When you’re beginning the search for the perfect restaurant management software, the array of options is daunting. Purchasing new software is an investment, but it’s one that will pay off in better profitability and time saved. But how are you supposed to decide which capabilities are a nice to have and which are a must have in your pursuit of improved operations?
While part of that answer depends on what your needs and goals are for using back-office software, we think there are 3 things that are non-negotiable when considering your options.
1. User Friendly
Your back-of-house system is going to be used by people at all levels of the business. From managers, to employees clocking in and out, to directors and VPs, a restaurant management system needs to be easy to learn and easy to operate. Make user friendliness a priority when considering restaurant management software.
Each software provider is going to differ in terms of reliability, ease of use, availability of support and how well implementation and training is organized. Ask about each of these capabilities and watch for them in demos. If you are able to use the product in a demo environment, do so. Then weigh all these factors as you make your decision.
Legacy systems that require manual updates and downloads are not a realistic solution for a modern business. You simply can’t have different locations and employees working off 4 different versions of a program. This creates unnecessary friction in a process that is supposed to be reducing friction.
Look for a cloud-based solution, so everyone across all locations is working on the same system. You don’t have to pay attention to updating and maintaining a program and ensuring you have enough storage for your data. The vendor will keep everything up to date, and store your data where it can be easily accessed by those who need it. Most cloud-based software will also have offline functionality, so if the wifi is down or your ipad isn’t getting a signal, you can still get the job done and it will update next time there is a connection.
3. Real-Time Visibility
In an industry where profit margins are slim, you need to know how your key metrics are performing on any given day. Weekly P&Ls don’t cut it anymore. Your restaurant management system needs to give you easy access to up-to-date analytics, so you get the real-time visibility needed to run as efficiently as possible.
Once you know the vendors you’re considering have the essentials, then you can begin on creating your “nice to have” list that will help decide if restaurant management software is worth the investment.