There are many options on the market for restaurant software, all with tempting offers. But, how do you know which ones are right for you? Our guide will help dispel the myths and expose the facts to help you decide.
Do You Need Restaurant Software?
The short answer is YES. However, you probably want to know why we think this way. That answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no. There are many factors that go into deciding if restaurant software is suitable for your business. We can’t possibly know your unique needs or goals, but we can safely say we know the key points all restaurants have in common.
We know that all restaurants:
Want to succeed
Want to make a profit
Want the option to grow and expand at least a little bit
Want to save money without sacrificing quality
Have to follow strict regulations
Are always looking for ways to improve or stay up with current trends
Luckily, restaurant software can help with all of those points. While each option will come with their own features, we’ve pulled together a list of our top-rated features we believe every restaurant should take advantage of, and how it can help your business.
1. Get it all in the cloud
Cloud technology has changed the face of restaurant software for the better. There is nothing quite as catastrophic as losing even one file, let alone losing the whole office of files due to fire or flood or pest infestation. Even mishandling by employees can do some major damage to your carefully filed reports and documents. With cloud technology, restaurant software can keep all your important data secure from prying eyes, safe from accidents and loss, and easily accessible to you and approved users. Since it’s in the cloud, your data isn’t in just one location; it’s everywhere, and you will always be able to access it with any connected device, as long as you have an internet connection. Try that with your old logbooks and file cabinets.
Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/cloud-paper-hand-world-business-2104829/ License: Creative Commons Zero
2. Designed with food service in mind
Software comes in all shapes and sizes and benefits, but to get the most out of going digital, you should focus on getting restaurant software. Why? Because restaurant software companies understand the unique needs of the foodservice industry and won’t fill your software with fluff, bloatware, or things, you’ll never need. Restaurant software is generally made by people who have been in the foodservice industry a long time, or the companies have contracted food service bigwigs to find out exactly what kinds of features they’d love to see. You can reap the rewards of their labor by finding software made just for you.
3. Keeping food regulations straight
Food regulations have a habit of changing very quickly, and if you don’t have the right restaurant software on hand, you may miss an important update. Good restaurant software is designed to keep you posted on any changes in the industry and to set reminders and alerts for possible food safety issues. They can even be used to help prevent problems altogether by tracking food rotation timers and expiration dates, to name a few points.
4. Modular software allows expansion in your own way
Restaurant software should be open-ended and expandable. What we mean by this is that your software should be compatible with multiple devices and platforms, as well as compatible with other apps. These other devices, platforms, and apps can expand your restaurant’s capabilities, adding new functionality and building on the current ones. It should be simple, painless, and fast to add new apps or devices.
5. Streamline processes and get rid of monotony
Some tasks are just dull. Boredom breeds mistakes and mistakes cost money. It stands to reason that your restaurant software should help streamline tasks and remove the monotony. That frees up your employee’s time to do more to help grow the business. Let your restaurant software track, compile, report, and alert, so your employees can prep food and serve your customers. You get happy diners and engaged employees, which means more profits, everyone wins!
6. Track trends
Software feeds on data, and restaurant software feeds on food data. Sorry for the pun, but it’s true! Restaurant software is designed to keep track of trends in food, customer habits, and sales data over time. Use all this data to dream up new and exciting promotions and to offer significant benefits to your diners. Use the collected customer information and buying habits to fine-tune your menu and watch your brand recognition grow. Restaurants that listen to and understand their customers make much more money than those who stick to the old ways. Watch the trends and adjust as needed, using your restaurant software as a guide.
Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/course-graphic-upward-bar-top-1015601/ License: Creative Commons Zero
How to Select Only the Best Restaurant Software
Now that you know what restaurant software can do for your business and how it can improve your reputation, we’d like to offer a few tips on making sure you select only the best ones suited to your specific needs. There are a lot of software companies out there who’d love to get their hands on your money, but they’re not all created equal.
Ask for a free trial. Why would you buy something that you don’t know how to use? What happens if you hate it after a week? Free trials help you get a feel for restaurant software before you buy.
Don’t sign a contract. Contracts can be tricky. Think about why they’re asking for the contract, it’s not to make sure you’re happy. It’s to ensure they get as much of your money as possible. That doesn’t sound like the actions of a confident company to us. If they were confident in their product, they’d let it speak for itself, not try to trick you into staying.
Beware the silent tech support. Sometimes you just need some help, but what happens if tech support never answers? The food industry runs at lightspeed; you don’t have time to wait days or more for emails or calls back. You need help now! Be sure the company you choose has excellent customer service that actually answers.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful, and we hope you decide to try some of the cool restaurant software available today. Saving time, money, and stress is well worth the effort in researching your options and trying a few out. If you’d like to learn a bit more about productivity software for restaurants, we have a great article here on real-time inventory management “Top 4 Reasons to Switch to Real-Time Inventory Management”.