A time and attendance system is a valuable asset in today’s restaurant landscape — especially when compliance violations and penalties are on the rise. If U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) data makes anything thing clear, it’s that many employers regularly break labor laws. In fact, DoL reports that 80% of employers are not in compliance with applicable wage and hour laws.
Furthermore, a growing number of restaurants are being sued by former employees for wage disputes or have had Fair Labor Standards Act claims filed against them. Nevermind the lawsuits — restaurants can also incur hefty fines for noncompliance, from a few thousand dollars to a few million.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this is a growing trend. “…The number of wage-violation lawsuits has been on the rise for more than a decade, driven by a successful worker-organization movement, increased attention by plaintiffs’ attorneys and complicated labor laws that leave some employers confused, according to legal analysts and industry leaders.”
One of the most powerful ways restaurants can overcome this trend is incorporating a time and attendance solution into their operation.
There are lots of different time and attendance solutions out there. Some go by “time clock,” others refer to them as “web clocks.” Since the names and the solutions vary, it’s important to understand that not all time and attendance systems are created equal.
There is a growing trend to reduce the number of different systems that fall under IT’s projects to manage. That’s why many operators today are selecting time and attendance solutions that integrate or work directly with their employee scheduling software. An automated time and attendance system that integrates with your employee schedules will help keep you compliant, track actual hours worked, work with payroll systems and teams and ultimately, reduce errors and optimize costs. Want to learn how else an upgrade will help your business? Read on…
1. They Save You Time — Spend Yours in Better Ways
The bad news: Inadequate time and attendance management processes can eat up valuable managerial time—time that could be better spent in better ways. The good news: You can save significant amounts of time (not to mention headaches) using solutions that automatically handle time-card adjustments, provide both managers and employees with greater access and visibility, and send real-time alerts when scheduling issues need immediate attention.
2. They Save You Money — Because You Can’t Afford Errors or Theft
When they use outdated time and attendance systems, your restaurant can lose money in a variety of ways, both accidentally and intentionally. Staff members may calculate hours incorrectly, round up or down, or misplace a decimal.
According to studies by the American Payroll Association (APA), errors resulting from the manual processing of time and attendance alone can account for one percent to seven percent of total payroll costs. Further, “buddy punching”—the act of clocking someone in when they’re not actually there—affects approximately 75% of businesses in the U.S. and can cost up to seven percent of a company’s gross payroll annually. If a business’ payroll is $500,000, that’s a loss of $35,000 per year.
Whether it’s human error or time theft, your restaurant cannot afford unnecessary payroll losses. An advanced time and attendance system will mitigate these problems with IP address clock in/out enforcement.
3. Better Data Security — in the Cloud
Imagine the worst-case scenario for your time and attendance data—a system crash. “Trying to piece together the clock-ins and clock-outs of every employee for a pay period would be extremely painful and costly,” says Nathan Pickerill, principal solutions architect at HotSchedules and manager of the Sales Solution Center. What’s more, it could be costly, because “the average employer will generally want to err in the favor of the employee, so they may end up overpaying for time data that was lost.” Restaurants can avoid this calamity by moving their data storage to a cloud-based system. Today, more restaurants are moving to the cloud for a variety of benefits, including data backups and better data security.
4. Better Visibility — for Staff, Managers, and Executives
Another plus of having your scheduling and time card data in the cloud? You can provide much better operational visibility at the regional and corporate level. This allows larger businesses to identify problems and make strategic decisions more quickly and effectively. At the store level, advanced time and attendance systems can help improve manager-to-employee communications, build two-way trust, and eliminate time-consuming time card error fixes. Employees gain the opportunity to actively participate in their schedules, including updates and alerts in real-time.
5. Avoid Legal Issues – Functionality to Support Punctuality
Joliet Slammers Stadium in Joliet, Illinois, struggled with clock-in accuracy when they handled all time and attendance on paper spreadsheets. But when stadium management upgraded their time and attendance system with functionality that supported punctuality enforcement, they saw that labor costs decreased significantly. “There definitely were immediate and long-term labor savings when we turned on enforced clock-ins,” says Tom Fremarek, director of Food and Beverage for Joliet Slammers.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve upgraded your time and attendance technology, you may not only be missing out on the tools you need to avoid costly and image-damaging wage litigation, but also easier, faster, and more effective time and attendance management capability—for the staff, the management, and the executive suite.
Ideally, your software upgrade will include all of the capabilities that help restaurants keep up with the demands of today’s industry, such as:
- Multi-platform access (think: mobile alerts)
- Remote Access
- Payroll transparency
- Cloud data storage
- Time-theft prevention
- Corporate-level data
(Pro tip: For added power and simplicity, choose a time and attendance solution that seamlessly integrates with your scheduling and labor management solution.)