The US food and beverage industry is worth a staggering $789 billion, a 19.7% increase from 2020. In this thriving market, everyone's itching for the $780 billion dollar cake. That means that if you want to work in the restaurant industry, you should be prepared for fierce competition.
That said, smart restaurant owners use restaurant software to get the edge over their rivals. Not only does it automate processes, but it also makes restaurant management a breeze. However, with so many options to choose from, how do you choose restaurant software to take your restaurant to the next level?
Of course, not all restaurant software is the same, and some are better than others. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to help you pick the right one for your business.
Start With a Demo
The first thing you want from a restaurant software solution is an actual demonstration. Demos are important because they give a clear picture of what the software can do for your business. Most software vendors would be happy to demonstrate how their product works in real-world scenarios.
Online demos are the most common demo type for most software vendors. They’re good, but not that great. If you can find a vendor that’s willing to do an on-site demonstration, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Demos give you an accurate feel of the software so you can tell whether the solution is right for your restaurant business. The vendor will guide you through the software and highlight its various features.
Check the Software’s Features
There are many options for software, but they won’t be the same. Some restaurant software solutions give more features than others. However, that doesn’t mean you should get the software option with the most features.
In terms of features, you need software with features that are useful to your restaurant. Although some solutions may be loaded with features, they may not be necessarily useful for your needs. For instance, some features may be useful for fast-food restaurants, while others are great for fine-dining establishments.
Assess each feature one by one and see how it fits in with your particular restaurant. If you think it rhymes well with your restaurant’s business model, go for it!
Compare the Pricing
Software vendors will have different pricing for their software. It’s vital that you get software that aligns with your financial situation. Don't spend too much on expensive restaurant software that will hurt your restaurant’s finances.
That said, it’s also not a good idea to go for the cheapest software solution you can find. There are many "affordable" options, but some of them may not even be worth the charge. Squeezing your budget, you’ll have to contend with frequent breakdowns, zero updates, and multiple security threats.
To be on the safe side, find software that matches your current budget. That means you should look for something that’s not too cheap and not too expensive.
Check Out Online Reviews and Testimonials
Online reviews and testimonials will give you a glimpse of what to expect from the company. These reviews are first-hand accounts of previous clients’ experiences with the software in question. You can learn tons about the software just by reading a handful of reviews.
You can find a lot of these reviews on the software vendor’s site. Read these reviews, but tread softly with them. It’s not uncommon for some software vendors to write their own reviews to deceive unsuspecting clients.
For honest and unbiased reviews, check out online forums, and authoritative tech sites that discuss the software. These reviews allow you to learn volumes about the software and whether it’s a good fit for you.
Find Out About the Vendor’s History
Before you sign any letter of intent with a restaurant software company, find out as much as you can about it. Find out how long the vendor has been in business and what kind of history it possesses.
You want to work with a restaurant software solution that's making your life simpler and not more complicated. That means the vendor should be reliable and trustworthy over time. You can find out whether they fit this description by researching their background.
Key Features to Look for in Restaurant Software
With that out of the way, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a few crucial features to look for when picking restaurant software. Some of these features include:
Quick Order Customization
Quick order customization is a feature that enables staff to hit the ground running on customized orders. Customers can personalize their combo deals and the staff will get them their order in record time.
Connect payments provides a quick and effective way to manage your payments. It also ensures you don’t have any inconsistencies between the front office and the back office. It will bridge the gaps between your payments, vouchers, and other price incentives.
Restaurant Operations Tool
Restaurant Operations is much easier to execute if you have the right tools. You need instantaneous insights into what is happening in your restaurant or across all store locations. Prep lists, opening/closing checklists, food temperature logs and everything store related needs to be done according to your brand standards so you can give consistently great customer service and employees are equipped to do their jobs well.
Self-serve options are all the rage, and you should consider embracing them to satisfy customer demands. If this is in your plan, you’ll need software that can handle self-serve capability. That way, you can seamlessly integrate this option without any hitches along the way.
Choose Restaurant Software That Works for You
The above information should make choosing restaurant software a breeze. The most important thing is to choose restaurant software that matches your restaurant’s needs. It is very common to have more than one software solution to run your restaurant efficiently.
If you want to see how our software can change your restaurant for the better, ask for a demo today.