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Whirks vs. Toast: Which Payroll Company is Best for Your Restaurant?

October 13th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Shelby Betts

Running a restaurant is no easy task. You must manage everything from menu planning to customer service, all while ensuring your employees are paid accurately and on time. To make this process smoother, many restaurant owners turn to outsourced payroll companies for assistance. In this article, we will compare two popular payroll options for restaurateurs: Whirks vs. Toast to help you decide which one is the best fit for your restaurant's needs. 


Whirks Payroll, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, has gained recognition as a trusted payroll partner for businesses in the regional midsouth of the United States. Their services encompass various payroll-related tasks, making it easier for restaurant owners to focus on what they do best – running their restaurants. In addition to core payroll services, Whirks provides: 

  • Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance options 
  • Employee benefits and group health insurance  
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance  
  • Child Support & Wage Garnishment Resolutions 
  • Tax Credit Services (WOTC & ERC)  
  • Human Resource services, like Employee Handbook creation  
  • Integrated bookkeeping, accounting & tax services  
  • Digital Onboarding  
  • Employee Self-Service 

Toast Payroll

Toast Payroll, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, has gained recognition as one of the best point-of-sale systems for restaurants with intuitive hardware design and 24/7 service to end users. Toast offers additional services to their point of sales users, including:  

  • Payroll Processing  
  • Tax-compliant updates 
  • Employee profiles 
  • Time tracking 
  • Wage calculations 
  • Digital onboarding 
  • Automated tip distribution 
  • Payment Processing (credit card processing)  

Toast Payroll, on the other hand, is known for its seamless integration with restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems. This integration streamlines the payroll process by automating data transfer, saving time, and reducing the chances of errors. 

Similarities Between Whirks and Toast 

Before delving into the differences between these two payroll companies, let's take a look at some of the common features and services they offer: 

1. Payroll Processing

Both Whirks Payroll and Toast Payroll offer comprehensive payroll processing services. They ensure that your employees are paid accurately and on time, taking the burden of payroll management off your shoulders. 

2. Tax Filing

Tax compliance is a critical aspect of payroll management. Whirks and Toast both handle various tax-related tasks, including filing federal and state taxes on your behalf. This ensures that your restaurant remains compliant with tax regulations. 

3. Employee Self-Service 

Both companies provide employee self-service portals, allowing your staff to access their pay stubs, tax documents, and other important information online. This empowers employees and reduces administrative overhead. 

4. Direct Deposit

Whirks and Toast offer direct deposit services, enabling you to pay your employees electronically. This not only saves time but also eliminates the need for paper checks, making the payment process more efficient. 

Differences Between Whirks and Toast 

Now, let's explore the distinctive features that set Whirks Payroll and Toast Payroll apart: 

Whirks Payroll: Specialized Services with Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Tax Add-on Options 

Wage Garnishment and Child Support Notices: 

One of Whirks Payroll's standout features is its expertise in handling wage garnishment and child support notices. They understand the complexities of wage garnishment orders and can help ensure compliance with legal requirements. This is particularly important for restaurant owners, as wage garnishments can be more common in the industry. 

State Tax Filings 

Whirks Payroll goes the extra mile by managing state tax filings for your restaurant. This can be a cumbersome task due to the varying tax laws and regulations in different states. Whirks ensures that your restaurant remains compliant with state tax obligations. 

Bookkeeping & Tax Needs

Whirks is a CPA-based payroll company that can also combine bookkeeping and tax services for restaurant owners. When a restaurant chooses Whirks for all of these services, they receive monthly financial statements, books stay up to date, bills are paid for, and all taxes that an owner must file (including sales and liquor taxes) are taken care of all in one place. As a restaurant owner, you can have peace of mind that your business entity and compliance is handled accurately, and you get regular insight into your COGS so that you can be profitable. This is a very unique benefit when working with Whirks because Whirks specializes in restaurant bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll needs.  

Toast Payroll: POS Integration for Efficiency 

Seamless Integration with POS Systems

One of Toast Payroll's strengths lies in its integration with restaurant POS systems. This integration allows for the automatic transfer of sales and labor data from your POS system to the payroll platform. As a restaurant owner, this means less manual data entry and a more streamlined payroll process. 

Time and Attendance Tracking

Toast offers robust time and attendance tracking features. With the integration of POS data, it can accurately capture employee hours worked, making it easier to calculate payroll accurately. This feature is particularly beneficial in the restaurant industry, where employee schedules can vary widely. 

Custom Reporting

Toast Payroll provides customizable reporting options, allowing you to generate reports tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need insights into labor costs, sales trends, or employee performance, Toast offers the flexibility to create the reports you require. 

Best Point of Sales System

Toast is best known for its intuitive software, hardware, and point-of-sale systems. With Toast, you can manage scheduling, menu pricing, payment processing, tips, hours, and payroll all in one system. If you like the idea of consolidating restaurant operations and people operations into one system, Toast is a great option for you. 

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Making Your Decision: Whirks vs. Toast 

Choosing between Whirks Payroll and Toast Payroll ultimately depends on your restaurant's specific needs and priorities. 

Choose Whirks Payroll If...

You are considering outsourcing your bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes and want to consolidate that into one partnership with restaurant experts. If you operate in a state with complex tax regulations, have routine child support, wage garnishments, and employee payroll complexity, you will appreciate all that Whirks offers.  

Choose Toast Payroll If...

If you want to prioritize seamless integration with your restaurant's POS system for a true all-in-one operational platform, Toast is a great option for efficient data transfer. Accurate time and attendance tracking is crucial for your restaurant's payroll management, and if you value customizable reporting options to gain deeper insights into your restaurant's performance, then Toast is a great pick for you.  

Ask Yourself what YOUR Business Needs 

In the world of restaurant payroll services, both Whirks Payroll and Toast Payroll offer valuable but different solutions.  

To make an informed decision, evaluate your restaurant's unique needs and priorities. Consider factors such as your location, the complexity of your tax obligations, and the level of automation you desire in your payroll process. By doing so, you can determine whether Whirks or Toast is the better fit for your restaurant's payroll needs, ultimately helping you run your establishment more efficiently and effectively. 

Thinking about transitioning to Whirks for your payroll services? Learn more about us through our demos, visit our pricing guide, or review the details in our Payroll Agreement. If you’re still in the decision-making process, this article can guide you through a seamless transition between payroll services. Want to chat right now? We’re here and ready.