best inventory management software | 8 mins read

5 Best Inventory Management Software Solutions for Restaurants

5 best inventory management software solutions for restaurants 1645459374 4097
Kanika Jain

By Kanika Jain

What is Restaurant Inventory Management?

Restaurant Inventory Management is a process to keep your food that can be processed and raw in order by keeping track of each item's requirement and fulfillment. The aim of goodinventory management is to maintain the right quantity of inventory a restaurant needs. This amount is neither in excess, nor in deficit of the restaurant's daily's requirements. A restaurant can maintain its food cost with good purchase planning.

There are two ways of counting inventory-

  • Par inventory sheets or spreadsheets- The employee spends 3-4 hours counting inventory and jots it down in a spreadsheet. This is not the best way to count for it may furnish incorrect information, as manual counting can be erroneous and confusing.
  • Automated inventory management- This method of inventory tracking is easier, as the details of each inventory product are monitored by the software, helping your staff locate items easily on the shelves. Inventory management software automatically alerts a restaurant when stocks deplete and need to be repurchased. The software throws up the best prices offered by different vendors for a particular item, giving a business more choice in product and pricing.
If you are planning on expanding a small medium or even a large business into a multi-restaurant chain, it's time you invest in an automated inventory system. It can provide you with comprehensive reports on the inventory supply chain, and provide accounting reports from across sales channels.

How Does Inventory Management Software Work?

There are several inventory management software solutions that cater to different businesses. The common goal of inventory software is to bring efficiency to your business by managing tasks in real time. It also scrutinizes every aspect of your business and suggests ways to improve it.
If you find your inventory becoming costlier by the day, and your profit margins growing leaner, inventory software is the need of the hour for your business. But before you look for asoftware inventory management solution, you must define your goals. It is important to choose aninventory software that has established expertise in your particular field of business.

Inventory software can integrate seamlessly with your restaurant management system or with other software like accounting, POS, employee scheduling, and so on. Once fully integrated, you need to enter vital information related to your inventory into the system. This includes complete details of all your vendors and their supplies; perishable goods; packaged goods; and so on.

Make sure you appoint dedicated staff to handle the inventory so that they understand how it works and run the system smoothly. They can also, in turn, train others later on. Some software companies also provide a dedicated support staff to help resolve problems with the system, whenever they occur.

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How Can Good Inventory Software Benefit a Business?

Inventory software is an intuitive system that predicts your inventory requirements and makes purchasing decisions based on them. Inflow inventory and outflow inventory are tracked by managers on easy to use software that can seamlessly work on multiple devices. The restaurant or inventory manager can keep track of inventory traffic from an app on their mobile device too.
Inventory management tools come with multiple benefits that can help small businesses grow quickly-

  • Know your business requirements- The need to keep track of goods at all times can be time-consuming and tedious. But with inventory control software you'll immediately know what's in stock and what needs to be ordered in real time. Through order management you can go through past sales reports and, depending on customer demand, make the necessary purchases. This way you will have just the right inventory at all times, saving time, money and avoiding wastage.
  • Track your orders-Track your purchase orders, fulfil and deliver them in real time to enhance your customer experience. Inventory software makes multi channel sales possible. This can increase your number of daily orders, which translates into more business coming in.
  • Make data-driven decisions-You no longer have to rely on guesswork when tracking inventory levels or making purchase orders. Through inventory software you can gather all the data related to vendors, purchase orders, supplies, and sales to accurately compute recipe and menu costs.

Inventory Management Software- Top 5 Features

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In addition to the cut-throat competition in the restaurant business, there are everyday challenges a restaurant has to deal with. These relate to employee scheduling, inventory tracking, cost checks, and customers satisfaction. Inventory management software is meant to help restaurant operations run smoothly. It allows an operator to concentrate on improving profit margins and keep the operation in order.

The top 5 key features of inventory management software are-

1. Utilize inventory optimally-Track your inventory with a barcode scanning system that captures all the data related to food items. Know the expiry date, recipe cost, food waste, and spot theft.

