A Timeless Restaurant with Modern Back Office Solutions

Opened in 2010 under the same name as the once members’ only thespian society, Geoffrey Zakarian’s The Lambs Club is a must-try for New York residents and visitors alike. According to the New York Times, the menu features “an amazing collection of flavors that is worth traveling some distance to try.”

The iconic restaurant features a wine list that has won several awards, a menu for any palate, and customer service that is unmatched. Walking into The Lambs Club you’ll notice the restaurant’s preserved history, including floor-to-ceiling iron doors and an 18th century French fireplace. While the ambiance feels vintage, the staff maintain and implement the best technologies to manage restaurant operations.

This comes as no surprise. Zakarian spends time on Food Network TV shows like Chopped and Cooks vs. Cons judging food quality, service, presentation and creativity. It’s only natural to expect these standards to spill over to the staff that manage and run his restaurants.

“We believe in working smarter, not harder,” says Parul Joshi, Finance Controller of The Lambs Club. So as New York laws evolved, she was not happy to learn that her business solutions partner (primarily in charge of her payroll) lacked the experience needed to keep the restaurant compliant.

“They were not approachable. They were unable to provide us with the customized features we now needed, and we could never go to them with questions,” said Joshi.

The HR & Finance Department at The Lambs Club has run efficiently for the last six years, but new regulations brought new processes. With little support from her HR & Payroll partner, many of these new processes were now manual tasks for Joshi and her team.

What laws might Joshi be referring to? Labor laws that have been implemented in New York (or nationally) in the last several years include:

  • Spread of Hours – An employee receives an extra hour of pay for any day that the spread of hours exceeds 10 hours, there is a split shift, or both situations occur. 
  • Commuter Benefits – Employers with 20 or more full-time workers must allow employees to use pretax income on transportation.
  • Tip Credits – Employers may count a portion of an employee’s tips toward minimum wage obligations.
  • ACA Compliance – Restaurants must track employee data to ensure that full-time workers with 30 hours or more per week are offered minimum essential healthcare coverage.

For almost a year, Joshi considered settling on the idea that no provider would be able to offer the support needed to meet these new regulations. She sketched out plans to start tracking the data needed for new requirements in-house, separate from payroll. This seemed like a feasible alternative until the industry was hit with ACA compliance laws. Her HR & payroll provider could offer nothing, not the expertise nor reports that they would need to file to remain compliant.

Joshi decided to search for a new partner. She wanted the ability to customize the product, and she needed a partner that offered more than payroll and basic HR features. After evaluating several providers, Joshi decided to partner with BenefitMall. In addition to accurate payroll processing, we assist her with ACA compliance, sick leave, weighted overtime, and transit tracking. Joshi is even able to integrate our payroll software with her point-of-sale system, saving her team hours of unnecessary work each week. 

"All I can say about the Leigh and the rest of the BenefitMall team is that you have to experience their perfection. Anytime I came to Leigh with a question, he'd respond with 'bingo', quickly followed by a solution to my issue. BenefitMall works hard to make sure your unique needs are met, and the customization won't stop until you find yourself saying 'bingo' as well,” said Joshi. “It is such a relief to finally have a business partner that looks out for me and my team."

If you and your team are facing similar issues when it comes to tracking data and remaining compliant, it’s time for a new HR & Payroll partner. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a new provider. There are dozens of vendors to choose from, but it only takes a few extra questions to make sure you’re picking the one that is the right fit for your business.

If you’re ready to improve your restaurant operations, here are four questions you should ask prospective vendors:

1. What type of support will we receive?

Make sure that your in-house administrators receive the necessary training to manage employee data and generate reports through your user dashboard. Get a full understanding of the support you will receive. What is their availability? What is their response time? Will you receive a direct line or will you be left with a 1-800 number and a generic email? 

2. How have you expanded your product to meet new regulations in the restaurant industry?

HR & Payroll providers that are serious about this industry invest time, money, and resources to expand their product offerings. Find out what your potential provider has been up to in recent years. Have they developed features to help restaurants with ACA mandates? What about the new mass transit laws? How will they help with the new overtime laws?

3. How can you ensure that our restaurant will remain compliant?

A reputable, full-service vendor will be able to file accuracy-guaranteed payroll taxes and assume financial liability for any fines or penalties in the event of a missed deadline or filing error. In addition, the payroll provider should have in-house compliance experts, who stay on top of legislative changes and are available to answer questions or offer recommendations to ensure your business meets all regulatory requirements.

4. What features do you offer that are tailored to meet the needs of the restaurant/hospitality industry?

Last but not least, make sure you choose a vendor that understands the needs of your industry. Ask about features that are must-haves in your industry, such as: Point-of-Sale integration, Workers’ Comp requirements, FICA Tip Credits or the Tip Allocation Report. When you choose a payroll provider that can offer these things in one solution, it will save you time and money. For example, bundling your Workers’ Comp insurance with payroll allows you to make payments based on the actual amount of payroll you run and not an estimated annual total.

Asking these questions will help you find a vendor that not only pays your employees and files your taxes on schedule, but also customizes its services to meet your changing needs over time, putting you and your company on the fast track to success.

For more information about Parul Joshi and The Lambs Club, visit www.thelambsclub.com.