Owners and managers are now starting to see technology as a revenue generator, not an expense. Restaurant management software can lower your restaurant’s costs, track sales, reduce errors, and improve productivity. By using restaurant management software, you can streamline your business operations and save time and money.
While it’s tough to measure the ROI on a technology investment, the 2022 Restaurant Technology Study, revealed that many restaurant owners believe technology can improve business analytics, customer engagement, and employee productivity. They also believe it can — and should — reduce their operating costs.
While tons of packages are on the market, not all restaurant management software was created equal. Think about what kind of functionality will best help your business run smoothly before you jump in and buy a package without carefully considering its functionality.
What kind of software are restaurant owners investing in?
Post-COVID, restaurants of all sizes are focusing on delivery, drive-thru, and curbside pickup software. Owners want to see growth in the digital space particularly with mobile ordering, contactless payments, and auto-technology for in-car ordering.
Most restaurant owners are also crossing their fingers that software can improve customer insights, but so far, current technology hasn’t given effective insight into customer behavior. As a result, owners are looking for software that can improve their data analytics strategy.
Hospitality Technology’s 2022 survey showed that 35% of owners also name saving money as an expected outcome of investing in new software — even as they tighten their technology budgets.
How to select the best restaurant management software
To select the best software for your restaurant, you’ll need to consider your holistic data strategy. Do you need an end-to-end solution that can handle everything from food quality to sales and service? Can you afford to invest in that? Even if you can, are you over-relying on technology to drive your business strategy and operations?
All good questions. The key to investing in the best restaurant management software is to pick a software solution that measurably improves the customer experience. Let’s take a look at the best restaurant management software of 2022.
Tips for choosing a point of sale system for your restaurant
A point of sale (POS) system allows business owners to take orders, track cash flow, manage inventory, and simplify bookkeeping. The best POS will also prepare payroll and help keep tax information organized.
- The technology should be intuitive. If your team members — who have to learn and use the technology — don’t find the interface easy to use, the system won’t offer you much benefit.
- You should be able to process orders from the table. When you eliminate staff travel around the restaurant, you greatly improve efficiency and employee performance.
- The POS needs to integrate with your payment processor. Even if your POS will take payments at the table, the transaction won’t work unless the system integrates with the processor.
- Your system’s manufacturer or retailer has to provide effective data security and support. Don’t take risks with your data or your customers’ information.
Our Pick: Posist Restaurant POS is an intuitive option that lets you manage restaurant operations from a single point. It generates reports in real time and lets you see them on your mobile device.
Tips for choosing a restaurant reservation system
The restaurant reservation system allows you to manage reservations from anywhere in the world and automatically send out reminders via email or text message so that your tables are never empty for long periods of time.
- The system integrates with all your social media accounts. Users like to make reservations from their favorite online watering hole — such as Facebook, Insta, or Twitter.
- Your customers can easily navigate to different seating areas (outside, bar, etc.) This feature helps you manage capacity throughout the day while giving customers what they want.
- The software offers a visual table planner. Staff members can see seating patterns at a glance.
Our Pick: A cloud-based, cross-platform table management system, Eat App is super easy for guests and restaurant staff members alike. It does everything that more complicated and expensive systems do without costing an arm and a leg.
Tips for choosing a billing management system
Restaurant bookkeeping software helps keep everything organized by providing an intuitive interface that provides instant reports on all transactions, including inventory tracking and a complete financial overview with graphs and charts to visualize data.
- Your billing management system needs to digitize invoices. The best systems use AI to scan and store invoices.
- The system needs to automate account splits. Splitting the chart of accounts automatically allows you to minimize human error.
- Employees should minimize or eliminate manual touch points when paying invoices. ACH or other automated bill pay reduces the time and trouble involved in drafting and tracking physical checks.
Our Pick: QuickBooks is a well-known, intuitive system that works for nearly any sized business. Because the product is so ubiquitous, new personnel won’t require a lot of training to be able to use it. And QuickBooks can do just about anything quickly, easily, and accurately.
Tips for choosing an energy management system
In the U.S., restaurant owners spend 3-5% of what they earn to cover their energy bills. That’s around $2.90 per square foot on electricity and $0.85 per square foot for gas. Since restaurants operate on a 4-7% profit margin, reducing energy consumption by 20% could add 1% to overall profits.
- You manage what you track, so your energy management software must help you track what you spend and where.
- Your energy management technology also needs to rely on data reviews, energy audits, and a monthly reporting system.
- The system should identify energy outliers and work with the facilities team to determine what may be the root cause.
Our Pick: GWT2Energy uses various tools to manage your energy data, allowing us to provide market strategies that give you a competitive advantage. Our tools can understand your usage patterns and help determine the most effective strategies to reduce your costs.
Bonus Tip: Take advantage of tech support and training with new software
Any new technology can feel daunting, and restaurant management software is no different. But with the right tech support and training, you can quickly get up to speed and start reaping the benefits of a streamlined business.
Bonus Tip: Maximize the value of discounts and free trials
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to maximize the value of discounts and free trials when investing in restaurant software. This will help you get a feel for the various features and capabilities of the different software options on the market. Plus, it will help you determine which option is best for your specific needs.