Bookkeeping Services for Restaurants, Bars & Food Trucks in Milwaukee, Madison & Brookfield Wisconsin Restaurant Accounting Services Accounting for Caterers Brew Pubs Franchisees Bakeries Cafes Ice Cream Parlors Food Service Business Beverage Business

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That way you can easily see where your money is going and where it is coming from and make sure that you have an appropriate amount flowing each way. Knowing your key metrics can be the difference between success and failure. Too much labor can bring excellent service that result in higher guest retention.

Your will alert you when a payment is due, and in many cases, you’ll be prompted to authorize the payment and deposit the amount directly into the vendor’s account. By analyzing different revenue sources, you can determine which areas of your business are the most profitable—whether that’s food sales, alcohol sales, merchandise purchases, or catering. You can then take that data and look for ways to grow the most profitable areas while you improve on those that are lacking. This is considered employee income rather than wages and isn’t included in a restaurant’s revenue. Danielle is a writer for the Finance division of Fit Small Business.

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It records income as it enters your bank account and records expenses when they’re paid. You should review your prime costs, CoGs, inventory counts, and labor on a weekly basis, not a monthly basis. These KPIs are controllable, but they can also easily get out of hand if not monitored.

The next step is to set up your chart of accounts, which is used to organize the money flowing in and out of your restaurant. The chart of accounts records high-level transactions such as assets, expenses, liabilities, revenue, equity, and cost of goods sold. This is further reduced to business-specific categories such as sales, inventory, and marketing. It’s essential to find a bookkeeper who understands the nuances of the food and beverage industry, including both front-of-house operations and back-of-house management.

Payroll can be challenging in the restaurant industry, as tracking employee hours can be quite complicated. It’s common for staff members to have multiple wages and positions, so the ability to adjust for different rates is critical. Restaurant accountants are trained to compile data precisely and purposefully. They can analyze your financials and identify operational flaws, unnecessary spending, and trends to pay attention to long-term. Food cost is the ratio of a restaurant’s cost of ingredients and the revenue those ingredients create when you sell menu items. If you do decide to manage your restaurant’s finances, still consider outsourcing payroll.

Start Up Costs Report

Depending on your sales volume and the tasks you need help with, your bookkeeper may only work on your records a couple of hours a day or week. Ideally, you’ll want a bookkeeper who is familiar with the restaurant industry. Typically, they’re happy to send their bookkeepers more work if they can accommodate it. Rather than trying to handle the books yourself or hiring someone to work internally, we recommend getting an outside bookkeeper. This wouldn’t be a full-time position, and they’re a separate person from your business accountant. Thus, they have no control over or connection to the daily ordering and sales in your restaurant.

  • P&Ls provide an overview of your restaurant’s revenue, costs, and expenses.
  • Another option is to pay your bills with online bill payment by linking your bank account to QuickBooks and signing up for online bill pay.
  • She was wonderful and very knowledgeable as we sat together going through my numbers.

But as a restaurant owner, it’s imperative that you stay on top of your finances to make sure you understand exactly what’s happening at your business. For a restaurant, a good bookkeeper can make a big difference to vendor relations, as well. Managing a properly implemented Accounts Payable system will see that vendors are paid on time and ensure that vendors continue doing business with a restaurant. One would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant owner who will argue against the importance of a well-established, smooth-running supply chain. A professional bookkeeper will record and organize important financial transactions, capturing daily sales for instance.

Record Sales Through Your POS Daily

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Your P&L statement reflects sales and costs, and reconciles items like sales volume, food costs, labor costs, operating costs and your profits. This report should provide you with an overall profitability health check of your business. Equally importantly, the P&L is a guiding post to drive business decisions such as when and where to cut costs, how to increase revenue or whether to change your business strategy. Managing a restaurant often requires the business owner to constantly attend to challenging tasks.

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This chart can be broken down into subcategories that specifically tailor to your business. That way, each category can easily be monitored and compared to industry averages. You can choose between cash basis accounting and accrual accounting depending on your profit amounts. You’ll also need to keep constant track of inventory, food and pour costs, prepaid accounts, short pays and vendor credits, and tips.

