Managing a restaurant is a daunting task that requires a superhero-level of management expertise. Restaurant owners and managers juggle multiple responsibilities to ensure great food & service is delivered to customers. They also overlook restaurant marketing, inventory management, and employee performance in general.
Today, all of this has become significantly easier to handle with the help of technology. With software’s like EagleOwl that lead the market because of their powerful functionality and clean easy-to-use interface, restaurant managers can stay on top of things. This allows them to streamline operations for better results.
If you have been thinking of investing in a restaurant software, you may be unsure what to look for in one. What exactly does a restaurant software help you with? What features to look for? Is it worth the investment? Will my staff need rigorous training to use it? Before we get into all that, let’s look at what a restaurant software is, and what it does.
What is a restaurant software?
A restaurant software is a tech tool that allows restaurants to manage and track all kinds of restaurant operations. These operations include recording restaurant sales, accounting for the cash flow, managing inventory, and understanding food costs. Some restaurant software also come with the option to manage table reservations.
The most important part of a restaurant software is the POS or Post of Sale. It is a technology that keeps a record of every transaction taking place in the restaurant. So basically, when a restaurant receives an order, a POS is used to record it digitally and execute the order. Once this is done, it helps in recording the payment made by the customer and maintains track of it.
A lot of restaurants prefer to invest only in a POS system instead of a restaurant software. But when you look at how effortlessly a restaurant software simplifies a restaurant’s task flow, it becomes an obvious choice. By choosing to get a restaurant software, you are opting for a comprehensive solution that will make restaurant management a breeze.
Why do you need a restaurant software?
First and foremost, restaurant software helps in improving restaurant service. There are way too many aspects in a restaurant that need to be functioning well for it to be successful. A restaurant software ensures you have a strong hold on every aspect of the restaurant and its operations. Cloud-based restaurant software empower you to keep a tab on your restaurant’s financial health from anywhere around the globe.
Secondly, restaurant software allows streamlined processing of all different ways of payment modes. This makes it easy to reduce chaos and increase restaurant sales. With the advancement in technology, restaurant software seamlessly integrates with all your existing tools. This provides you with a centralized database that can be quickly accessed.
In addition to this, restaurant software helps in digitizing the recipes which will help you control food costs and improve the bottom line. Employee management is also a major responsibility for a restaurant manager. With a restaurant software, you can ensure efficient FOH and BOH management. All of these resolutions reduce the chances of conflicts in the kitchen.
How to find the best restaurant software?
The ideal software for your restaurant depends on the type of your restaurant and its needs. A lot of software comes with a host of features that may not be suitable for your kind of setup. For instance, a food truck will need features like easy billing and real-time mobile reporting, but it won’t need the table reservations feature.
With so many appealing options available in the market, how do you choose the best one? Start by listing down your needs so when you evaluate the features of a software, you can quickly decide whether it aligns with your needs. We recommend looking for the following features when investing your hard-earned money in a restaurant software:
- Automated billing:
The most essential aspect to look for in a restaurant software is the ability to automate the billing process. Manual billing is prone to human errors. In addition to this, it can be challenging to store large quantities of manual invoices being created on a daily basis. With the right software, you can get accurate bills each time and store them in a central database.
A restaurant software with an automatic billing feature will ensure the bill is ready for the guests as soon as they are done dining. This optimizes the table turnover time & enhances the customer service of the restaurant. Moreover, automatic bills remove the possibility of any mix up thus reducing conflict resolution time.
- Simplified user interface:
As the restaurant owner, you will not be the only person using the software. Your staff will be using it on a daily basis. SO you need to ensure that the software is not complicated. Your staff is more likely to adopt a restaurant software that has a clean and intuitive user interface.
Look for a software that shows all the important details on the main dashboard. For instance, let’s take a look at the EagleOwl dashboard. As visible in the image, once the user logs in they are shown the revenue for the selected period, the best sellers, and the actual sales along with the COGS on the homepage.
