restaurant payroll include Gusto, ADP, Toast Payroll, and more.

1. Gusto: Overall Best Payroll Software For Restaurants

Gusto



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Pros

  • Built-in time tracking
  • Fast processing
  • Transparent pricing

Cons

  • Limited reporting
  • Not great for international workers

Gusto is an exceptionally well-reviewed payroll company for small to mid-sized businesses. It features competitive and transparent pricing plans. Its services are valid in all 50 states and it has the capability to run payroll for larger teams, assuming you don’t need in-depth reporting.

gusto dashboard

Gusto Pricing

Gusto has multiple pricing levels for whatever your restaurant might need. Plans range from $39/month + $6 per employee to $149/month + $12 per employee. And if you only have contractors, you can use the service for $6/month per contractor.

Gusto Features

Gusto’s features set is also tiered, but its Core plan is very generous for the price. The Complete plan, which is not much more expensive, gives you access to things like time tracking and PTO. Here are a few features that Gusto payroll does well.

  • Health insurance administration
  • Automatic tax filing
  • Costing reports
  • Performance reviews
  • Employee surveys
  • Onboarding tools
  • Admin permissions

Is Gusto Right For You?

Gusto is close to the ideal third-party payroll solution for small businesses. The pricing is competitive and allows you to grow without additional fees breaking your budget, and it’s available in all 50 states, letting your employees get paid promptly and accurately. Larger restaurants with a need for detailed payroll reports may need to look elsewhere, but Gusto can get the job done for the vast majority of establishments.

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2. ADP: Best All-In-One Restaurant Payroll Software

ADP Payroll



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Pros

  • Advanced features
  • Strong customer support
  • Scaleable

Cons

  • Non-transparent prices
  • Added fees

ADP is a giant in the payroll industry and, as you might expect, it has everything you could possibly need to handle your restaurant’s payroll needs, benefits, and much more. It offers multiple pricing tiers but can be difficult to lock down exactly what you’ll end up paying as its fees and monthly charges aren’t transparent.

adp dashboard

ADP Pricing

The good thing about ADP is that you have plenty of plans to choose from. However, you won’t know just how much you can expect to pay until you talk with a sales rep. ADP’s affordable Roll plan is $29/month + $5 per employee, which is on par with other similar basic plans. There are also plenty of add-ons that you can purchase but, again, those prices will vary.

ADP Features

What you get out of ADP will depend on what plan you choose, but ADP offers just about anything you could possibly want from your payroll software. At the basic level, ADP has things like new-hire reporting, time tracking, and direct deposit, and tons of advanced features for purchase as well. Here are a few features where ADP stands out.

  • Employee portal
  • Background checks
  • HR documents and forms
  • Company training
  • Check-signing features
  • Tax filing and support
  • Google ads

Is ADP Right For You?

If there is any specific payroll function that your business or restaurant needs, you can be almost assured that ADP will offer it at some level. For larger restaurants with extensive payroll and HR needs, ADP’s advanced plans might be ideal even if they come at a steep price point. But ADP also has the little guy in mind, and its lower-tier offerings are both generous and affordable. Just make sure you’ve itemized exactly what you need before contacting a representative.

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3. Toast Payroll: Best Restaurant-Specific Payroll Software

Toast POS



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Pros

  • Easy onboarding
  • Integrated team management
  • Speedy processing

Cons

  • Limited feature set
  • Long-term processing contract

Toast is one of the best point of sale systems around for restaurants so, it would stand to reason that its payroll option would be equally stellar and geared specifically to a restaurant owner’s needs. Toast is affordable and easy to use and processes payroll lightning fast.

toast payroll dashboard

Toast Payroll Pricing

For expanded features, Toast offers custom pricing, so you will need to contact them directly to see what your quote will be. However, Toast is currently running a special, offering its POS service plus its Payroll Lite plan for $110/month + $4/month per employee.

Toast Payroll Features

Toast has some excellent payroll features specifically for restaurants along with other basic functions that are well-designed and intended to be up and functional in a very short amount of time. Here are a few areas where Toast Payroll stands out:

  • Onboarding
  • Processing in all 50 states
  • Direct deposit
  • Employee set up
  • Timesheet integration
  • Integrated tip pooling
  • HR toolkit

Is Toast Payroll Right For You?