2. Manage food pricing- Inventory software alerts you to changes in the market price of a particular product. The advanced inventory system automatically updates the new price in the pricing sheet to enable better negotiation with vendors and easy processing of orders.

3. Evaluate the value of your inventory in real time- Simply knowing what stocks you have, and in what quantity, is not enough. You must know the value of those stocks for better financial planning. Such inventory features allow you to compute your variable costs from food wastage, cost of goods sold (COGS),and so on. Some software can also manage multiple currencies, which helps tremendously if the restaurant has a presence in multiple countries.

4. Obtain the best pricing from vendors- Real time tracking of inventory and access to historical data allows the software's analytics to track changes in food costs over a period of time. This helps you negotiate for the best price with your vendor for your purchase order and score the best possible rates.

5. Have multiple SKUs- For better forecasting and growth you need an inventory optimization system that can handle any number of products and multiple stock-keeping unit (SKUs) locations. The same can be applied to customer support and supplier transactions as well.

5 Best Inventory Management Software for Restaurants

1. Zip Inventory- This inventory management solution resolves all your inventory problems by prompting best inventory practices like FIFO and JIT. Its superior analytics created insightful demand forecast and real time reports of inventory levels. Zip Inventory is a cloud based solution specially built for the foodservice industry. The software solution comes at a nominal fee of $125 per location for its standard package, and $175 per location for a professional package. It's ideal for small medium and even enterprise businesses. The platform offers a 30-day free inventory software trial. It can be bought off Hub Works, an App Store catering to restaurant software and tech.

2. Oracle NetSuite- NetSuite ERP is perfect for all sizes of business. Manage your business from this cloud based inventory software that lets you monitor multiple locations from your laptop or mobile device. It can automate stock replenishment, serial counting, fulfil orders, and do much more. Oracle NetSuite is suitable for small businesses as well as large enterprises and its subscription starting price is $99 per month per user. It goes up to $999 per month for the platform fee.

3. Zoho Inventory- It can easily integrate with your existing accounting software or point sale process to generate reports related to inventory orders, shipments, warehouses, packaging, and so on. The product is free for up to 50 orders, which makes it a good option for start-ups. They also have standard, professional, and premium packages catering to different sizes of business.

4. Quickbooks Online- Mostly used by eCommerce businesses, Quickbooks Online is a great inventory management software that manages end-to-end processes, from managing multi channel inventory, orders, supply chain fulfillment, and shipping. The small business package starts at $7.50 per month and goes up to $54 per month.

5. TouchBistro- it is a SAAS-based restaurant management software that keeps track of stocks and waste management and helps curb inventory theft. Its pricing starts at $69 per month. You can also take a 30 day free demo trial and see if it fits your business needs.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Points to Consider When Buying Inventory Software

When buying inventory software consider the following points-

  • The cost of the software system, plus annual subscription and support costs.
  • Go through software reviews available on the internet.
  • If you require complex customization for specific business needs, check with your vendor is those specifications are available. If not, consider another option.
  • Implementing software and using it are two different practices. A business must train its staff to use the software optimally. This will help the business get the most out of the software and enable it to control inventory precisely.
  • The inventory software must have its own mobile app so that employees on the field or on the move can still use it for easy communication and proper tracking of inventory.

Restaurant Inventory FAQs

1. What is the purpose of inventory management?
Since restaurant inventory consists of perishable goods whose average expiry limit is often less than 2 months, an inventory management system can help locate and utilize goods in the most efficient manner. It assures food procurement from the right vendors in the right quantity.

2. How inventory control affects working capital?
Inventory goods cost money and that cost is a liability unless it's utilized optimally and translates into profitable sales. Inventory control identifies the need for purchase and procurement, depending on the demand for a particular item.

3. How to know which category inventory falls in? Good or poor?
When inventory costs rise and sales don't match up, it's time you reviewed yourinventory management system. The stock should never be too much or too little and should keep changing with changing seasons. Take the FIF0 approach to manage your inventory.

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