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Recipe for Success: 5 Must-Have Ingredients of Restaurant Bookkeeping

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

As a busy restaurateur, it’s easy to push restaurant bookkeeping tasks to the bottom of your priority list. After all, you have better things to do – right?

Not so fast. Restaurant bookkeeping is an essential function for businesses large and small, as accurate, reliable numbers are essential for sound decision making. Also, there is the whole matter of taxes to consider. Safe to say, it’s better to get things right the first time with bookkeeping, instead of paying for your mistakes later on. 

To help get your restaurant accounting processes on the right track, we have assembled the following five tips.

1. Record Sales Daily

It’s dangerously easy to fall behind on recording your sales. In fact, one of the reasons that bookkeeping for restaurants is often a mess is simply because owners and managers fall behind on basic tasks. 

To stay up to date, make a habit of copying or importing the sales from your POS system into your accounting software each day. What you’re aiming for are books that correlate with your bank statements. If you save up all those credit card charges for a weekly or monthly deposit, you’ll have a hard time doing analysis later.

Ideally, your accounting software and POS system are integrated so that this is done automatically. At Xendoo, we integrate your bank transactions with your books, so data entry is always up to the minute. Automating this process not only saves you the time of doing the work manually but also greatly improves accuracy. 

Several people are gathered at a table enjoying a meal.

2. Reconcile Bank Statements Every Month

Yes, your bank statements should be reconciled every month. No, it’s not a good idea to let them sit around for 3, 4, 5, or more months. If you’ve forgotten to enter a payment or a sale in your books, but that payment or sale has been processed by your bank, it will be easier to correct the error if you catch it quickly. In an extreme case, not knowing how much you really have in the bank could lead to bounced checks.

For every account that you receive a monthly statement — bank, credit cards, lines of credit, and loans — compare what their statement says with what your books say. If there are discrepancies, track down what happened and fix it. Of course, if you outsource bookkeeping to a service like Xendoo, you can keep up with this task while keeping your personal schedule open for other responsibilities. 

3. Pay Your Bills Promptly

Vendors love customers who pay on time – or even early. Doing so will get you better deals and early payment discounts. On the flip side, being late will rack up interest charges. Staying on top of your bills, along with managing labor costs properly, are keys to keeping your financial house in order.

To make sure this happens, you should have a reliable Accounts Payable process in place. Your A/P system will record invoices, pay bills online with a credit card or digitally generated checks, and automatically enter the expenses in your books. Record new invoices once or twice a week and make payments once per week to stay current.

A restaurateur takes a close look at his financial statements.

4. Take a Close Look at Your Financial Reports

Anyone can quickly glance at the bottom line of a financial report—but those numbers only tell a portion of the story. It’s the details that you need to understand, and those can be gathered if you take the time to read through your restaurant bookkeeping reports carefully.

Your profit & loss statements and balance sheets can reveal crucial statistics for a restaurant business such as:

  • Profit margin: gross profit ÷ total revenue
  • Sales vs. cost of goods sold ratio
  • Prime cost: ideally food + beverage + labor = 60% – 65% of total sales
  • Compare current profit & loss to previous months and years

Profit margins are notoriously tight in the restaurant industry. Having current information about your financial health is just as important as creating tasty food or offering great service. That’s why Xendoo guarantees delivery of your P&L statement by the 5th business day of every month.

5. Nail Your Taxes.

It’s worthwhile to track down as many tax tips for restaurants as you can find since taxes make up such a notable expense every month. One of the best ways to stay on top of taxes and avoid paying more than is necessary is to keep detailed, accurate records of everything that takes place in your business. 

Extra Ingredient: Outsource Your Payroll

Payroll processing can be quite time-consuming, especially given the complex shift scheduling of most restaurants. It also comes with high penalties if you make mistakes in calculating payroll taxes, or don’t file the taxes on time.

Payroll services are generally affordable, and can often be bundled with other accounting services. Xendoo offers packages that include payroll processing for a budget-friendly flat monthly fee.

