Two programs allow restaurant brands to stand out as employers of choice.

It’s not news to anyone that restaurants are having difficulty finding workers—A recent poll by Alignable showed that 85 percent of restaurant owners reported that it was very difficult to find employees. In response, operators are increasing wages, offering hiring bonuses, free meals at interviews, and other perks 

But two offerings from payroll and human resource company ADP® are also going a long way in drawing job applicants to the restaurants that offer them. 

Early Access to Earned Wages

Through ADP’s early access to earned wage program, employees can access their already-earned wages prior to the pay date. When taking into consideration that 80 percent of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck, according to ADP, that’s a perk that can help restaurant employees in a very real way. ADP reports that offering early access to wages doubles job applications for advertised positions. 

“Employees may want to take some of their earned wages prior to payday,” says Lisa Skelly, vice president of franchise partnerships and strategy for global enterprise sales. “In fact, we’ve found 72 percent of employees with increased financial stress are looking for employers who care for their financial wellbeing and we’ve found there’s an increased retention rate for employers who offer this.” 

Further ADP research shows that employers believe financial stress of employees impacts their bottom line—more specifically, 67 percent of employers state employee stress negatively impacts productivity, while 63 percent say it negatively impacts engagement. 

“When we think about promoting financial wellness for workers, we go immediately to the source of pay—that is where we can promote confidence,” says Michelle Young, vice president of ADP’s Employer Financial Solutions business. “We make it easy and seamless and turn-key to offer these tools to employers.”

Early Access to Earned Wage works through ADP’s Wisely® app on an employee’s device. They use the funds as needed and on payday, receive the remainder. And, a recent ADP study revealed that 60 percent of employees would be swayed towards a job offer if it featured flexible pay.

This program’s not just appealing to hourly workers, either. “Salaried employees use it just as much,” Skelly points out. Each employee, she says, uses the program 1.5 times a week, on average.

Offering payroll advances on money already earned can be a huge boon to restaurant workers, preventing them from using cash advance businesses, paying late fees to a credit card or paying interest to a bank for borrowed money. They can also see in the app how much they’ve earned, “so it can incentivize them to work more,” Skelly points out.

Digitizing Tip Payments

Gone are the days when hourly workers leave their shifts with a pocket full of singles. Today, nearly all tips come through credit cards, and tip cards—also offered by ADP—are cards with an employee’s tips, automatically loaded up after a shift. 

“This allows them to be paid right after their shift, and it also means that the employer doesn’t have to go to the bank, and ensures the employee is fully paid out,” explains Skelly. “It’s another competitive offering an employer can offer that really helps both parties.” 

Employees can also track their earnings digitally, even, if they wish, tracking which are the most profitable days to work. 

“The cards give employees control, and grants access to their money whenever they want,” Skelly says. “There’s so much more pressure right now to keep employees, so restaurants have to get creative in how they’re adjusting their practices. This is a way to move with the times to offer what the modern workforce wants.”

Both Earned Wage Access and tip cards are free to employers who partner with ADP for payroll services.  

“Today, employees want a more flexible work culture and more opportunities to receive their earnings and incentives to drive them in their job,” Skelly says. “It’s a competitive market so organizations are starting, especially in the quick-service space, to offer financial wellness tools, to help employees be more financially savvy and meet their needs.”

For more on early access to wages and tip cards, visit

By Amanda Baltazer

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