Ultimate Restaurant Payroll Checklist

Name a restaurant process, and chances are you have a reliable checklist for guidance and adherence to best practices. Kitchen procedures? Check(list). Supply chain optimization? Check(list) again. Payroll procedures and guidelines?

If running a payroll platform isn’t in your wheelhouse — and don’t worry, it’s not a specialty for most in the restaurant industry – you can still ensure you’re up to speed with taxes and compliance, on track for accurate tax reporting, and much more.

RASI, the leader in restaurant accounting solutions, put together the following payroll checklist to help you establish a baseline process for anything and everything related to running a payroll. What’s more, our Payroll & HRIS software provides a streamlined, user-friendly software and service for payroll processes. From present regulations to on-the-fly changes, we’ll keep your recordkeeping current and accurate. Bottom line: whether you’re looking to improve targeted, specific aspects of your payroll, or you’re not sure how to run payroll, we’re here to help.

OK, let’s focus on the things you need to have on your payroll checklist!


Payroll Checklist: Must-Haves for Your Restaurant

Before we get into a basic restaurant payroll checklist, it helps to lay the groundwork for accurate, timely, reliable payroll practices. Before you tackle all the tasks associated with how to run payroll, make sure you’ve covered these bases first:

  • Consider a weekly payroll schedule. Not only is it easier to track expenses with weekly payroll, but it’s also a great way to increase employee retention!
  • Keep a single account for payroll. Taxes are confusing enough sometimes – best to keep things as simple as possible with a single account dedicated for payroll processes.
  • Comply, comply, comply. Here’s a payroll checklist item so critical, we’re going to mention it more than once. There are all sorts of labor laws that impact payroll compliance – but how can you stay in the loop at all times? RASI customers have the advantage of a professional, prompt compliance team that keeps compliance in full focus.

This is only three elements of a full pre-checklist for how to run payroll for your eatery. Make sure you check out our entire article for more info!

Man and woman sitting in restaurant dining room working on payroll on laptop.

Now it’s time to create your restaurant payroll checklist! Here’s what you need for running a payroll:

  1. Employer Identification Number: The EIN is the key number that links your organization with the IRS tax system. It’s impossible to pay your payroll taxes without the EIN.
  2. State tax ID: Known as the SEIN, this works similar to federal taxes with the IRS…only in this case, this links your restaurant with the state tax platform.
  3. Employee info: For initial payments, you need the following employee information:
  • Full legal name (first, middle, last)
  • Full street address
  • Completed W-4 form for correct tax withholding
  • Social Security Number

For employees that have already been paid, it’s a bit easier than setting up their payroll for the first time. All you need is:

  • Bank information: Your bank account number and routing number to ensure payments are drawn from the correct account.
  • Pay period: Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly…you need to determine how frequently your employees are paid. We highly recommend a weekly cadence when running a payroll.


RASI offers a wide variety of software and related services to help run your restaurant as efficiently as possible. Request a demo for more information.