The United States has over 1 million restaurants. These restaurants employ more than 15 million people.
That's a lot of staff, operations, inventory, and customers to manage. Restaurants of all sizes can benefit from restaurant software and tools to help them streamline their operations and efforts.
Keep reading to understand what exactly a restaurant management tool is and see a list of essential software for restaurants.
What is a Restaurant Management Tool?
A restaurant management tool allows managers and owners to run end-to-end restaurant operations. Most restaurants have more than one tool in place to create a system that streamlines operations. Employees of all levels, from a hostess to the manager, use these tools.
Restaurant management tools are designed specifically for the industry. Most software companies offer a variety of solutions. Restaurant management tools offer a variety of options to help you better manage your operations. These tools can include:
- Inventory management
- Point-of-sale/Order management
- Employee management
- Front/Back of house checklists
- Digital food safety
An effective restaurant management tool manages front and back-end operations.
How Restaurant Management Tools Reduce Stress
By managing your restaurant operations digitally, you can relieve a lot of stress! Not only will you have visibility of all your locations in one spot, but you'll also increase accountability among your team. By setting alerts, you can ensure all action items are completed on time.
With digital recordkeeping, you will have better compliance and audit readiness. Both of these topics are huge stressors for owners and managers. Knowing you are prepared at all times reduces stress.
Why Do You Need a Restaurant Management Tool?
By using a restaurant management tool that meets your business needs, you improve your performance and operations. You'll have streamlined and automated processes, leading to reduced errors and manual efforts.
With digital reservations and waitlists, you can reduce wait time. A digital recordkeeping system organizes your inventory, schedules, and other vital tasks. You can quickly update menus, increase customer loyalty, and improve service stations through efficiency.
You can also enhance communication between front-of-house and back-of-house operations, leading to fewer errors and faster service.
Benefits of a Solution with Hardware Included
Many restaurant software systems offer solutions with hardware. Hardware can include a physical point-of-sale device, tablets for ordering, kitchen display screens, and server stations.
Other ways hardware can be used in restaurants:
- Allow customers to sign up for a loyalty program
- Enable usage of existing loyalty program rewards
- Accept digital orders
- Payment processing
- Mobile payments
- Self-ordering kiosks
No matter what your needs are, there is a solution available to help you effectively manage your restaurant.
Streamlined Operations = Improved Productivity
When you put a restaurant management tool in place, you improve operations. This leads to increased efficiency and productivity.
Improvement in your operations leads to happier, higher-performing staff. A restaurant management tool can drastically change the way you do business.
Want more information on streamlined restaurant operations? Check out this restaurant management and staff retention guide for great tips on operations management. You'll find information about workflows, systems, training, and engagement.
Essential Restaurant Software Solutions
While most solutions offer several management tools, it would be impossible to get everything in one solution. Popular restaurant management software includes:
- Oracle Hospitality
Below, you'll find the different types of restaurant software available and what each does.
Tools that offer online ordering are quickly becoming a must for restaurants. More and more customers are using mobile and web ordering. Not having this option can lead to lost customers.
An online ordering tool can allow customers to browse your menu, place an order, and pay for orders ahead of time. Popular options include MenuDrive, Toast, and ChowNow.
Customer relationship management software allows you to engage and build connections with your guests. This can lead to increased sales and revenue, greater experiences, and improved service delivery.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution improves customer experience and service delivery. A good CRM provides analytics about each customer, leaving restaurant staff an easier way to provide service. The metrics measured with a CRM can help increase retention and drive sales.
The analytics generated from a CRM can help you customize your marketing and promotions to customers based on their likes. Enhanced marketing efforts generate more revenue. With customized data about your guests, you can offer more customized service and create a memorable experience.
Accounting and Payroll
There are many accounting and payroll software available. While a lot of restaurant software solutions include it, you can also get external software to manage these functions. Gusto, QuickBooks, and ZipBooks all rate highly.
This type of software manages your accounting books, including:
Payroll-specific software manages your employer and employee contributions for payroll. It also submits your payroll to all employees on your pay schedule.
There are many point-of-sale options for restaurants. You can choose something like Swipe or Square to handle payments only. Or choose a more comprehensive solution such as Toast, Clover, or Epos.
The comprehensive solutions often include reservations, online ordering, order management, and reporting.
A good point-of-sale system should have these features:
- Calculate cash for orders
- Monitor cash in and out
- Process transactions (credit and cash)
- Record payment types
- Generate sales reports
- Store customer information
- Determine payroll data
Determining which point-of-sale system is best for your company is an important decision. You should assess your restaurant needs and ensure the system provides those features.
Other factors to consider: price, ease of use, and data tracking capabilities.
Many point-of-sale systems are cloud-based solutions. This means you can use it anywhere you have internet access.
