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Top 5 HR Tools for Restaurants

BY -

Phil Strazzulla

May 25, 2021

The right HR software can help your restaurant business to hire, run payroll, keep up with changing shift schedules, and generally help you automate managing employees.

This article is for people in the restaurant industry who want to understand what the best HR tools are for your business.  You may own and operate one location, many locations, a franchise, or you may be a dedicated human resource professional.

We focused this list on labor management tools that can help you streamline your human resources from hiring to onboarding, scheduling, time clocking, payroll and more.


A person using Toast on a laptop

Most people in the restaurant industry are now familiar with Toast, a leading point of sale solution that has grown tremendously in the past few years.

Toast bought a labor management platform a few years ago called StratEx and has integrated it into their POS platform.

This software can now help automate payroll, employee scheduling, time tracking, streamline compliance with labor laws, and automate taxes/tips/salary.

In addition to being a great people operations platform, buying both their HR and POS systems together can be a large cost savings for many restaurants.

Their pricing starts off with a free version and increases depending on what modules you want (they have 5 person coffee shops all the way up to chains with thousands of locations as customers).


7shifts dashboard

7Shifts was built specifically to be a human resources software for the restaurant industry.  So, it’s probably no surprise that they have a wide range of functionality across: employee scheduling, time clocking, labor compliance, and team communication.

They integrate with all the usual suspects on the POS and payroll software side of things so you won’t have to switch up your other systems.

They have a free tier for <10 employee restaurants, and their pricing goes up to $70/mo/location (billed annually).


Fountain editing tool

Fountain is a very powerful hiring solution for organizations that quickly need to scale up (and sometimes scale down) their workforce.

This tool is really built for hiring hundreds and thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of workers quickly.  

They help automate this with an ATS, recruiting chatbot, mobile-first candidate experience, job board distribution, assessments, and more.

If you’re hiring hundreds of people or more per month, check them out. But, they are really only designed for the largest of hiring plans.


TalentReef Onboarding Tasks dashboard

TalentReef is a human resources software platform for hourly workers, and of course many restaurants use them to manage their labor.

Their talent management suite includes: applicant tracking, text recruiting, automated candidate screens, employee onboarding, and an employee self-service portal they can use to access trainings, set goals, and review paperwork.


CareerPlug dashboard

CareerPlug is an applicant tracking system that serves retailers with multiple locations like restaurants, in addition to gyms, salons, stores, etc.  In fact, their big market is franchisees.

It’s important to note that their system is focused on hiring, and they do a great job of helping you automate job distribution, careers site setup, text recruiting, and candidate screening.

However, this system will not handle things like payroll, scheduling, and general talent management tasks.


Workstream dashboard

Workstream is a text-based employee hiring and onboarding platform specifically designed for retailers and restaurants.

They’ll help distribute jobs to platforms like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Snagajob, and then allow job seekers to apply via text which cuts down on friction and allows you to decrease the time it takes to fill open roles.

You can also let employees apply in real time through text-to-apply posters in store.

Wordstream will also automate employee onboarding including the collection of important HR documents, running background checks, and even send training materials to new employees.

Lastly, there are some interesting analytics that give owners, especially those with larger businesses, insights into what is working within their hiring and onboarding process.

Some final thoughts on picking HR software for your restaurant business

Obviously some of the solutions above are great for smaller organizations as they have an all in one suite, and some are more specialized with a focus on hiring and onboarding employees.

I recommend you make a list of your top 3-5 must-have features (why you started the research in the first place), and then a few nice to haves.

Get demos with 2-3 of the above vendors that seem the best fit for what you want, keep good notes, and then get back to running your business!

Buying software can be stressful, time consuming, and of course costly.  Just remember, the benefits of having the right automation in your employee management will more than make up for these negatives.  Good luck!

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