The Australian Cafe Salary Guide

The Fair Work Commission increased the mandated minimum award wages for the Australian Hospitality and Restaurant Industry on 1 October 2022. For hospitality business owners who manually manage payroll, keeping up with these changes can be a complex and stressful process.

We spoke with Rowena McIver, Head of Sales at foundU, about an easier way for businesses to run payroll and ensure they are paying their staff correctly.

If you own or manage any business, wage compliance is an essential part of your operations.

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has had its fair share of businesses failing to comply, with stories of underpayments dominating the news headlines.

“Paying staff can be complex, and if you are manually doing wages, you are highly exposed and at risk of not paying them correctly,” says Rowena.

For smaller hospitality businesses, setting up the systems and processes you need to manage your workforce can be difficult – especially with different rates of pay applying from 7am to 7pm, Sunday penalty rates and everything in between.

That’s why workforce management software like foundU exists.

“foundU is an all-in-one platform that helps automate business processes that, in the past, were quite manual,” says Rowena. “Everything can exist seamlessly within our system, from new employee onboarding, scheduling, interpreting awards and agreements for payroll right through to end of employment.”

For small business owners, automating payroll removes a lot of administrative burden that comes with running a business, giving owners the ability to focus on what they do best – making their business successful.

“People open cafes because they are passionate about food and coffee. Do they love doing payroll? Not necessarily – but we do,” says Rowena. “That’s what our system does – and does exceptionally well.

“Historically, they work long hours on the tools all day. On their days off when they should be enjoying their downtime, they are doing all the admin and payroll. We can cut that down to as little as 30 minutes. They can get their time back but still stay in control.”

Rowena says compliance is a major concern for small business owners.

“It’s important for businesses to ensure their pay cycles and systems are up to date,” she says. “Things like Phase 2 of Single Touch Payroll, for example.”

But compliance, she says, is more than just payroll – it also requires complying with Australian employment rights.

“The hospitality sector has traditionally relied on the use of foreign and holiday workers,” says Rowena. “Our platform has the tools to check whether potential employees have current and valid Australian work rights. If they are serving alcohol, for example, employers can store their RSA in the platform and receive notifications when it is due to expire.”

Gianna Di Bella, co-founder of The Coffee Commune, manages her pay cycle with foundU and says it has helped streamline her business.

“I like the security and efficiency the platform provides,” she says. “It automatically uploads any new changes in rates, so as a business owner I don’t have to worry about underpayments. It can also sync up to your till and tell you the percentage of wages to turnover.”

One of the other benefits for cafe owners, Gianna says, is the employee app, which allows team members to know when they are rostered on and can advise when they are unavailable for shifts in advance.

“This makes communicating and operationally managing our team so much easier! With foundU we said goodbye to a paper based system, which has saved us time and helped us be more efficient.”

Rowena says it’s all about finding a system that fits your businesses’ needs. Or, as she says, finding a way to “invest a little to gain a lot of time back”.

foundU operates on an active user pricing model, which means additional flexibility for businesses who are scaling up or down to meet the demands of the economy.

“In our experience, the cost of switching systems often prevents businesses from moving to something that they need, especially when things are tight,” says Rowena.

“At foundU, we don’t have a fixed-term or lock-in contract. It’s just one less thing to worry about, not having to be locked into fees and being able to meet payments.”

This pricing model seems to be working for foundU’s customers, who can leave at any time – but just don’t.

Ultimately, payroll shouldn’t be difficult to manage – it’s a core part of any business, and with the right tools at your disposal, it can be easy.

“The platform is as simple as you need it to be, but can be as complex as you want it to be,” says Rowena. “It’s truly all-in-one.”

We have prepared a Hospitality Pay Guide that covers most aspects of cafe operations including preparing food, making coffee, cooking and providing customer service. For the full guide, please visit



Being partnered with the Coffee Commune was a logical extension of our business. It is a great opportunity to showcase our equipment range, however, we also see the immense value to the industry of being part of the Coffee Commune’s exceptional training facilities
Fabio Cordovado Director CWE
Labour laws are more and more complex and hard to understand; Through our membership with Coffee Commune, we have constant access to a HR/IR hotline. Quick and Easy.
Phil Johnson Founder and owner Chef
Ecco Bistro
Coffee Commune’s advice, support, and network, helped reduce the red tape, gave us direction, and saved us valuable time.
Sarah Buiso Restaurant Owner of Da Buiso
…if our clients grow, we grow. The Coffee Commune has been invaluable in helping us spread that message.
Vince Monardo Naked Syrups
We are passionate about collaborating with the coffee community to make a real difference for business owners. We look forward to continuing to work with The Coffee Commune.
Matt Allington Partner, Business Services
BDO (Australia)
…we’re passionate about helping businesses identify the things they can be doing to maximise performance.
Alessandro Calabrisello General Manager
Sanremo Coffee Machines Australia