5 Best Restaurant Inventory Apps for the Modern Workplace
What is Restaurant Inventory Software?
It is important for restaurant owners and managers to keep a close eye on ingredients and supplies that enter the restaurant; what is used and what goes to waste. The food beverage stock used in the daily operations of a restaurant is referred to as its inventory. Inventory management can be defined as the process of measuring the stock used by the restaurant over a period of time. It involves comparing usage with sales, and reducing the gap between between inventory costs and revenue, with an eye to minimizing wastage.
Restaurant inventory software or an inventory app is an automated solution that helps restaurant keep track of, and manage stock levels, purchase orders and foods costs, along with providing detailed analytics and reports of demand and required supply.
Inventory management software enables restaurant managers to keep a check on costs and reduce wastage. It helps keep track of all the stock a restaurant receives in real time, the quantity used in the kitchen, and leftover stock at the end of the inventory period.
Traditional Food Inventory Systems and Their Drawbacks
The traditional method of inventory management is the manual method. Done this way, a restaurant manager designates staff for inventory tracking. The stock-taker had to manually count every item in the inventory, ticking off each item, its expiry date, quantity, and other relevant details on a clipboard. This naturally takes time, and keeps the employee from more productive restaurant work. What's more, manual inventory counting inadvertently leads to error in inventory counts. Quantities can be incorrectly marked, and items left out of the food inventory altogether.
What's more, with different employees handling different aspects of the supply chain and inventory process, like vendor management, transportation, stocktake and so on, it often results in muddled communication and inaccurate records. This makes it challenging to effectively manage inventory.
Poor communication, faulty inventory tracking and poor inventory management may lead to bad decision-making at every level of the supply chain. The exercise also lacks focus because different functions are being managed separately.
Restaurant Inventory Management Tips: Use an inventory management software as it will simplify stocktake and provide business intelligence reports and forecasts.
Follow a schedule to track how much of your ingredients and supplies are used over a specific period.
Follow the First In, First Out (FIFO) Method to minimize food waste.
Create a food waste sheet that allows you to track causes of food wastage.
Use historic data to provide insights for future orders.
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What Can Restaurant Inventory Software do?
The ultimate aim of any business is profitability. Good inventory management enables a business to meet this goal by effectively managing the flow of stock.
Benefits of restaurant inventory management software-
1. Inventory tracking in real time
A cloud based inventory software helps keep track of inventory in real time, which is essential to manage restaurants effectively. Inventory tracking also helps reduce food waste. The software will issue alerts when a particular item is low on stocks.
2. Managing food costs
A restaurant's food costs can be calculated using the following formula-
Beginning Inventory + Purchases - Ending Inventory / Food Sales = Food Cost.
A good inventory management software enables a manager to purchase food products that are within the restaurant's budget, while also controling factors like food preparation, portion size and food waste.
3. Adjust recipes for food costing
Once you have food costing under control, you will have the freedom to plan your menu and expenses. It will give you an overview of how each order will impact profitability. Your menu items and recipes have an impact on food costs and can help maximize profits.
4. Purchase invoices
A restaurant has to create purchase invoices when it has to place orders for low-running stocks. This is a tedious and time-consuming job. A good inventory management system has inbuilt tools to generate purchase orders which can be directly sent to vendors to initiate purchases.
5. Stock prediction
An inventory management app provides valuable analytics by factoring in historical sales data, purchase orders and inventory management. Inventory software will keep track of actual stock to check that the staff is making optimum use of the inventory.
Tips to Reduce Food Waste: Involve staff to identify and manage food inventory
Use a good restaurant inventory management software to reduce human error
Rotate stocks to save food
Place orders only when required to avoid overstocking
Features of a Great Inventory Management Software
When selecting restaurant inventory software, make sure it can help you access new streams of business and increase customer footfalls at your restaurant.
Key features to look for in inventory management software-
1. Inventory Management
A good inventory management software will help a restaurant keep check on inventory counts, food costs and food waste. The management system can keep track of stocks and issues alerts when they're low.
2. Purchase management & supplier management
A good software to manage restaurant inventory can generate and autofill purchase orders. It will store supplier details, provide real-time market prices, compare your vendor prices with other local suppliers to help you get a better deal and track your transaction history with each supplier.
3. Data intelligence and analytics
An inventory management app has an inbuilt reporting tool to give you a clear picture of your business. The management software provides reports based on POS data to supply vital business insights that can help in decision making.
