It's no secret that owning or running a restaurant is expensive. There are many aspects that managers and owner-operators have to keep in mind, every single day. It can be overwhelming, even for veterans of the foodservice industry. It doesn't help that the world seems to be moving in fast forward, and everyone expects everything to be done in an instant. Add to that, the stress of keeping up with food safety laws and employee labor laws, and it's no wonder that managers and owners are feeling the pressure.
Old methods of running a restaurant are being phased out in favor of faster and more accurate software options, and that alone is a cause of stress and worry for a lot of managers. However, these changes in the way restaurants are run are a very good thing. We know it can be daunting to see so many things changing so quickly, and seemingly all at once, but it's a lot easier to embrace technology for business than it was even a decade ago.
Take food cost software, for example. The old way of handling food cost calculations meant hours at your desk, hunched over paper sheets, tapping away at a calculator or doing math figures in your head. Despite everyone's best efforts, those old methods always yielded mistakes that ended up costing companies thousands a year. With new software, however, those mistakes are a thing of the past. Not only are mistakes reduced or completely eradicated, but also all the figures are done in the blink of an eye. Sound interesting? Even if you're still feeling timid about making the change to software instead of paper cost sheets, read on. We'll do our best to show you how food cost software can improve your business and make your life a whole lot easier.
Believe it or not, food costing apps are designed to be incredibly easy to set up and very simple to use. Most food cost software will come with a setup wizard of some kind, which is a small program that does all the setup for you. All you have to do is tap "yes" or "continue" to let it finish. Once it's set up, like most modern mobile apps, the user interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Aspects of the software are usually labeled clearly, and help screens are available all over the apps. Each piece of software will be different, but overall, they follow the same basic principles - Ease of use, no mistakes, simple to understand. It was a lot harder to learn to do food cost sheets by hand!
We touched on this point already, but we want to make it very clear that food cost software is incredibly fast. Not just in regards to your math equations and figuring out how much each recipe costs you to produce, but also creating future projections and trying out new recipes "on paper" before spending the money in real life and watching them fail. You can run months' worth of ideas through food cost software and get instant results. That's a lot of time, money, and stress saved by one simple app. You're shaving off hours, days, weeks—all while saving money and having a peek into the future of your financial success.
Though it is called "food cost software" you can use it for much more than just figuring out how much the chicken stew costs to serve. With a little nudge and a couple tabs, you can use food cost software to help keep track of your inventory. Some inventory apps come with food cost software already built-in, in which case, you've got it easy. Even if it's not all built in, most inventory and food cost apps work well together, and without much work on your part. You can always call tech support, too. They're always happy to help customers get the most out of their apps.
Even though the name, food cost software, implies the apps are used solely for calculating food costs, there's a lot more the software can do for your business. For example, it can help you track overall spending and sales trends over time. Since most purchase order apps use cloud technology, that means all of your reports are stored in a safe, secure location that you can access from anywhere. That doesn't mean anyone can see your data, so don't worry about that. It just means that you (and any employees you link up) can see your data anytime, anywhere.
Imagine the money you'll save in transportation alone if you can look at your inventory and cost sheets from the comfort of your home. If you happen to be away on business, but your app gives you an alert to a possible problem, you don't need to fly back home in a rush and be stressed all the way. Just open your app on your phone or mobile device, see where the issue is, and send instructions to your staff to fix it. That's the massive benefit of real-time alerts and instant results. Have you ever done that with paper cost sheets and logbooks?
Every point above breaks down into a very basic idea. Food cost software is designed to save you money at every step. Whether you're tracking down losses due to spoilage or theft, or you're looking at the slowly rising cost of keeping certain meals on your menu, your food costing apps are here to help you see results in real-time so you can make faster decisions.
Acting fast means more money saved, avoided fines, and free time to handle other aspects of running your restaurant that would have been put on the back burner otherwise. Truly, the only downside to switching to digital and mobile solutions is that you may start to enjoy using them and find yourself seeking more apps to try.
There are a lot more apps available, all designed to make your job easier and more rewarding. We've written lots of other articles on the subject. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article on “How to Choose the Best Inventory Control Software for Small Businesses,” which is also on the Hubworks Blog!