Investing in the right restaurant management software can greatly improve the efficiency and overall effectiveness of your business. Of course, to actually find the best solutions for your restaurant, you need to understand the different types of software on the market and how they work. This article will explore a variety of restaurant management solutions, their benefits, the main features, and more, allowing you to make more informed decisions.
- What is Restaurant Management?
- What is Restaurant Management Software?
- The Benefits of Restaurant Management Software
- 10 Main Types of Restaurant Management Software?
- 1. Point-of-Sale Systems
- 2. Order Management Software
- 3. Restaurant Reservation & Table Management Software
- 4. Food Costing Software
- 5. Employee Management Software
- 6. Financial & Accounting Software
- 7. CRM Software
- 8. Marketing & Loyalty Management Software
- 9. Delivery Management Software
- 10. Chatbots for Restaurants
- Restaurant Management Software and Key Restaurant Technology Trends
- Hospitality Management and Restaurant Management Software
Prior to exploring restaurant management software, it is important to understand restaurant management as a discipline. Essentially, restaurant management is the practice of managing a business in the restaurant industry, and this means overseeing all of the essential day-to-day operations and helping the business to achieve its objectives, while looking out for the restaurant’s strategic and financial interests, both in the short term and in the longer term.
Restaurant managers must juggle many responsibilities, including the management of employees, inventory, restaurant finances, the reputation of the business, marketing activities, customer service, and more.
With an understanding of what restaurant management is, it becomes significantly easier to understand what restaurant management software is all about. Software of this kind is designed to assist restaurant managers with the various tasks they need to carry out, often by making these tasks easier, more efficient, or more accurate.
Restaurant management software may focus on a specific part of the role, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, which focuses on the customer service component, or employee management software, which focuses on workforce management. Alternatively, some restaurant management software combines several of these key focus areas into a more comprehensive solution, allowing managers to carry out many different tasks from a single place.
The Benefits of Restaurant Management Software
While different restaurant management software packages are designed to solve different problems, there are some broad benefits that can be attributed to software of this kind, such as those outlined below:
One of the biggest potential benefits associated with the use of restaurant management software is its ability to enhance efficiency. The automation component of many software solutions means repetitive or predictable tasks can be carried out without the need for you to personally intervene, while calculations are instantaneous.
At the same time, freeing up time can help companies to make better use of their workforce, and software can also be used to optimise the use of ingredients, equipment and other business resources. This is significant because if companies in the restaurant industry can reduce or eliminate waste, they stand to make more money.
No matter how well trained human employees are, and no matter how well they understand their job, the reality is that human error exists. An employee could make an incorrect calculation, input the wrong number into a system, overlook an important part of an equation, or simply make a typing error.
Through the use of restaurant management software, human error can be greatly reduced or eradicated. Calculations are carried out by the software, giving accurate answers every time, data can be shared between applications, resulting in data consistency, and other restaurant processes can be fully automated, so they are never accidentally overlooked.
The various accuracy and efficiency benefits associated with restaurant management software can help managers to improve revenue and profit too. Automation can reduce workforce demands, meaning staff do not need to work overtime, and restaurants may even be able to operate with a smaller workforce.
The accuracy of data means that managers and other senior figures are able to make more evidence-based decisions and do so at the ideal moment, in order to optimise financial results. For instance, new supplies can be ordered at just the right time, while shifts in demand can be identified, allowing the restaurant to respond swiftly.
10 Main Types of Restaurant Management Software?
Restaurant management software plays a crucial role within restaurants and similar businesses within the hospitality industry. While comprehensive, all-in-one solutions do exist, there are different types of restaurant management software, focused on different aspects of restaurant management. The main examples are explored below:
Point-of-sale systems, or POS systems, are used to process payments from customers. However, their uses extend further, as restaurant POS systems can help managers to track sales, manage inventory, and identify key trends, such as which food items are most popular. These systems can also be synchronised with a business’s financial data.
Read the “POS Systems: Overview and Importance in the Hospitality Industry” article for a more comprehensive exploration of point-of-sale systems, their uses, and their overall value for restaurants and similar businesses.
Order management software allows restaurants to stay on top of all of the orders that are placed, regardless of whether they come from customers in the restaurant or via online channels. Additionally, the software allows information to be accumulated from all online channels, including the restaurant website and third-party platforms.
In most cases, order management software and similar examples of restaurant management software will provide a dashboard, where key information about orders can be seen. This information may include the table the order came from, the home address for a takeaway order, the current status of the order, and the price of the order.