Documentation is the name of the game in accounting, yet many restaurants – and businesses in other industries – fall short when doing their own bookkeeping. Working with Xendoo is a big step in the right direction when it comes to documentation and record keeping. And, of course, Xendoo can manage your tax filing as well, so there is nothing lost in translation when going from one service to the next. As an all-in-one bookkeeping and tax filing solution for your restaurant, tax season will no longer feel like the nightmare it once was

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

How Your Small Business Can Prepare for Florida’s Minimum Wage Increase

In recent years, we’ve seen a reopening of the debate over minimum wage. Advocates are currently pushing for an increase to $15.00 per hour by 2026, with the door open to possible increases in the years after that. If you’re a worker, this is good news. A slight bump in the Florida minimum wage can increase the pay you receive, compensating for rising costs of living and other expenses.  However, if you’re a small business owner, this wage increase can lead to tough decisions. Unless you’re a corporate giant, it can be tough to maintain your current roster of employees if you have to pay them more.

In this post, we’ll help you to prepare for the coming changes in the Florida minimum wage. We’ll also provide suggestions about the best ways to navigate the road ahead.

What is the Current Florida Minimum Wage?

As of January 1, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage has increased from $8.56 per hour to $8.65 per hour. Tipped employees have seen a recent increase in their wages, rising from $5.54 per hour to $5.63 per hour. 

According to federal law and in some states, like Florida, employers may pay tipped workers less than the mandated minimum wage. This is called a “tip credit” as employees earn enough in tips to make up the difference.  The “credit” is the amount the employer doesn’t have to pay.  So for employers, the applicable state or federal minimum wage minus the tip credit is the least amount the employer pays tipped employees per hour. If an employee doesn’t make enough tips during their shifts to earn the hourly minimum wage, the employer has to pay the difference.

Are There Plans to Change the Florida Minimum Wage After 2021?

These changes will not stop in 2021. In November of 2020, Florida residents voted to raise the Florida minimum wage to $15.00 by 2026. The minimum wage increases will take place in a phased approach, raising the minimum wage each year on September 30. The proposed schedule will run as follows:

  • $10.00/hour on September 30, 2021
  • $11.00/hour on September 30, 2022
  • $12.00/hour on September 30, 2023
  • $13.00/hour on September 30, 2024
  • $14.00/hour on September 30, 2025
  • $15.00/hour on September 30, 2026

 While there are no specific plans after 2026, the minimum wage increase may increase based on changes to the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region.

An employee hads a customer their food order.

How Should Small Business Owners Prepare for Florida Minimum Wage and Paid Leave Increases?

If you’re a business owner, don’t panic. At Xendoo, we understand the unique challenges facing today’s small business owners. 

Here are some suggestions on ways that your business can prepare for changes in the Florida minimum wage:

Audit Your Expenses

How much are you already spending on overhead, supplies, and operating costs? You may be able to cut a few corners with certain expenses or by eliminating wasted spending. The money you save can be channeled into your human resources budget.

Determine Your Budget

Using these increased wage figures, calculate your new operating budget. Forecasting your operating expenses will let you know what you’re dealing with and provide an idea of what your income needs to be to maintain your profit margin.

Update Your Tech Stack

A tech stack refers to the digital tools you need to run your business. An update can help you to automate your social media presence, streamline scheduling, or integrate automated forms into your company’s website. These improvements optimize your business without the need for additional personnel or work hours.

Check Your Employee Classifications

How many full-time employees do you need? How many part-time employees do you need? Of course, you don’t need to start considering downsizing, but at the same time, it can be helpful to consider what your future needs may be.

Staff Accordingly

You may find that in the future, you can get by with fewer staff members. Perhaps you can rely on part-time staff to fill roles that you currently staff with full-time employees.

Gradually Increase Prices

Your new operating costs will probably push you to increase your prices to maintain your profit margin. However, raising prices slowly will give your loyal customers time to adjust while still ensuring you get the revenue you need.

Outsource Your Back Office

Are you still handling your own bookkeeping and accounting? Paying an employee to handle these specialized tasks may put a strain on your operating budget. Instead, outsource these tasks to a company like Xendoo. We can keep your company up and running without allocating your employees to do the job.

Contact Xendoo Today

The increase in the Florida minimum wage might mean big changes for your business. At Xendoo, we can help you stay ahead of the curve, adapt to these changes, and remain healthy and profitable.

 We understand the challenges that Florida small businesses face. We can provide small business owners with Florida bookkeeping services that ensure accuracy and efficiency so that you don’t have to allocate precious resources to maintaining the books. 

