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What is restaurant management software?
Restaurant management software automates the daily workflows in a restaurant. It offers a broad range of features that include basic business needs, such as accounting, customer contact information, and supplier data, as well as restaurant-specific requirements such as guest management, order management, kitchen management, and table reservations.
The software also automates guests scheduling and inventory control. It integrates with point of sale (POS) hardware to manage orders and billing process.
The benefits of restaurant management software
- Enhances customer experience: Foundational pillar for the growth of the food industry is to enhance the customer experience and building a good relationship with them. Modern restaurant management software improves consumer experience by providing facilities such as online table bookings, real-time visibility into table availability at the restaurant, and mobile payments.
- Segments and retains customers: Nowadays, restaurant management software is able to bucket customers on the basis of their order size and number of visits, which, in turn, helps managers to formulate effective marketing strategies. A modern-day software is a data powerhouse which records customer information such as name, contact details, and transactions and learns customer preferences which help in delivering more satisfying services to the customers.
- Improves staff communication and coordination: Mismanagement and miscommunication can create a messy affair for any restaurant. Therefore, it is imperative for restaurants to engage their staff in the right way. With modern restaurant management software into place, waiters can coordinate with backend as well as front end staff, that keep all of them in sync with the right set of information. Waiters, nowadays, use handheld devices that let kitchen staff know about the order, that reduces the waiting time, and transmits the transaction information to the cashier as well, that leads to correct billing. Thus, making a restaurant well managed and confusion-free.
Typical features of restaurant management software
- Table management: Assigns staff to each table and coordinates the table services.
- Billing and invoicing: Creates and manages monetary transactions, such as bills and invoices, between clients, suppliers, and customers.
- Reservation management: Allows online table booking from a web browser or an app. It helps you manage table reservations, resources, and staff based on the bookings received.
- Inventory management: Tracks, manages, and controls the quantity and supply of resources to maintain optimal levels of stock. Generates reports that detail the food costs and current pricing of various items.
- Kitchen management: Helps to ease the communication between staff and the kitchen. Performs a kitchen inventory audit based on the orders received. Ensures food quality, safety, and that all the equipment is working properly.
- Menu management: Allows real-time inventory monitoring so that you can build a menu accordingly.
Considerations when purchasing restaurant management software
- Scalability: Restaurant management software shouldn’t be a quick purchase—keep in mind the long-term results and your future needs. You may plan to expand your restaurant into a chain or franchise in the future, which requires the software to be scalable and compatible. Some important features you’ll need to scale up are mobility, bandwidth, advanced analytics, and multi-branch add-ons. Checking for scalability will avoid having to shut down operations in the future as you expand.
- Inventory control: Managing inventory and minimizing food waste, spoilage, and overproduction are major concerns of restaurant managers. They need software that takes care of the inventory to prevent overstocking, and thus, increase profitability. Integrating an inventory management module can help you track real-time inventory depletion and generate automatic purchase orders.
- Ordering and payment options: The food and beverage industry is rapidly growing, which requires you to know about emerging trends and technology. Customers don’t like delays or worse, missed orders. That’s why restaurants are adopting ordering and payment features that employ new tech. Using handheld devices to take orders and mobile phones to make payments are two highly beneficial and useful upgrades. As most customers prefer tableside order and bill signing, consider adding these options.
- Reporting capabilities: Data-driven software provides managers with clear visibility into the inventory, menus, guests, employees, and other aspects of the restaurant. But it’s also vital to analyze this data and gain insights for taking the right decisions. Consider adding data mining, analytics, and reporting tools to your restaurant management software. These will help restaurant managers reduce costs and increase revenue.
Relevant restaurant management software trends
- AI is taking customer service to the next level: Technological innovations are taking restaurant operations to a new height. With data being constantly recorded, restaurants are collecting their customers’ information, which is mined to decipher food trends and consumer habits. Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to play a large role in the food industry in the coming years. It can help restaurants extract customer information, analyze it, and develop menus as per customer preferences. Use it to enhance the customer experience and expectations, which in turn, increases revenue and profits.
- Facial recognition, mobile payments reshaping payment technology: Conventional payment methods are being replaced by new technologies. The increasing use of smartphones makes it convenient for many customers to use digital channels for payments . In fact, the estimated volume of mobile payments grew to 75% in 2018 . Keeping this in mind, restaurant management software vendors plan to add facial recognition as a payment method. For instance, Amazon Go is using cameras to recognize faces in stores and deduct the amount from customers’ Amazon wallets for the purchased products.