One of the most important restaurant management software solutions to invest in is a good restaurant reservation and table management package. This software can be used to power a booking engine that can allow for reservations to be made via the restaurant website, or via a dedicated mobile app.
Crucially, the software will track reservations in real-time, so that customers are only able to book when there are spaces available. At the same time, the software can be used by restaurant managers and others to see how many reservations have been made, and in popular restaurants, it can also be used to manage waiting lists.
The primary purpose of food costing software is, as the name indicates, to assist restaurants with the management of food costs. This includes tracking the prices from suppliers and alerting you to any changes. Costs can be estimated in advance so that restaurants have a good idea of how much they can expect to spend.
However, the true value of this restaurant management software becomes apparent when restaurants also use it to track waste and the associated costs. Moreover, new, proposed and existing recipes can be fully costed, and this information can then be used to inform a restaurant’s pricing strategy and ensure all meals are profitable.
5. Employee Management Software
Managing the workforce is one of the most important responsibilities for any manager, so it stands to reason that employee management software ranks among the most valuable restaurant management software solutions.
This software can allow managers to create work schedules while providing employees with a convenient way to check their shifts and request changes. Holidays and sick days can usually be tracked, payroll features may be included too, and restaurant managers can use the software to track availability and ensure the restaurant is well staffed at all times.
Managing company finances is another critical component of restaurant management and this makes financial and accounting software a useful piece of restaurant technology. With software of this kind, it becomes significantly easier to manage and track financial information, including revenue, expenditure, and profits.
Aside from allowing managers to track financial information in this way, these software solutions also enable the continuous tracking of overall financial performance. Trends can be identified quickly, action can be taken at the ideal time, and important documents can also be stored, allowing for easy access in the future.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to assist businesses with the management of their relationships with customers, potential customers and business partners. In order to do this, it is important that communications between customers and your business can be stored and easily accessed.
When this is possible, restaurant managers and customer service staff can read previous messages from customers before responding to them, and this can be especially important when multiple staff members are required to resolve a problem. Furthermore, CRM software can store customer communication preferences and contact details. Solutions focused on the restaurant industry will also allow past customer food orders to be saved.
Another category of restaurant management software that can be extremely beneficial for restaurants is marketing and loyalty management software. Marketing is one of the main ways businesses attract new customers, increase brand awareness, and remain at the forefront of the minds of existing customers.
Through marketing software, restaurants can manage their various search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, email marketing, content marketing and social media marketing campaigns from a single place. The loyalty management component allows restaurants to reward frequent customers and build lasting relationships.
For restaurants that offer a delivery service, delivery management software may be one of the most useful restaurant management software solutions of all. Delivery management software allows restaurants to collect all information related to deliveries in a single location, even if orders are placed via third-party platforms.
This means restaurant managers and employees will not need to switch between multiple applications in order to manage all of their delivery requests. Instead, a dashboard can be used to oversee all delivery orders, check on their current status, view what was ordered, and resolve any issues that may arise.
A final example of restaurant management software is the use of chatbots to handle various restaurant functions. These automated, AI-powered chatbots can be used to take reservations or online orders for food, answer any questions that customers may have, and to handle other aspects of online customer service on a 24/7 basis.
Read the “Restaurant Chatbots: What They Are, Their Use and Benefits” article for a more detailed examination of the use of chatbot technology within the restaurant and hospitality industry.
While it is essential for restaurants to keep up with the latest developments when it comes to restaurant management software, it is also vital to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends in general, from the use of virtual reality and QR codes to contactless payments and restaurant chatbots.
Check out our “Latest Restaurant Technology Trends You Need to Know About” article if you are interested in exploring restaurant technology trends further, or interested in understanding the benefits of adopting this technology.
Hospitality Management and Restaurant Management Software
Restaurant management and the use of restaurant management software should also be understood within the wider context of the hospitality industry, as restaurant management careers can easily cross over to hotels, bars, cafes and similar settings. This means taking the time to learn about hospitality management too.
Read “Hospitality Management: The Essentials About Hospitality” for an overview of what hospitality management is, the types of jobs that fall under the hospitality management umbrella, the main responsibilities, the necessary skills and job requirements, and the best channels to turn to in order to actually find work in this area.
Restaurant management software is the name given to the wide range of software solutions that are designed to assist with core managerial tasks. This includes packages focused on specific areas, such as CRM software and employee management software, along with more comprehensive, all-in-one solutions.