Reservation and Waitlist System
This is an essential tool for restaurants. If the solution you choose doesn't include this benefit, you need to find a tool to set it up. Popular options include OpenTable and Yelp Guest Manager.
Having a tool like this lets customers know how busy you are and what the expected wait times are. This can greatly decrease unsatisfied or impatient customers. It also gives a more accurate wait time.
These tools easily integrate into your point-of-sale systems.
Rewards and Promotions
Offering a loyalty or rewards program is becoming more common in today's digital world. By offering this to customers, you can build their loyalty by offering rewards after so many visits. You can also offer special promotions only available to members of these programs.
This can boost your reputation and brand image. A great loyalty and rewards program can make your customers keep coming back.
You should design the type of loyalty program you want to offer before searching for software.
Do you want to offer punches? Special promotions? Customized coupons? Or perhaps customized rewards?
Depending on your needs, there is a solution available!
Many payroll solutions also offer this component. But if they don't, a human resources solution is important for employee management. You can keep your employee records, schedules, compensation, and benefits in one centralized location. Effective human resources software manages:
- Professional Development
- Legal compliance
In a fast-paced environment like a restaurant, it's important to have the proper human resource solutions in place. You can include best practices and automated processes to streamline this function further.
A well-trained staff is a productive staff. Many restaurant management solutions offer a training feature for staff. If it doesn't, there are tools available.
You can use these tools to train staff in serving, how to use systems, and customer service practices. Proper training can impact employees by:
- Empowering them
- Making them feel valued
- Increasing productivity
- Advance skill sets
- Grow job satisfaction
- Boost morale
- Allow for career advancement
In short, train your staff appropriately and you'll reap many benefits.
An inventory management system can give restaurant managers and owners a clear snapshot of their inventory at any given time. An online inventory system reduces human error, leading to more accuracy.
Inventory systems save employees time and increase organization. With an automated inventory process, you streamline previously manual tasks. These benefits lead to cost savings.
Many restaurant management solutions offer this benefit.
How to Choose a Restaurant Management Tool
Before you choose a restaurant management tool, it's important to truly understand what your restaurant needs. And once you understand, research your options. Keep the following in mind:
- Customization options
- Ease of use
- Offline ability
Once you have determined your restaurant operational needs and have a budget in place, it's time to select the perfect solution.
Digital Food Safety Software
There are some solutions that offer food safety and restaurant management in one solution. FreshCheq is a digital food safety solution. With this software, you can effectively manage multiple locations with one solution.
- Increased accountability
- Reduced turnover
- Better reporting
- More visibility
- Performance management
- Audit readiness
- Bluetooth thermometer
- Food temperature logs
- Unlimited checklists
- Cooling logs
- Waste logs
- Inventory management
- Inspections and audit checklists
- Team accountability
- Preparation lists
It offers a customized approach with unlimited logs and checklists. Additional benefits include:
You can update your information and checklists to see real-time reporting. It also has the option for real-time alerts. These alerts can let you know when documents weren't finished so you can alert your staff of what's needed.
Each morning, you will be able to see a performance report from the day before.
By introducing gamification into your operations, you can increase productivity and morale. Employees are more motivated when they are actively engaged in the work they are doing. It can make mundane tasks more fun.
You can also reward your top-performing employees with rewards.
The comprehensive reporting feature from FreshCheq will ready you for audits at any time. Digital logs are much more streamlined and increase the speed of audits. With clear and transparent reporting, compliance has never been easier.
When you choose FreshCheq, you will get a hands-on experience. We'll onboard and train your employees in how to use our software.
We also set up each location in our system and create your food safety logs and checklists. FreshCheq software is compatible with iOS and Android.
This solution allows you to build restaurant processes. With the proper processes in place, you can easily create a culture focused on food safety. This will increase compliance and employee satisfaction.
A better culture leads to higher employee retention. Better processes, higher retention, productivity, and employee satisfaction all decrease costs and improve performance.
Guest and Employee Health Assessments
In today's pandemic world, monitoring the health of those around you has never been more important. FreshCheq offers a digital assessment for employees and guests to complete prior to entering the store. This will reduce your exposure to illnesses and increase your restaurant's overall safety.
Auditing and Follow-Up
With daily reporting and digital documentation, you'll be audit-ready at any time. Random health inspections don't have to be stressful. With digital recordkeeping, you meet your diligence requirement and are prepared for surprise visits.
You will also have a list of any follow-up items and be able to implement corrective actions. By having digital processes and documents, you can easily identify areas where you can improve operations.
Choosing a restaurant management tool is an important decision for owners and managers. By assessing all features and your restaurant needs, you'll be able to make the appropriate choice for your business.
If you're ready to get started with FreshCheq or want to schedule a demo, contact us today!