4. Order and table management
It is important to ensure that customer reservations are done right. The second important aspect is Order Management. Automating your order management process will speed up service to the customer. Hence the restaurant management software you select should have built-in table management and order management features.
5. Customer management
A good software to manage restaurants should help a manager or owner understand and cater to customer preferences. Customer feedback can help a restaurant understand their concerns. Using the feedback can help a restaurant spot the frequency of customer visits, their food preferences, and the amount they spend. This can help in running targeted marketing campaigns to make sure they return to your restaurant again and again.
Technologies for Inventory Tracking: Point of Sale or POS systems- The POS system tracks inventory sold and updates stock amount. Once the liar level is reached, an alert is issued and purchase orders can be sent out.
Barcode scanners- Barcodes of the stock can be scanned and their details recorded automatically in the inventory management system.
Radio Frequency Identification Scanners- The RFID system also relies on scanning product tags to enter them in the inventory management app. RFID uses small microchips placed on a tag attached to the product or on the product packaging.
Top 5 Restaurant Inventory Apps of 2022
A good restaurant inventory management software system is the one which can sync with a point of sale or POS system and save the manager or owner hours of labour. Most of the systems cost upward of $99 per month. The cost depends on the features integrated with the system.
The top 5 restaurant inventory management apps are-
Hubworks is a back office solution for restaurants. It's a specialty app store that has individual apps to handle workforce management, food management, scheduling, employee timekeeping, reporting, supply chain and food safety compliance. It offers apps like Zip Inventory that can keep track of inventory goods on daily, weekly or monthly basis.
MarketMan is a cloud-based inventory management app that can be operated on any Android iOS mobile device. It provides features like inventory counting, budgeting, purchasing, food costing, and vendor management. It can be integrated with several POS systems.
3. xtraCHEF by Toast
xtraCHEF by Toast is also a cloud based restaurant inventory and vendor management app. Since xtraCHEF (which was originally a freestanding restaurant inventory platform) was acquired by Toast in 2021, there have been some glitches reported in the software, but it has received a high ranking for its various automated inventory features.
4. Revel Systems
Revel Systems is one of the best POS systems for small businesses. It offers customizable solutions for inventory counts and purchase order management. It also offers the option of adding unlimited ingredients, recipes and vendors.
5. Upserve by Lightspeed
Upserve by Lightspeed is ranked as the most automated built-in POS inventory software out there. It is a great management app for small to midsize businesses. It offers tools for inventory management, alerts for purchase orders and even offline functionality for inventory counts.
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.
Top 5 Free Inventory Software for Bargain Hunters
If you're a small business, not keen to spend on a power-packed restaurant management software, you can check out free inventory software. These give you an idea of how an automated restaurant management system works.
eHopper is a POS system that's ideal for small shops and new restaurants. It can work on Android, iPad and Windows devices. Its features include order management, inventory management, payments, tax management, and customer management. It can be used on multiple terminals, mobiles and tablets.
uniCenta is a cloud based management software. It can be used in bars, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and grocery stores. It is compatible with various operating systems like Linux, Apple, Windows.
SambaPOS is ideal for basic restaurant working. It can track and analyze a restaurant's performance. It offers tools for table management, real time data reporting and creating customized menus. It only operates on Windows. This open-source restaurant management software offers all the solutions necessary for the dynamic growth of a restaurant.
Zoho is a free restaurant management software that can help with a range of tasksredesign menus, track and manage inventory in real time, and deliver orders faster with table and order management. It also optimizes the purchase order system and can be integrated with a restaurant's existing software.
TouchBistro is an open source restaurant management software for small and medium businesses. It provides real time access to inventory tracking and offers insights that help a business grow. It has an active support team and a simple user interface.
Restaurant Inventory Management FAQs
A good inventory management software will give you control over your inventory and reduce money spent on it. But you have to choose the right inventory management system for your restaurant. A good restaurant inventory management software should be able to accommodate your restaurant needs and allow you to make right purchasing decisions. A good software for Restaurant Inventory can be integrated with a POS system or any other software you might be using.
A good software for restaurant inventory management can help to optimize key metrics like cost of good sold (Beginning Inventory + Purchased Inventory - Ending Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold).
The total COGs should not exceed 31%. If it does, it may be an indication that there is a need revise the menu price or adjusting food cost.
A good software for inventory management should allow you to optimize your inventory turnover rate (the time you hold on to inventory before it generates revenue). Inventory turnover rate is calculated by Cost of Goods Sold / (Beginning Inventory + Ending Inventory) / 2. Taking regular inventory can help increase profits by 20%.