When your chart of accounts is set up in this manner all you have to do is modify your profit and loss with the correct settings. You can upload your invoices to these services and they will code them by item to your various COGS and expense accounts. Additionally, they allow you to approve invoices that you want to be paid. These services allow you to automate your accounts payable and get a more accurate COGS figure.

Follow the steps in this guide and, when in doubt, contact professionals for advice as soon as a problem arises. Staying on top of your financial records and daily accounting allows you to grow and scale your business. The right tools and partners in place make it easier to focus on building great customer relationships to keep your restaurant running for years to come. Paying your bills on time and keeping your vendors and suppliers happy is essential for the efficient functioning of a restaurant. The next step is to set up your chart of accounts to categorize the money flowing in and out of your business. A standard chart of accounts includes assets, liabilities, expenses, revenue, and owner’s equity.

For every dollar you earn, the prime cost is the amount of that dollar that goes to labor and product . Setting up a chart of accounts will give you a sense of the financial health of your restaurant so you know exactly where your money is coming from and how you can spend it. It also may be requested by investors and shareholders to prove your financial standing. This is a helpful bookkeeping process that verifies every transaction across your accounts so that your ending balance matches. If your accounts don’t reconcile, it may be a sign that funds are being misused, or worse being stolen.

  • From restaurants to dental and veterinarian practices, and everyone in between.
  • You’ll also want to triple-check that taxable items reflect the correct state and local sales tax so that you collect the correct amount from customers.
  • By becoming familiar with the type of credentials, professional accountants and bookkeepers possess will allow you to determine how or when to hire a professional.
  • It’s a good idea to consider outsourcing your books to an outside bookkeeper who can help you stay compliant and on top of your finances.
  • New and established restaurants must know incoming and outgoing expenses to both grow or maintain their position.
  • So, for this example, we’ll utilize Toast, although the setup process will more than likely be similar or the exact same for the rest of the systems.

The bookkeeper may actually take the deposit to the bank to ensure that it arrives safely. Your bookkeeper must check time cards to ensure that employees are being paid accurately. This person must also tally up payroll taxes, income tax withholding and worker’s compensation figures in the company ledger. In addition, the bookkeeper must reconcile vendor invoices with orders and check that payments for supplies and services are accurate.

The most comprehensive program for learning how to do your own bookkeeping for your restaurant

There are a few essential bookkeeping processes that are essential to restaurant accounting. While your accountant will likely handle the majority of these processes, it’s important to be aware of them so you can speak the same financial language. Your P&L statement reflects the sales and costs of your restaurant during a given time period. The P&L reconciles items such as sales, food and labor costs, operating expenses, and your profits. A bookkeeper should prepare deposit slips at the close of business each day. This involves comparing cash receipts, checks and credit card payments with total sales for the day.

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Caryl Ramseyhas years of experience assisting in different aspects of bookkeeping, taxes, and customer service. She uses a variety of accounting software for setting up client information, reconciling accounts, coding expenses, running financial reports, and preparing tax returns. She is also experienced in setting up corporations with the State Corporation Commission and the IRS. Managing your finances can be one of the hardest parts of running a restaurant and also the deciding factor between success and failure. If you’re new to bookkeeping for a small business restaurant, this overview will help you understand common financial tasks such as handling payroll and paying quarterly taxes.


A P&L statement is your guiding post to drive business decisions (when and where to cut costs, how to increase revenue, whether to change your business strategy, etc.). Restaurant accountants understand how to compile data accurately and meaningfully. They are trained to analyze your financials to identify operational shortcomings, cost leaks, and trends that require immediate or long-term action. While daunting, learning what you need to know about restaurant accounting is not insurmountable. And when you do, you can reap the many benefits of finance-driven business decisions.


Getting into the habit of these best practices is often the hardest part. Just like your cleaning investing activities include and ongoing training programs, it’s all about repetition and making recording the financials a part of your regular routine as a business owner. Some bookkeeping software brands that specifically cater to restaurants can connect directly to your POS system. In fact, depending on how old your current system is, this might be a good time to upgrade your POS system too.

If you are already using Toast for your POS system it makes sense to consider their payroll service since your payroll data can easily be pulled from Toast. Obviously, you run into a lot fewer issues when two sister systems integrate together. The pricing is much simpler, cheaper, and easier to understand than ADP.

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