We can also help you with your Florida tax preparation, helping you to navigate the laws and changes that are likely to come your way in the immediate future.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

Eight Tax Tips for Restaurant Owners

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

You know that filing taxes can be stressful even in the best of times, but as a restaurant owner, tax time can leave you feeling in the weeds because your deductions are exponentially more complex. Never fear, though, because Xendoo is here to help. If you aren’t yet taking advantage of our full suite of professional business accounting services, here are a few quick restaurant tax tips for filing returns that can help save you some headache and money.

1. Document, Document, Document!

Did we mention that you need to document everything?  One of the best restaurant tax tips is to document and keep every invoice, every check stub, and every e-mail, no matter how inconsequential you might think it is at the time. You just never know when you might need to produce that little receipt during an audit, and running across a receipt might even remind you of something that you almost forgot to deduct. Set up a sound filing system where you can locate any tax documents you might need by vendor or category and keep it up to date.

2. Deduct All Food and Beverage Expenses

Since food cost is almost certainly your largest expense category (with the possible exception of labor), you should be deducting the cost of everything on your menu as an ordinary and necessary cost of doing business. But it’s not just the actual ingredients that you can write off. You can also deduct the cost of preparation materials like fryer oil and condiments, as well as any food that you have to throw out because it’s expired or spoiled. This is one restaurant tax tip that can take the sting out of tossing out old produce.

3. Deduct All Employee Compensation

Payroll is your other big expense category, and it’s deductible as an ordinary and necessary expense because obviously, your business can’t operate without staff. But, again, it’s not just the weekly payroll that you get to deduct. You can also deduct the cost of any employee discounts on meals, paid vacation or sick days, and any dental, vision, health, life, or other types of insurance you might provide for your team members. However, business owners don’t generally get to count salaries or benefits to themselves as deductions because doing so would essentially make any profits from the business tax exempt.

4. Deduct Mileage and Business Travel

Do you or any of your employees drive a personal vehicle as part of the business? Are you maybe making deliveries or picking up supplies? What about to or from training events? If you have any sort of driving directly related to your business, you can deduct that at the current standard mileage rate. But be careful—this is an often-abused deduction, so your documentation of it needs to be meticulously maintained. Driving to and from work doesn’t count as a business expense. Use either a separate ledger or a smartphone app that’s designed to track mileage. Also, if you have overnight travel for training, food shows, conferences, or other business-related events, you can deduct hotel and food expenses, as well.

5. Deduct Large Equipment Purchases

Under a 2016 change to the tax code, you can now deduct the total cost of certain equipment purchases up to $500,000 for the year of purchase instead of depreciating equipment over time in the traditional manner. Known as the ‘Section 179 deduction,’ this change is meant to ease the cash flow for small businesses. It covers a wide array of equipment such as computers, office furniture, vehicles, and machinery. That means the new walk-in cooler you just bought because the old one finally bit the dust can start working for you right away.

 

A server pours coffee into mugs.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

6. Take Advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Many business owners aren’t aware that the tax code rewards employers for hiring people from certain groups that have historically had difficulty finding employment. Known as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), these groups might include military veterans, summer youth employees, long-term unemployment recipients, rehabilitated felons, residents of designated Empowerment Zones, and many others. This restaurant tax tip is an excellent way to save your business some money while contributing to the community through socially responsible hiring practices.

7. Make Use of Enhanced Charitable Deductions

With a handful of exceptions, the IRS allows businesses to deduct donations to §501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations just like individuals do, including some enhanced deductions specifically for restaurants donating food. Take advantage of these types of restaurant tax tips can be a little tricky, though, so you probably want to hire a small business accounting firm like Xendoo to help navigate these waters safely. You can’t deduct staff time or the total fair market value of the food, but these deductions can still help boost your profit margin significantly.

8. Track Employee Tips Meticulously

Reporting credit card tips is pretty easy since they are tracked through the POS system, but cash tips can get messy. It’s the responsibility of servers to report their tips accurately, but if they don’t report cash tips, the IRS will assume an 8% tip rule. In cash sale situations, the business owner’s responsibility is to withhold 8% of the employee’s cash sales as an assumed tip, and liability for failure to do so could land on the employer. It’s a good idea to go over these rules with your team because you also have to file a Form 8027 each year, and the IRS expects to see accurate records, so it’s in everyone’s interest to pay attention to this one.

 

These restaurant tax tips are a good start for any business owner, but bookkeeping for restaurants isn’t for the faint of heart, which is why Xendoo is ready to help with our affordable bookkeeping and accounting services. Instead, it would be best if you spent your time growing your business and let our team of experts lift the tax burden and do what they do best.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.