Cash Discount vs. Surcharge Program Myths

There is much confusion and misinformation regarding cash discount and surcharge programs.  Let’s dispel the myths.

What’s the difference?


A fee applied to a published price when paying with a card.

Published prices are the price paid with cash.

Cash Discount

A discount on a published price when paying in cash.

Published prices are the price paid with a card.

What’s the problem?

Merchants believe that by adding a service fee to all card transactions, they are offering a “cash discount program.”  However, these transactions are not excluded from Visa surcharge rules simply because the merchant declared that a service fee is added to all transactions and a discount is applied for cash sales. Adding any fee to a displayed price is a surcharge.

While it may sound like a minor difference, it’s actually very important in terms of legality and compliance with card brand rules.

When can an additional fee be added to published prices?

The ability to surcharge only applies to credit card purchases, and only under certain conditions. Surcharges cannot be applied to PIN-capable debit cards, even if the PIN is not. Being used for the transaction.

Simple Rules

Merchants can participate in a compliant surcharge program, but there are some rules and regulations to keep in mind.

  • Merchants must register with credit card brands before implementing a surcharge
  • Surcharge can only be applied to credit cards – debit cards, gift cards and prepaid cards are excluded
  • Surcharge should not exceed the merchant cost of acceptance, capped at 4%
  • Signage must disclose the surcharge at the point of entry and acceptance
  • Some states do not allow surcharge

Surcharge Solution

Heartland’s compliant credit surcharge program is available to clients in any state where permitted by law.*

  • Automates the addition of surcharge at checkout when appropriate
  • Complies with card brand rules – applying surcharge to regular posted price
  • Deposits sales proceeds and surcharge revenue the next day

Contact Jimmy Smith at to learn more.

*As of early 2021, only Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico continue to prohibit surcharging.  Note that surcharging laws have been overturned by court decisions in several other states but are still on the books.

How to pick the right POS system for your bar

Bars, nightclubs, pubs, lounges, cafes, and bistros can all take advantage of the many features POS (point of sale) systems offer to streamline their processes and improve customer loyalty. Whether you’re running a sports bar or the latest hot spot, you need a platform for payment processing.

The best bar POS systems can do a lot more than just payment processing; they can be used in tablet form by your bartender and waitstaff to accept orders, they can open a bar tab for a customer who might want to order more drinks as the night goes on, they can help with inventory tracking in the back, they can integrate promotions such as happy hour deals as well as loyalty programs, and they can be used for bar management, customer management, and employee management. So getting a good POS system gives you an all-in-one, user-friendly solution that will make running your bar that much easier.

Whether you’re just looking to make the day-to-day operations of your bar a lot smoother or you are trying to grow your small business, a point of sale system can be invaluable. It can take a lot of the hassle away, leaving you free to focus on plans, strategies, innovations, and employee management.

What should you look for in a bar POS system?

There are many choices when it comes to bar POS systems, and the best choice for your business is one with maximum functionality and a reasonable price point. Of course, the fact is that each bar, lounge, café, or nightclub is different and offers different benefits to its customers. You may specialize in ambiance, in different types of drinks, in creating a cozy interior, or in offering cutting-edge music to your customers. But there is one thing that all bars and nightclubs have in common: they want to provide good service to their customers, and they want them to keep coming back night after night. In order to do this, there are certain features you might need from a good point of sale system.

Mobile POS systems improve the customer experience

For a full-service bar, you need POS software that is compatible with the iPads/tablets you provide to your bartender, waitstaff, or customers. These tablets are user-friendly and offer several functions. They help with menu management because they allow you to change your menu, depending on the ingredients you have available. They enable bartenders and waitstaff to accept orders from customers and prompt bartenders and waitstaff to mention your specials of the day to the customer. And they can also be used for payment processing right there and then, in the way that the customer prefers.

Although some people still like to pay for their drinks in cash, there are many who might prefer to just enter their card information into the iPads/tablets or use their smartphones to make a payment. This method is very similar to online ordering, and it shortens the time it takes customers to pay. They don’t have to wait for a bill, then provide a payment method, then wait for the waitstaff to come take it to the cash register and come back with change from the cash drawer or a card reader.

