restaurant supply chain solutions | 7 mins read

4 Best Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions for Small Business Owners

5 best restaurant supply chain solutions for small business owners 1649830931 1595
Sanchari Chatterjee

By Sanchari Chatterjee

What is a Restaurant Supply Chain?

The restaurant supply chain is a process that connects a set of organizations that work together to deliver food, ingredients, non-food items and other services to restaurants. Various vendors supply restaurants with food, beverages, tissues, appliances, kitchen tools. and the other essentials they need. These businesses operate as suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, importers, exporters, manufacturers or even supplier agents.

A restaurant supply chain works every day in a seamless manner to make sure restaurants are able to produce each menu item on time. From a variety of food products such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and spices, to non-food essentials such as napkins, cutlery, plastic bags and takeaway bags, restaurants need thousands of goods to run their operations daily. And getting the restaurant supply on time is the job of a supply chain.

The value chain for a restaurant can be broken down into three main parts- supply, operations and profitability. Supply plays a key role in ensuring that a restaurant operates like a well-oiled machine. The supply chain is therefore a prime contributor to a of the profitability of a business.

What is Supply Chain Management?

These days, the phrase 'supply chain' is commonly heard in the retail space. But what is a supply chain and what does managing it mean? Supply chain is a network of suppliers, manufacturers and other organizations that deliver a product from its source to the restaurant, while supply chain management is the process of managing the flow of goods from their source to their final destination.

Supply chain management (SCM) connects manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and finally, the retail store or customer who'll purchase that product. Supply chain solutions involve organizational structures and responsibilities involved in planning, coordinating and monitoring the flow of goods and services from their source to the final restaurantthe purchaser. Achieving the right balance in a supply chain management system is key to all Business Operations. If your supply chain is in disarray, it will impact sales, revenue, labor costs, growth and brand value.

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How Will Efficient Supply Chain Management Profit a Small Business?

how will efficient supply chain management profit a small business 1649856167 7221

  1. Streamline supply chain- When you are just starting out as a restaurant, every purchase order will have you asking yourself a thousand questionsif you have remembered to order everything you need, If the delivery will be on time, if items are missing on delivery? With an efficient supply chain management system in place, you won't have to stress out over these concerns. Every step of the supply chain will be taken care of with utmost accuracy, speed and efficiency.
  2. Save time- Supply chain solutions not only automate the process of placing orders and managing them, but also speed up the entire process. This will help you save valuable time, labor and overhead expenses.
  3. Monitor budget- Supply chain solutions keep track of every purchase order, supplier, distributor, market price, product delivery date and invoice. The software system stores all historical data related to your restaurant supply. By comparing past prices with current supplier prices and with market prices, the software will help you know if you're being overcharged and by how much. It will also give you product and supplier options, so you can can find the best bargains.
  4. Maintain inventory levels- When you are working with supply chain solutions, you need not worry about your inventory levels running out during business hours and having to turn down customers. This can be detrimental to any small business. However, supply chain software will make sure your inventory is always at its optimum by issuing alerts and notifications and prompting and even processing reorders.
  5. Reduce wastage- Small businesses won't want to spend on inventory items they don't immediately need, but will only take up space and increase costs. A restaurant supply system will make sure your supply wastage is reduced and only the essentials are ordered.

Essential Features of Supply Chain Management Software

  1. Streamline purchase orders- Find a Supply Chain management system that lets you consolidate multiple orders. Connect with your suppliers and distributors through the supply chain, pull up their catalogs and place orders with just a few clicks. Reduce the confusion over multiple orders and keep track of the entire process, from payment to delivery, easily.
  2. Discover new suppliers- As a business owner, you need to have a bank of suppliers and distributors to bank on in case of emergencies. A supply chain software will help you discover local vendors, source their catalogs, and recommend the right products for your restaurant. This way, you can make sure you never run out of stock.
  3. View all order history- The supply chain software will maintain all historical records of your past orders, product preferences, supplier details and other relevant information. You can access these with a few clicks and place orders immediately.
  4. Access reports on your orders- The system will also generate analytical reports based off order-related data and assist you in making informed choices. With these reports, you can identify which products are profitable for your business and which suppliers have better deals.
  5. Remote operations- Look for a supply chain solution that has a mobile app, which will let you manage orders, view reports and keep track of your supplies from any remote location. With a supply chain app, you no longer need to be present at your restaurant at all times and can instead monitor the progress from anywhere.

4 Best Restaurant Supply Chain Software Solutions

1. Zip Ordering-
Zip Ordering is a simple but powerful purchase order management system that consolidates all your orders into one platform. It connects you with your suppliers, fetches their product catalogs, fishes out new local vendors, and keeps your supplies running seamlessly without putting your operations in jeopardy. Zip Ordering also keeps historical records of all your orders, generates reports and integrates with third-party systems. The Zip Ordering mobile app will give you further flexibility to operate from anywhere, at any time. This supply chain solution is available for purchase on the restaurant app store, Hubworks.

2. Oracle Netsuite-
This integrated restaurant management suite offered by Oracle includes a supply chain management system. It takes care of restaurant supply and menu planning. It also enables multiple outlets of large enterprises to coordinate smoothly with each other. Oracle's analytics tools will help you optimize your supply chain, inventory management and point-of-sale system. Oracle's supply chain solution will also integrate with the other management software tools of your business, making operations smooth.

3. SAP SCM-
The SAP software is driven by artificial intelligence and will you give you the digital maturity your business needs. From sales forecasting to supply and demand planning, budget planning and inventory optimization, SAP SCM has a tool for all needs.

4. E2Open-
E2Open is a cloud-based supply chain management system that comes with supply chain tracking, suggested orders, analytics, supply chain planning, order processing, demand planning, and more. The software also integrates with third-party restaurant management solutions for greater efficiency.

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Try it free for 14 days.

Supply Chain Software Pricing

Most supply chain solutions offer free trials before they charge a monthly or yearly subscription fee. Prices can range between $100 to $20,000 per year, depending on the customization you need, the tools and features you demand and the scale of your operations. If the software is for one small establishment, it usually comes at a nominal fee. But if it is used by a large enterprise across multiple venues, the cost will scale up accordingly.

Supply Chain Management FAQs

Q. Can SCM also be used for inventory management?
A- If the supply chain solution is part of a restaurant management suite such as Hubworkswhich offers software solutions for supply chain management (Zip Ordering) and inventory management (Zip Inventory)all of your restaurant management needs will get addressed through a single product. However, if you are not opting for a suite, you can also install supply chain software solutions that support third-party integration.


Q. Can supply chain solutions track the location of each order?
A- Yes. If the supplier allows you to obtain the tracking ID, the chain solution software can use its tracker features to find out the exact location of each order in real time. The tracker will send updates about the order progress and scheduled arrival time to the SCM app.

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