- Inventory management:
A huge benefit of getting a restaurant software is that it allows you to maintain an accurate account of your inventory. A restaurant needs an estimate of the expected consumption to stock up supplies. In addition to this, it also requires the actual consumption to identify any instances of theft.
All of this becomes possible when your restaurant software offers inventory management features. The variance reports generated by frequent stock-taking help in successfully reducing COGS for your restaurant. Also, it allows you to order supplies in the right quantity reducing any chances of wastage or last-minute impulse purchase.
- Recipe management:
If you’ve yet to do this, you have no idea what you’re missing. Digitizing your recipe is one of the best ways to reduce COGS and keep tabs on your inventory consumption. A restaurant must aim for offering a consistent dining experience. And this can be achieved by integrating your recipes into a restaurant software instead of memorizing them.
With the option to add recipes and sub-recipes, a restaurant software allows you to identify the cost of creating a menu item. This helps in understanding a menu item’s contribution margin. With this information, you can engineer your menu to push the high contribution and high-profit margin items to your customers.
- Table management:
For fine dining setups, it is important to have an option for table reservations. With online table reservations, customers can pre-book a time slot for dining. It also allows them to choose a table or seating spot of their choice. Since customers are relieved that there will be a spot reserved for them, it leads to a relaxed dining experience.
This also helps in improving customer service as you have a clear idea of available tables in the restaurant. In turn, this leads to a good table turnover. In addition to well-organized seating, managing orders also becomes a breeze with this feature. If you opt for table billing too, you can eliminate the need for manually transferring the bill to the customer.
- Tracking & reporting:
One of the major benefits of getting a software for your restaurant is access to a ton of data. Look for a software with customized reporting features to get insights about everything from your menu bestsellers to daily sales and regular customers. This helps you work on individual areas of your restaurant for improving profit margins.
For instance, having the convenience of getting a real-time report about your restaurant’s sales for each day allows you to monitor its financial health from anywhere across the globe. On the other hand, getting an item-wise consumption daily report enables you to keep track of inventory without having to personally monitor for pilferage.
- Employee management:
A major responsibility of every restaurant manager is scheduling employee shifts for efficient task management. A restaurant software with an employee management feature simplifies this aspect and allows you to quickly allocate responsibilities to the restaurant staff. You can also record a staff member’s absence digitally and redirect their work to others.
Having a precise record of your staff’s working days and tips will ensure they get paid correct salaries. This increases employee morale and reduces conflict. Moreover, you can also review an employee’s overall leaves and get a better understanding of their performance. That is why this feature is a boon for restaurant managers.
- Smooth integration:
Each restaurant has a set of tech tools they use for its smooth functioning. Most restaurants have CRM software that records customer data and accounting software for managing your restaurant’s finances. When looking for a new restaurant software, make sure to pick one that supports integration with all types of software.
This will ensure you don’t have to change any of your existing systems when incorporating the new software. For instance, if you use QuickBooks for accounting, invest in a software that integrates well with it. Since you are already using QuickBooks all your data gets automatically synced with the new restaurant software.
- Customer service & support:
Lastly, we recommend picking a software that comes with an excellent support team. Although this is not a software feature, your team is bound to need assistance at some point while using the software. In such scenarios, it becomes crucial to have a customer support team that is knowledgeable as well as prompt.
It’s no secret that software issues can hinder your work and lead to a negative customer experience. This is why you must always check a software provider’s reviews before buying restaurant software. You can also ask their existing customers for their honest and unbiased opinion to understand its strengths and drawbacks.
The restaurant tech space is constantly evolving which means there will always be better solutions available to help you manage your restaurant. What’s important is to understand your restaurant needs and look for solutions accordingly. This way you can make the most of the software without getting overwhelmed with unnecessary features. Some of the emerging technologies that restaurants should consider are planning their transformation, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), automation such as opting for a Contactless Visitor Management Software for offline store.