A mobile POS system is also beneficial to the waitstaff of a full-service bar because it prevents them from having to keep going back and forth to the cash register. They can focus all their efforts on making sure that the customer is happy rather than running around to complete a process that ought to be quick and easy.

POS systems offer fraud protection

Unfortunately, every business is vulnerable to fraud, and restaurants and bars are no different, as thieves may try to use stolen debit or credit cards to pay their bar tab. However, your POS software can provide some protection against this by allowing you to preauthorize cards before you open a bar tab. If the customer presents a card, your bartender can run it through the system to find out if it’s been reported lost or stolen, and the bar POS software will give you an answer in real-time. In such cases, the point of sale system will deny payment through that card even before a bar tab has been opened, which means that the customer will have to give you a different method of payment.

As a bar or nightclub owner, you want to make sure that your customer is happy, but you also want to make sure that you protect your small business against possible fraudsters. A bar POS software that does this in addition to ringing up sales will give you some peace of mind.

A POS system makes ordering easy

As we mentioned earlier, the best POS systems are mobile and hooked up to your waitstaff’s iPads/tablets. Most systems offer menu management, so you can vary the menu on the tablets so that it reflects your inventory. Your waitstaff will never again have to tell a customer that you don’t have a menu item listed on the menu.

In addition, the functionality of a POS system includes the capacity to keep an open bar tab. This is a convenience that many bars and lounges offer their customers. If you open a bar tab for the customer, that means that they just have to tell the waitstaff when they want another round of drinks. They don’t have to bring their credit card out every time. The waitstaff will be able to take their card at the beginning of the evening, start the bar tab, and return the card right away. At the end of the night, when the customer leaves, they can process the tab without even asking for the card again.

This method of tableside ordering makes things much more convenient for both the customer and the waitstaff. The customer doesn’t have to interrupt their conversation or their enjoyment of the music by going through the buying process all over again. And the waitstaff doesn’t have to disturb them to ask them to pay up.

A POS system also allows waitstaff to keep multiple tabs open at the same time, so even if all the customers at a table want to open a tab, your POS system can give you the capacity to do so in real-time.

Your POS system should enable you to track sales

At the end of the day (or the week, or the month) you want to be able to sit down and take stock of how well your small business is doing. This applies to any business, but it’s particularly important for bars and nightclubs that have just started because the first six months can make or break a small business.

A POS system can help you to track sales by creating sales reports that tell you exactly how much you’ve made in terms of sales, either on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you prefer, you can get quarterly printouts as well. Additionally, your POS system can also give you a breakdown of how much of the money you made was on drinks and how much came from food.

POS systems for bars can also create reports that offer drink-by-drink breakdowns as well. This can be really useful to a bar owner because then you can try and promote the popular drinks and food items even more. Or you can introduce new items that are similar to those items and see if they take off. In this way, having a sales report can help you with business decisions and show you where your business needs to focus.

Your POS system should help you with inventory management

Inventory tracking is important for bar owners so that the bar always has supplies on hand for the most popular drinks. A POS can help you do this as well by maintaining a database of everything that you usually keep in the back. It may take some time to set up this database, but once you have it, all you have to do is mark off how much you have available of each item.

Staff members can update inventory too. So anytime they see that inventory items are running low, they can make a note of it, thus preventing you from running out of those items completely. And you can set up your POS to prompt you to buy the items you need if they are running low.

A POS helps you run promotions and loyalty programs

Businesses can attract new customers by running promotions. Most bars have a happy hour where they offer drinks at discounted prices. This might attract customers who don’t mind taking a chance on a new place as long as the drinks don’t cost too much. And if those customers find that they like the bar, they might return during regular hours as well. Often, people who come in during happy hour end up staying longer too.

The best POS systems will automatically change prices during happy hour or other sales and change them back again after happy hour is over. Once you set them up to do this, you don’t have to worry about it on a day-to-day basis.

There are also other types of loyalty programs that businesses run. For example, you might offer free food and drinks to regular customers after they’ve purchased a certain amount already. Some loyalty programs at nightclubs allow members to skip the line that forms outside and walk in without having to wait. Customers who are members of a loyalty program can also take advantage of coat checks and bottle service.

Gift cards are also a great way to entice new customers. If one of your regular customers gives a friend a gift card, that friend might end up becoming a regular too. And a good POS system will help you to load the money/points on a gift card and apply them when the customer uses it.

