Restaurant Software- The Essential Guide

The importance of restaurant software has been increasing by leaps and bounds every year. With the influence of automation and the growth of online ordering, restaurant software plays a huge role in practically all the core functions of a successful business in the food and beverage industry today. All the way from order processing to acquiring new customers, the job is made much easier with the right kind of software. 

Software used by restaurants and cafes all over the world can be divided into two main categories: guest-facing software and back-of-house software. The former is any kind of software such as an app or a website that a customer comes into direct contact with while the latter consists of software that serves as a tool used by food establishments to make everyday operations simpler and more efficient. In this article, we’re going to look at the most commonly used software that are part of these two categories and the most popular names in these domains as well.

Guest Facing Restaurant Software

Third-Party Food Aggregators and Review Sites

The chances of a millennial or Gen Z dropping into a new restaurant without checking out a review site are pretty slim. Third-Party Food Aggregators and Review Sites are online marketplaces that have a lasting influence on brand image. They dominate customer behaviour enormously and can be extremely useful in attracting new customers by creating a powerful first impression.

Examples: Uber Eats, Swiggy, Trip Advisor, GrubHub, PostMates

Waitlisting and Online Reservation Software

With the growth of contactless dining, online waitlisting is becoming a necessity. This kind of software lets customers make reservations online instead of picking up the phone or waiting in a long queue. They get real-time updates about how crowded a restaurant is as the online waitlist changes in real-time. 

White Label Online Ordering Systems

In essence, these are websites, mobile apps, and online ordering software that are targeted at restaurants. They can be customised by restaurants to reflect their brand identity and logo. Equipped with a large number of templates and designs, this software basically hosts a website or an app that serves as a restaurant backend. They offer software updates from time to time and might be the best possible solution if you’d like to move away from third-party food delivery apps and huge commissions. 

Loyalty Programmes

In recent years, loyalty programmes and rewards have become new avenues for increasing revenue. No matter the scale of your business, an effective loyalty programme is the best tool to ensure that your customers come back for more. Restaurant Loyalty Software allows you to design loyalty programmes and establish how customers earn rewards points. 

Online Payments

There’s been a massive increase in the use of mobile wallets and digital payments. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more people opt for contactless payment. Naturally, it’s important for restaurants to offer as many online payment options as possible. But that’s not it- there’s also payment technology out there that offers guests an option to split the bill, further elevating the guest experience. Mobile payment technologies offer a lot more convenience to customers.
Examples: Clover, My Check, Toast

Gift Cards

Gift cards have been the go-to gifting option for quite some time now. But meal vouchers are relatively new. Quickly becoming super popular, these cards often make customers pay up to 20% more than they would with direct payments. 

Back-of House Software

Staffing and HR Software

Today, many restaurants make use of HR software that handles everything related to staffing- employee training, scheduling shifts, efficiency, clock-ins, and so on. Unlike in old times, staffing doesn’t have to be a tedious job anymore. You can do away with paper and timetables once and for all with effective HR software. 

Examples: 7 Shifts, Squaddle, Hotschedules

POS and Billing Software

A POS is essentially the main component of any restaurant software. POS systems replace old school cash registers and record all transactions. Once these transactions are recorded in the system, they can always be used to assess overall performance as well as to design loyalty programmes. 

A modern restaurant cash register on a white background.

Accounting Software

Accounting has been made easy with the wide range of accounting software out there today. Equipped with banking features, document management as well as auditing, this software can help you keep all financial records and make an audit trail too. There are frequent backups scheduled as well.
Examples: Cohesion, Shogo, Compeat

Inventory Control

It’s no secret that inventory management is one of the most challenging as well as time-consuming tasks. Keeping track of purchases, items being used up, substitutes is a colossal process. And this is where inventory management tools come in handy. Here’s how-inventory management software helps you keep tabs on every item in your pantry and can also remind you to schedule purchases when you’re running low. It can be automated to build purchase orders on its own and create invoices. In a nutshell, this can majorly help in painting a clear picture of your overall costs, which can, in turn, be useful during menu design. 

Food Waste Management Software

Food waste is a serious problem in our world. With tons of food being wasted every single day, it’s important for restaurants to be responsible and minimise wastage as much as possible. As for leftover food from the day, these items can be donated to help the needy. Companies such as ‘Too Good to Go’ allow people to order food left unsold at restaurants that would have otherwise been thrown away. 

Examples: Copia, Food for All, Mint Scraps

Security

Inaccurate invoicing, stealing ingredients from the pantry, short-ringing- these are just some of the security threats that come about when running a restaurant. Surveillance systems connected with a POS system serve as the best possible tools against such threats. Apart from this, restaurants also need to take into account fire safety as well as burglar protection. There are many companies that offer security solutions for these precise needs.
Examples: Solnk, Cipher Cloud, Digital Guardian

The world of restaurant software is constantly expanding. With more reliance on technology, there comes a need for higher integration among POS systems, customer profiles, order history, and so on. Whether you own a tiny café or a famous cloud kitchen, it’s important to step up your game and remain informed of the latest developments in this field. The right software can drastically streamline operations and help you increase profits. 

Aditya Sarkar

Aditya Sarkar

Aditya Sarkar is a Marketing Manager at LimeTray. When he isn't being a Marketer, he likes solo-travelling, playing all kinds of sports and chilling out with friends! He's reachable at aditya.sarkar@limetray.com