Similar to Square, if you’re happy with Toast’s point of sale product, Toast Payroll should definitely be high on your list. As an add-on, Toast is affordable and is tailor-made to handle anything that might come up when running your restaurant’s payroll. If you’re signing up with Toast long-term, just make sure you’ve read the fine print as there are processing contracts and early termination fees.

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4. SurePayroll: Best Mobile App For Restaurant Paryoll

SurePayroll



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Pros

  • Mobile app
  • Strong customer service
  • Highly intuitive

Cons

  • Non-transparent pricing
  • Costly add-ons
  • No time-tracking

SurePayroll is a solid option for smaller to mid-sized restaurants, featuring a simple, easy-to-use feature set and strong customer service. If you have a limited number of employees and don’t need to pay extra for advanced features, SurePayroll could be a perfectly functional and affordable piece of software.

surepayroll dashboard

SurePayroll Pricing

One downside to SurePayroll is that you’ll have to speak to a representative to get a payroll quote. They do offer two pricing platforms, one for self-service and one for full-service. The full-service option has full tax support and a faster processing speed. There are also add-ons for things like time-tracking, benefits, and integrations.

SurePayroll Features

SurePayroll’s basic feature set before add-ons is somewhat limited, but likely functional for a smaller food-service establishment. And if you’re happy with the product’s ease of use and find yourself needing additional features, the product is highly scaleable (although the fees can add up). Here are some of SurePayroll’s top features.

  • Unlimited processing
  • Automated tax calculations
  • HR support
  • Employee management
  • Self-service through app
  • Garnishments
  • Poster updates

Is SurePayroll Right For You?

For a basic, starting payroll program, SurePayroll does a lot of things well. If you run a small restaurant, you can very likely get by with the features it offers at an affordable price. SurePayroll’s usability and customer service are also outstanding. The options are also there if you need to expand your payroll offerings, just beware that the add-ons can get expensive.

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5. Square Payroll: Best For Smaller Food Service Establishments

Square Payroll



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Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Direct deposit
  • Square app store
  • Strong tax support

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Administrative options lacking

Square Payroll is one of the more recent offerings from Square’s impressive array of tools for small businesses and it fits in with the company’s niche. Square Payroll is exceptionally easy to use and can easily be integrated with Square’s other products. It comes with all of the basics you would expect from payroll software at a very affordable price, but may be best suited for smaller to mid-sized restaurants as some more advanced payroll features are lacking.

square payrol dashboard

Square Payroll Pricing

As you might expect, Square Payroll’s pricing structure is simple and cost-effective for what it includes. There are two tiers, one for just paying contractors, which starts at $5 per contractor. The other is for employees and contractors and runs $35/month + $5 per employee.

Square Payroll Features

Square’s features are somewhat basic but, as long as you don’t have overly complicated payroll requirements, they should cover everything you need. They are also incredibly simple to understand and run even if you’re brand new to payroll software. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Garnishments
  • Direct deposit
  • Tax support
  • Employee management
  • PTO
  • Onboarding support

Is Square Payroll Right For You?

If you’re already using or considering using any of Square’s other products like the Square For Restaurants point of sale system or Square processing, Square Payroll might be a no-brainer as it integrates seamlessly and gives you access to the Square mobile app store. And as a standalone product, Square Payroll holds its own when put up against other software for smaller to mid-sized restaurants.

Get Started with Square Payroll

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6. Wave: Best For Restaurants On A Budget

Wave Payroll



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Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Affordable
  • Integrations

Cons

  • All services not available in 50 states
  • No HR tools
  • No time tracking

Wave Payroll is a simple and affordable service that is best suited for smaller restaurants or businesses that may be on a budget and don’t have extensive payroll needs. It also pairs with Wave’s accounting software and, while it’s not the deepest platform out there, it has upfront pricing and is more than capable of handling the needs of an establishment with a limited number of employees.

wave payroll dashboard

Wave Pricing

Wave has two simple pricing tiers. Wave Payroll Self Service costs $20/month + $6/month per employee. Wave Payroll Tax Service will run you $35/month + $6/month per employee. You can also add Wave Payments and Wave Advisors for additional fees.