Should you run a bar without a POS system?

Obviously, there were bars long before there were POS systems. So it’s not completely impossible to run a bar without investing in a POS system, but it does put a lot of pressure on employees who not only have to make sure that customers get their orders but also keep track of the money coming in and money going out. An employee who is overtaxed is likely to make a lot of mistakes, which is clearly bad for your business.

Without a POS system, you also miss out on all the add-ons we’ve discussed, especially the management tools. You’ll have to do your inventory management manually, which means that there is greater scope for human error. You’ll also have to keep track of all the open tabs. If you or your waitstaff forget about even one open tab, that’s going to mean a loss for your bar.

Plus, it becomes more difficult to figure out exactly what direction your business is going to take in the near future when you don’t have access to sales reports from your POS system. Sure, you can sit down and calculate all your sales before making business decisions, but this is a lengthy procedure and wastes a lot of time, which could be better spent doing something else.

So it might be possible to run a bar without a POS system, but it’s certainly a lot more difficult. Instead, it makes sense to invest in a good POS system like Heartland, which gives you all the above benefits and more. It’s easy to train your employees to use the system, and you get to pick and choose the features that you want to use. Heartland’s POS systems offer very reasonable monthly fees and substantial value to bar owners.

Ready to get a POS system in place at your bar? 

Heartland is the point of sale, payments, and payroll solution of choice for small businesses that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back, and spend less time in the back office. More than 750,000 businesses trust Heartland to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at

June Manager’s Tip of the Month from UHG

Welcome to Manager’s Tip of the Month! Each month we’ll spotlight an issue that is felt by employees in the hospitality industry. Then, we’ll provide insight on how managers and employers can address the issue and help build a positive workplace culture.

June: Equitable break policies

Statistic: 66% of hospitality workers surveyed report that offering consistent breaks for all employees would be a meaningful strategy to support their mental health1.

Problem: Due to the nature of hospitality work, employees often find it challenging to be positive and productive for long periods of time without breaks. Across all position levels, people may feel dejected, resentful, and exhausted if there is no time to step away. While it can be difficult to offer breaks consistently in hospitality work, the effort is worthwhile: “…breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day… help to reset your mood… and [a break] increases levels of energy at work and decreases exhaustion”2.


Ideal Scenario: Show your team you care by providing clear guidance on when and how everyone, not only smokers, can take short breaks throughout the day.

  • Ensure all employees have access to breaks with clear protocols that ensure breaks are covered and communicated.
  • If possible, a manager can offer to take on duties for a few minutes when someone needs a quick break to cool down or breathe. That can make a world of difference.

Next Best Scenario: Things can get hectic at work. Maybe you’re short-staffed on a busy day, or there are other factors that make ensuring breaks seem impossible.

  • Be transparent with your team: clearly communicate your support and your effort to provide breaks even if you are unable to do so. This will demonstrate respect and care for the well-being of your team.


1Creating a Culture of Support in the Workplace: A Best Practices Resource for Managers in the Hospitality Industry – Active Minds

2Foundation for Success: The Importance of Taking Breaks – The Wellbeing Thesis

Congratulations to Florida’s New Michelin-Recognized Restaurants

TALLAHASSEE — Last night was a great victory for Florida restaurants, including dozens of FRLA Members across the state, who were recognized by the revered Michelin Guide. Restaurants in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami were recognized in categories for one star, two stars, Bib Gourmand awards, and recommended restaurants. Sommelier of the Year and Best Cocktail were also awarded.

“Guests come from across the state, country, and globe to experience Florida’s world-class dining options, said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Not only is the Michelin recognition well deserved, but it will bring more people to our state, to our hotels, and to our restaurants, strengthening our communities and the overall health of our hospitality industry. Congratulations to our many FRLA member winners and to all recognized!”



