How To Pick The Best HR and Payroll Software For Your Restaurant or Retail Business


If you own a shop or a restaurant, these are perilous times. Your margins are already tight enough during normal times, and with the COVID squeeze, it’s even more important to run lean and mean. With that in mind, you may be tempted to cut corners when it comes to your system for managing employees. It can be tempting to use a less formal system that only requires a pen and paper or a barebones online system that costs little or nothing but may not be designed specifically for stores or restaurants. However, you’ll quickly find that the ease-of-use and versatility of POS-based payroll and scheduling systems make them worth the cost. Here’s how they can help.

How To Pick The Best HR and Payroll Software For Your Restaurant or Retail Business

Use What You’ve Got

The POS system you’re using right now is specifically designed for the purpose you’re putting it to. If you’re a restaurant owner, it undoubtedly has features to make tipping easier; if you own a boutique, it likely has inventory management capabilities. Regardless, your POS probably requires employees to log in when they take over the register or terminal. This is half the battle when it comes to managing employees. Add a few more general features like payroll, scheduling and a time clock, and specific features like analytics, tip-sharing and commissions, and you’ve got a system that allows you to manage your employees without leaving the POS. Some POS software has these capabilities built-in while with other systems you’ll need to install an add-on app; either way, the inherent convenience of POS-based “team management” makes it worth the relatively modest additional expense.

Keeping Time

Sounds pretty simple, right? There’s some nostalgic merit to punching in the old fashioned way, and if your employees already log in it’s a simple matter to calculate their time worked; but dedicated time management functions can save you time and hassle. A built-in time clock makes reporting and analyzing employee time a snap. Some systems can even require your employees to declare their tips or perform a till count before they can log off. In the end, you’ve got an easily accessible record of who worked, when, and how much they earned including tips and bonuses.

Payroll Integration

Since your POS software is already keeping track of all this, it only makes sense to integrate it with your payroll system. Armed with this info, your payroll can be virtually automatic. Sure, you’ll want to give everything a once-over, but a system that can use this data to generate payroll is going to be a huge time saver for you. For restaurants, look for a system that allows the same employee to work different rolls (bartender, waitress, hostess.) If you allow your employees to work overtime, this is a simple way to track that as well.

Maintaining Permissions

If you’re running payroll and scheduling through your POS, it’s even more important that the system be able to distinguish between employees, managers, and you. Most systems allow you to create rolls with specific permissions. You can control each employee’s access individually or break them up into groups such as staff and managers. This has the side benefit of making things simpler for your employees; they won’t find themselves in over their head messing with settings that could cause you problems. Rather, they’ll have everything they need to do their job effectively – and nothing more.

Commission and Tip Tracking

Under an informal system, tips can be tricky. When the process isn’t transparent, it can lead to frustration and even damaged employee morale. But when tips are integrated into your POS, everyone can see how their tip was calculated and nothing is left to chance. Your staff may prefer more informal cash tipping, but tracking everything in the open like this is the best way to avoid potentially damaging misunderstanding or miscommunication.

A good POS software will allow you to add tips directly to the system. Anyone with permission can then see the tip amount per user, and you can even set a redistribution percentage for the rest of the team.

Just as with tips, requiring your employees to log in for each session when they’re at the register makes it a breeze to calculate their commission. This can then easily be added to their forthcoming paycheck

Staff Reporting

If you run a restaurant or retail operation, one thing is for sure: you’re extremely busy. That’s why analytic and reporting capabilities are arguably the greatest asset of a properly-used point-of-sale system. Without these capabilities, you would need to do a bunch of number crunching that you’ll likely continually put on the back burner. But when analyzing employee productivity is as simple as hitting a button and reading a screen or printout, that’s something you can do every week or so without it taking time away from running your business. In fact, one might say that doing so is essential to manage your shop or restaurant most effectively.

Quality POS systems will allow you to define key performance indicators for your employees so that both you and they can track their effectiveness. The ability to track this data in real time can give your employees something to shoot for and allow you to shore up certain team members while rewarding others for their success.

Managing employees on your POS software may sound like a substantial undertaking that costs both time and money. But like many things, the time, money and aggravation  you’ll save in the end with a little outlay in the beginning will make it more than worth it.

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.