Wave Features

Wave has a relatively basic feature set, but what it does offer is simple to use and very affordable. For more advanced features like HR, you may need to look elsewhere. Here are a few areas where Wave stands out:

  • Employee management
  • PTO
  • Time tracking
  • Onboarding support
  • Direct deposit
  • Employee portal

Is Wave Right For You?

Wave is built for smaller businesses without extensive payroll needs or for small business owners who may be new to payroll software. In that area it thrives, offering an excellent and simple interface and everything you would need to get your employees paid on time and accurately. Be aware that you’ll need to make sure that Wave’s features are offered in your state and, if you need additional benefits software, it may not be the right fit.

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7. OnPay: Best For Built-In HR

OnPay



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Pros

  • Unlimited payrolls
  • Custom fields
  • Strong customer service

Cons

  • Poor mobile app
  • No automatic payroll

OnPay is a versatile payroll system that can suit most-sized businesses. It features a very intuitive interface that is easy to pick up for anyone with even a little payroll experience. It also has built-in HR and the ability for employees to onboard themselves for an affordable price.

onpay dashboard

OnPay Pricing

OnPay’s pricing is refreshingly simple and competitive. You get your first month free along with free set-up. After that, your software fee is $36month +$4 per employee.

OnPay Features

OnPay’s feature set is impressive and contains everything you would expect from strong payroll software. A few users reported that, with so much going on in OnPay’s dashboard, it could be difficult to find what you’re looking for at times. But overall, OnPay has very few gaps. Here are a few areas where it stands out.

  • Permissions
  • Self-onboarding
  • Workers comp and benefits
  • Unlimited pay runs
  • Unemployment insurance withholdings
  • Integrations with QuickBooks and Xero

Is OnPay Right For You?

OnPay gives you exactly what you would expect from a highly rated payroll company. While OnPay doesn’t specifically cater to restaurants the way some of the other companies on our list do, it features a similarly intuitive interface, strong customer service, and upfront pricing, which should make it an appealing option for small businesses.

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Which Payroll Software Is Right For Your Restaurant?

Obviously, your payroll needs will vary depending on your business’s size, the benefits you intend to offer, and any specific integrations you might need. If you are already using a point of sale system or payment processing service like Square, Toast, or Wave, their payroll option may be the most conducive and cost-efficient for your business. If you need more advanced, scalable features, Gusto or ADP might be the right choice. And if you’re looking for strong, third-party software for a smaller restaurant, SurePay or OnPay has you covered. Either way, make sure you have a checklist of your specific needs and a budget in mind before you settle on a product.

Other Restaurant Resources

If you’re looking for some of our other recommendations for restaurants, here are some additional useful links:

FAQs About Payroll Software For Restaurants

How do restaurants do payroll?

Running payroll for a restaurant can be somewhat tricky compared to other businesses. You need to accurately collect all of your employees’ data and hours along with their tip report sheets and accurately factor in your state’s taxes. A good restaurant payroll program can help with this process.

What is the best payroll system for restaurants?

The best restaurant payroll software will feature time tracking, direct deposit, and an intuitive user interface. Some of the best payroll software apps include ADP, Gusto, Square Payroll, and Wave.

What software is used in restaurants?

Many software programs can help restaurants, including point of sale software, payroll software, and payment processing software.

How much does Toast payroll cost?

Toast offers quote-based payroll software depending on your needs. It is available as an add-on to the Toast point of sale services. You will need to call for a price quote.

In Summary: The 7 Best Payroll Software For Restaurants

  1. Gusto: Overall best payroll software for restaurants
  2. ADP Payroll: Best all-in-one restaurant payroll software
  3. Toast POS: Best restaurant payroll designed specifically for restaurant needs & features
  4. SurePayroll: Best mobile app for restaurant payroll
  5. Square Payroll: Best for smaller food service establishments
  6. Wave Payroll: Best for restaurants on a budget
  7. OnPay: Best for built-in HR
Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
A former sports editor and journalist, Matt Sherman has been writing about and researching small business software since 2015, with a special emphasis on retail and restaurant sales. Matt's expert opinions are cited in various industry publications, including Fox Business. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Matt Sherman
View Matt Sherman's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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