2 Stars 

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Miami

1-Star Awards 


Boia De

Cote Miami

The Den at Sushi Azabu Miami

Elcielo Miami: Juan Manuel Barrientos

Hiden:  Chef Shingo Akikuni

Le Jardinier

Los Félix

Stubborn Seed: Jeremy Ford

The Surf Club Restaurant: Thomas Keller

Bib Gourmand (Value for Money) 


Chug’s Diner


El Turco

Ghee Indian Kitchen

Hometown Barbecue Miami


Krüs Kitchen

La Natural


Lung Yai Thai Tapas

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Michael’s Genuine

Phuc Yea

Red Rooster Overtown

Sanguich de Miami

Tinta y Café

Zak the Baker

Zitz Sum

Sommelier of the Year

Victoria James, Cote Miami

Exceptional Cocktail Award

Ruben Rolon, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami and Le Jardinier Miami

Michelin-Recommended Miami

 Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza

Nossa Omakase



Estiatorio Milos

Joe’s Stone Crab


Le Zoo


Josh’s Deli

Latin Café


Sushi Yasu Tanaka



Buya Izakaya + Yakitori




Hakkasan Miami

Niu Kitchen


Luca Osteria

La Camronera


Hiyakawa Miami

Doca Provisions

Café La Trova

Los Fuegos by Francis Mallman

Pao by Paul Qui

Hoja Taqueria

La Mar by Gaston Aurio

27 Restaurant & Bar


Havanna Harry’s


1-Star Awards in Orlando

Knife & Spoon




Bib Gourmand 

Bombay Street Kitchen

Ravenous Pig

Papa Llama



Swine & Sons

Z Asian

Michelin-Recommended Orlando


California Grill

Orlando Meats


Se7en Bites


The Pinery


Kabooki Sushi


Pizza Bruno


Kai Asian Street Fare

Black Rooster Taqueria


Tori Tori

Shin Jung

Maxine’s on Shine

Sticky Rice

The Polite Pig

Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen

Moriomoto Asia

Sear + Sea


Bib Gourmand

Ichicoro Ramen


Rooster and the Till

Michelin-Recommended Tampa

Bern’s Steakhouse



Restaurant BT

Oak & Ola





Mise en Place



Yummy House


Bistro BT

On Swann


To visit the Michelin Guide site for all Florida-recognized restaurants, click here.





Improve your restaurant’s cash flow with this secret ingredient

Let’s start at the beginning: What exactly is cash flow?

Cash flow is defined as “the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business, especially as affecting liquidity.”

In other words, it’s the amount of cash coming in, minus the amount of cash going out:

Inflow – Outflow + Total restaurant cash flow

This isn’t a new concept, but the past couple of years have shown just how critical it is for small businesses to have a positive cash flow that offers a buffer in the case of unexpected expenses or short-term closures (global pandemic sound familiar, anyone?). And getting there starts with having the right technology, like a restaurant point of sale system.


What does your POS have to do with your restaurant’s cash flow? More than you think. From powerful features that streamline ordering to robust data that helps you make better financial decisions, POS systems are a big piece of the puzzle. The right one will help nip cash flow issues in the bud or prevent them before they even arise.

Read on for how to:

  • Choose the best restaurant management system for your business
  • Increase sales and decrease costs with mobile ordering
  • Use data to supercharge the customer experience
  • Cut down on food waste with inventory visibility


First things first: How to choose the right POS system

Keep in mind that restaurant POS systems aren’t one size fits all. What works for a retail store probably isn’t going to be the best choice for your restaurant. You need one that offers solutions unique to the challenges restaurant owners face, like keeping inventory fresh and wait times short.

You also need a POS with rich reporting features. When you can look back at historical sales, inventory and overhead expenses, you can make a budget and cash flow forecast based on your data, as opposed to intuition, restaurant industry averages or whatever else you’re relying on. This kind of reporting is especially useful if you’re a seasonal restaurant business with varying peaks.

Let’s dive into a few more specific features that will help with cash flow management.


Keep things moving with mobile ordering

The quicker you turn tables, the shorter your wait times. That equates to happier customers (and more of them).

You can speed up the whole dining process by offering mobile and self-ordering options (like Heartland Restaurant’s Scan to Order and Scan to Pay).

These features keep things moving quickly for the kitchen, servers and customers, meaning higher sales and more cash coming in. They also keep more cash from going out, because they can cut down on labor costs and menu printing.

Use customer insights to increase tickets and repeat visits

It might sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget: Customers are almost always your biggest cash flow generator. On top of that, 80% of your revenue comes from just 20% of your customers. That means it’s loyal customers who really need your attention and nurturing.

