The restaurant industry never stops moving, and your success depends on how you manage all of the moving pieces. Running a restaurant requires a strong management system to help you maximize efficiency, improve your profitability, and grow in the future.
A restaurant management system is software designed to improve your restaurant management by streamlining operations. Restaurant operation software replaces paper on clipboards, confusing spreadsheets, or disparate systems that require manual workarounds to talk to one another.
Your restaurant management system can help you streamline the complex, error-prone tasks that take up your management’s time. By offloading these time-intensive tasks to a restaurant management system, you free your store-level managers to work on more strategic tasks, like spending time with customers and
managing employees. And with a restaurant-specific management system, you can accurately track relevant metrics that empower you to make better decisions in the future.
Here are the top 9 reasons you need to have a restaurant management system.
1. Having anytime, anywhere access
Restaurant management systems used to be stored “locally” on in-store devices, requiring operators to be on the premises to access data. Today’s cloud-based software gives you the flexibility of connecting to your restaurant business anywhere, any time and from any device.
Cloud-based technology is especially important if you run multiple concepts or multiple units as it allows you to access and control information across locations.
2. Controlling your food costs
Most restaurants keep track of inventory, but inventory management software as part of your restaurant management system can make the process even more efficient. Manual inventory control can be streamlined with counting on a tablet or mobile device. Other inventory management tasks such as automatic inventory tracking via point of sale system (POS) integration can also be automated. Over time, smart suggestive ordering, based on sales reporting forecasts and par level inventory, can reduce over-ordering and food waste.
Restaurant management systems can also help you optimize food costs, one of your most controllable expenses. By centralizing your food cost data, even across locations, you can set up alerts to vendor prices changes, proactively staying on top of expenses and making related menu adjustments.
3. Adjusting your menu and recipes for maximum profitability
Restaurant management software can not only lower food costs, but the software can also help you grow your profit and sales by prompting menu engineering decisions. Mapping recipe food costs to menu item sales, allows you to visualize profitability versus popularity rankings for individual menu items. These insights can inform menu adjustments and special promotions. If you operate multiple locations, you can also track recipe costs by location, addressing irregularities and encouraging accountability for store managers.
When you do make menu item changes based on strategic food cost metrics, restaurant management systems enable easy updates to your menu. With a centralized dashboard, you can make menu item adjustments in minutes from any location.
4. Saving time and eliminating human error
To make your restaurant management system comprehensive, the system should integrate seamlessly with any other restaurant software tools that you use. Full integration not only avoids costly custom workarounds, but it also helps streamline processes and reduce inefficiencies.
For example, full integration between your restaurant point of sale system can eliminate human error and save time from manually transferring data about sales reporting or labor hours. And integration with other tools, whether for online order management, accounting, or your loyalty program management, can ensure you have up-to-date, cloud-based data. Real-time data from all of your restaurant technology helps you make immediate, informed decisions about anomalies and proactively address trends.
5. Optimizing your labor costs
Restaurant employee scheduling software, as part of your restaurant management system, can help you optimize your labor cost, one of your biggest business expenses. With features like employee apps, allowing you to easily manage scheduling and shift requests, to custom clocking in/out restrictions, restaurant management software can help you monitor your restaurant employee scheduling and control your labor budget.
With full POS integration, your restaurant management system can also enable smart labor scheduling, based on sales forecasts. Labor cost analytics and reporting can help keep running your restaurant on track for key metrics in the long-term and help you spot trends that can be adjusted.
6. Streamlining your accounting
A restaurant management system that includes restaurant accounting software can automatically create daily sales and labor accrual journal entries in your accounting general ledger. This automatic, accurate entry allows you to instantly review sales reporting and labor data, as well as review enhanced business analytics. A restaurant management system does not only streamline the restaurant accounting process, but it also can help you analyze your accounting to ensure your restaurant business growth is heading in the right direction.
7. Simplifying accounts payable
By automating accounts payable (AP), a restaurant management system can significantly reduce time spent on manual payables management tasks. End-to-end AP automation eliminates third-party bill paying services, which are costly and require time-consuming customizations. You can streamline invoice processing, route invoices through workflows for approval, and securely send payments to vendors through various payment options.
8. Reconciling your bank transactions
A restaurant management system can also connect directly with your bank, allowing you to automatically download your bank activity transactions. This takes one of the most time-intensive restaurant industry accounting tasks—reconciling your books—and allows you to reconcile your bank activity every day, in just a few minutes.
9. Maximizing your business intelligence
Because your restaurant management system tracks and collects data from so many different aspects of your business, customizable reporting helps you access actionable insights for day-to-day decision making. Your restaurant management system should automate delivery of any type of sales, labor, inventory or financial report, allowing you to focus on applying insights rather than collecting data.
With reports accessible from one centralized dashboard, you can set permissions for different members of your accounting team, operations, and store-level managers. With access to accurate, real-time restaurant operation reporting, your team can focus on data-driven decisions for increasing sales, staff productivity, and profits.
Benefits of a restaurant management system
If your restaurant focuses on adapting to the ever-changing needs of your customers, you should also be thinking about adapting to the ever-changing technology needs of the restaurant industry. A restaurant management system can help you run a streamlined, optimized restaurant operation—while taking work off of your plate.
If you want to learn more about the latest restaurant technology, read Guide to Technology to Scale for Growth.