How do successful restaurants build that loyalty? The key is knowing your clientele inside and out. Track things like their favorite menu items and pairings, the average time between visits, if they prefer to eat in or order out and if they usually dine as a family, a couple or on their own. Then, use these insights to craft more personalized promotions, emails and social media campaigns.

You can also use customer insights found in your POS system to increase your average ticket. For example, if you’re seeing a trend in customers pairing certain drinks and dishes together, train your staff to make those popular suggestions to all diners. Higher tickets = more revenue = healthier cash flow.


Focus on inventory to decrease food waste

The average restaurant wastes 4-10% of its purchased food. That means you’re leaving – forgive the pun – a lot of money on the table.

Restaurateurs can use their POS’s inventory management features and reporting to track exactly what’s selling and what isn’t and when it’s time to take that item off the menu. Or if you’re stocking the same volume of ingredients every day despite varying traffic peaks, work with your vendors to edit those orders.

You can also use POS inventory features to keep a close eye on inventory levels and place quick reorders when necessary. Imagine running out of brie when you have an apple & brie crepe on your menu. Now you’ve likely wasted all of the apples you had on hand (and disappointed a few customers, too!).

Whether you’re a business owner with one location or ten, there’s no way for you to have a totally clear picture of your revenue, labor and food costs, customers and inventory without a data management system. And the more you know, the better business decisions you will make — all leading to more customers, sales and savings, with fewer cash flow problems. Learn more about our cloud restaurant point of sale products.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islander Contributions in Florida’s Hospitality Industry

Since the 1970’s, there have been efforts to celebrate the rich cultural contributions brought to America by those of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. In recent decades, May has been designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI).

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed greatly to the American community through various industries including the arts, science, business, and more. Here in Florida, we could not be more proud of the numerous contributions of individuals from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds to make Florida’s hospitality industry the strongest in the nation. In honor of AAPI heritage month, we would like to highlight just a few amazing individuals and their outstanding achievements to keep us Hospitality Strong.

Dennis Chan, Chef and Owner, Blue Bamboo, Jacksonville, Florida

Dennis Chan grew up in the hospitality industry and his family’s record of restaurant ownership dates back more than 80 years. His dream was to follow in the family business, and, after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he opened his own restaurant. His leadership in his community and in the local and statewide hospitality industry is commendable. During the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to not only survive but grow and thrive. He was recently announced as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year for the entire state of Florida. We cheer him on as he travels to DC next week for his honors and nomination for the national award. Thank you, Dennis, for your passion, your service to your community, and your leadership on the FRLA Northeast Florida Chapter Board!


Sheldon Suga, VP & Managing Director, Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key

Sheldon Suga is an outstanding and longtime leader in the hospitality industry – not just in Florida – but across the world. His background extends to hospitality executive positions in Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan, and more! Sheldon is known for his kindness and business leadership and has served on his local FRLA chapter boards. Most recently, Sheldon served as FRLA’s Chairman of the Board in the longest tenure and throughout the worst crisis to face the hospitality industry in recent history – the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the crisis he faced in his day-to-day position managing a top national resort in The Keys, he was leading efforts as Chairman of our statewide Board to strategize on best practices and policies to help alleviate the struggles that were paralyzing our industry. His involvement in advocacy for Florida hotels and restaurants was key to our accomplishing so much during the 2021 Legislative Session and helped our industry begin its long road to recovery. Thank you, Sheldon, for your tenacity, kindness, and leading us back into doing what we do best – providing the best customer service for our guests to keep them coming back!

Olivia Hoblit, Regional Manager, Innisfree Hotels, Amelia Island and Current Chairwoman of the FRLA Board of Directors

Olivia Hoblit is incredibly special to Florida’s hospitality industry and FRLA. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the Board for FRLA. We recently highlighted Olivia’s thoughts on leadership during Women’s History Month. Coming to the U.S. from the Philippines as a young teenager, she was determined to succeed in a new country. And she surely has! One of Olivia’s most well-known principles is investing in the people around her, those who serve underneath her, and locating those individuals with talent to mentor them. She gained so much from being mentored and invested in, so her passion is paying that forward. She believes strongly in the high school programs that introduce students into hospitality – HTMP for hotels and ProStart for culinary. Knowing there are leaders out there like Olivia, with her focus on the people and the future of the industry helps us to secure that future as we face historic labor challenges. Her mantra is to “always make things” better, and with Olivia leading, we know she will continue to do just that.

Thank you to Dennis, Sheldon, and Olivia for speaking with us and letting us feature you this month!

To learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, click here.

Congratulations to FRLA Members For Winning Forbes Five-Star Awards

Congratulations to the following FRLA members in Miami for being awarded the 2022 Forbes Five-Star Awards!
Read the full list in the Miami Herald article here:
The Spa at Carillon Miami Beach

Take advantage of these tax credits

The tax credit landscape has become a bit complicated over the last year. Don’t miss out on every opportunity to claim credits you’re due.


ERTC, WOTC, FICA, the alphabet soup of tax credits can be confusing, especially when the rules for some, such as the ERTC, have changed over the past two years. Nonetheless, it’s worth verifying that you’re claiming all the credits you qualify to receive.


The Employee Retention Tax Credit can be applied retroactively and allows restaurant operators to lower their federal quarterly payroll tax bill.

The ERTC was originally intended to be a localized credit to apply in singular situations—for example, a tax credit to help you pay employees should a hurricane render your restaurant inoperable. It became a national tax credit option in 2020 for small businesses shut down by the pandemic.

For the 2021 ERTC, a business with 500 or fewer employees can claim up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for the first three quarters of the year. To qualify, the business must show a 20% or more decline in gross receipts for each quarter claimed or show it was subject to a government-ordered capacity restriction.

Funding for the ERTC in the fourth quarter was pulled back to help fund the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. So, note that you cannot apply for the ERTC for the fourth quarter of 2021 (Oct.-Dec.). The IRS has become severely backlogged in processing ERTC payouts (which will happen when a tax intended for localized applications goes national), but rest assured, qualified credits will all be paid eventually. (Note: If you received a Paycheck Protection Program loan and are applying for loan forgiveness, consult a tax professional to navigate how PPP loan forgiveness and ERTC work in the same year.) Read more on the ERTC .


The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax credit for hiring applicants from groups who face significant barriers to employment—including individuals unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.

With hiring needs at an all-time high, now is a great time to take advantage of this tax credit, which can help offset the cost of turnover and cover recruitment incentives, including hiring bonuses.

To qualify, a new hire must fit into one of the target groups identified by the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes long-term unemployment recipients, qualified veterans or justice-involved individuals, food-stamp recipients, summer youth hires and others. For a complete list, see here .

Restaurants can earn a maximum credit of $2,400 for each employee coming off long-term unemployment at the time of hire. Employers earn a credit equal to 25% of the employee’s wages if the staffer works at least 120 hours in the first year and 40% if the individual works at least 400 hours—up to the $2,400 cap, but some targeted categories offer an even larger credit. For more information, check out IRS Form 8850 .


The Federal Insurance Contributions Act is only available to businesses in the food and beverage industry who employ tipped servers. If your tipped employees made above the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour), you may be eligible for the FICA Tip Credit.

According to the IRS, this tax credit equals the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes the employer paid on tips received by the tipped worker whether they were cash tips, charge-card tips cashed out at the end of the shift, or charge-card tips distributed through payroll.

To qualify to receive the FICA tax credit, employers have to ensure that their employees are making at least the federal minimum wage. If the state has a higher minimum wage, employees’ wages have to hit that minimum (total compensation includes wages, tips, meals, lodging, and service charges).

If your tipped employees made above federal minimum wage (or the state’s minimum wage, whichever is higher), you as an employer can claim the FICA tax credit on that portion of their wages.

The formula is:

Hours x (hourly rate + reported tips) = Weekly wages
Hours x federal wage rate = Wages paid at minimum wage
Weekly wages – (Wages paid at minimum wage x FICA 7.65%) = FICA Tax Credit
FICA Tax Credit x 52 Weeks = Total tax credit you can receive per employee

The form to claim FICA is IRS Form 8846.


Heartland provides entrepreneurs with software-driven technology to manage and grow their business. The company serves more than 400,000 merchants nationwide, delivering trusted solutions for payment, payroll and human resources, point of sale, customer engagement and lending. Heartland is a leading industry advocate of transparency, merchant rights and security. Heartland is a Global Payments Company (NYSE: GPN). Learn more at Heartland.

Finding Peace Through Travel – Rozeta Mahboubi – Women’s History Month

Rozeta Mahboubi, FRLA Broward Regional Director

Finding Peace and Life Through Travel

Throughout a life filled with change and progress, a steadfast love of travel always comforted and centered Rozeta Mahboubi, FRLA Regional Director for Broward. Originally from Iran, her family first came to the United States to find better medical care for her sister. While here, her parents continued to do what they always did – travel. They traveled around the U.S. to find where they would call home for a few years, but when the Iranian Revolution began, they knew they could not return and were in America to stay.

With a stop in Maryland, they later settled in Denver. “It had all 4 seasons and beautiful mountains. It was very similar to Tehran,” Rozeta says. They had found their home base. And while Colorado was home, they never stopped traveling. It was something Rozeta developed a passion for early in life. Whenever big decisions in life arose, Rozeta took to travel – to the skies and to boats (Did you know that she originally wanted to be a Cruise Ship director?). Immersing herself in travel and other cultures helped her find her way through the next big decision she had to make.

Her passion led her to study Hospitality Meeting & Travel Administration in college after switching from computer science. She wrote her thesis on cruise lines in her quest to become a Cruise Ship Director. After spending time on a ship in Norway running events and catering for charter cruises, she visited her parents who had then settled in San Diego and began working for the San Diego Princess Resort. While there, she met someone, fell in love, and ended up moving to Las Vegas, where she was surrounded by all of the great hotels and developers. She worked at The Luxor Hotel & Casino in sales and marketing for a period, but eventually took a job with a German Tour Operator who hired her to put together tour packages across North America for German-speaking travelers. As it turns out, Florida is an incredibly popular place for German travelers, and she wanted to learn all she could about the state, so she relocated here in the late 1990’s.

She spent time in Naples opening The Inn on Fifth and then settled in Southeast Florida, worked for the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport, followed by seven years as the Tourism Director leading the Hollywood Office of Tourism. During that time and under her administration, they opened the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and The Diplomat Resort & Spa. She loved her time in destination marketing and had amazing experiences like traveling with Governor Jeb Bush and Enterprise Florida to South America and Europe to promote tourism for the City of Hollywood.

When Rozeta felt she needed a change, you guessed it. She went traveling – this time to Thailand, Indonesia, and Europe – a very “Eat, Pray, Love” moment, she tells us. She wrote a lot during her travels, a prized possession being her journals which she hopes to turn into a book one day. She eventually settled back in South Florida, initially as the President/CEO of Martin County Convention & Visitors Bureau and ultimately consulting for various travel and tourism partners before she found her way to FRLA in 2019. She loves advocating on behalf of her members and bringing her diverse background across destination marketing, hospitality, and events to her work as Regional Director. She credits her happiness in her current role to the people she works with. Not long after joining FRLA, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and then her father passed away. With so much going on, she was comforted by the bond she shares with her members and board who helped her through such a tough loss.

Throughout her diverse career, she faced some challenges, feeling that she lost out on certain positions because she was female, but she used those experiences to improve and grow. Rozeta is thrilled to see more women GMs and in other leadership positions, something she think certainly deserves celebrating this Women’s History Month.

Her desire is to share her experiences and help inspire younger women in her community and in this industry. She wants to contribute to helping build future leaders and advises women coming up in hospitality to follow their strengths and passion and go for their dreams. “Don’t be afraid to break barriers,” says Rozeta. She sure wasn’t!

Closing Question: Is there a woman from history who you admire? Why?

“My grandmother. She was raised in very small town in Iran where religion and culture limited her capabilities, but in her own way, she broke the mold. Women weren’t supposed to do things in Iran like speak up or earn respect, but she was a strong woman – a true matriarch. Despite the rules and expectations, she was highly educated and self-taught, which was rare in a place where no schooling or reading was allowed. She would tell me, ‘I have read more books than the hairs on my head.’ She was always a student, reading about history, geography, politics, you name it. She had to hide her books and her writing journals and was placed into an arranged marriage at an early age. She had everything against her, but she overcame it, eventually raised her family, and has left us a legacy of strength and determination. Whenever I was faced with a decision, she would encourage me and say, ‘You decide your life. You find your path.’ She was a trailblazer for sure.”