Back-of-house software can simplify doing business, but how can you be sure that the package you’re looking at will meet all your needs? This article outlines the best practices for finding an effective restaurant management system, and how that system will help you become a more successful restauranteur.
Managing a successful restaurant is no walk in the park. With all its moving parts, your business operates much like a clock—each individual element working behind the scenes to create a seamless experience that customers can rely on again and again. Managing each of these important behind-the-scenes processes—inventory, purchasing, and internal restaurant operations—can prove to be a difficult task. And if you, like many others, own a restaurant for the love of food more than the love of business, tracking your money through the inventory and purchasing chain can be totally un-fun.
Luckily, there are a plethora of restaurant management systems available today that can streamline these essential back-of-house processes to make your life easier and your restaurant more profitable. But with all the options that are currently available in the market, how can you make a confident decision?
1. Identify Your Needs
Every back-of-house software package provides a different service, so the first step in making an educated purchase is identifying exactly what areas of your restaurant you need help managing. Are you having a hard time maintaining inventory? Does your kitchen staff throw out armfuls of spoiled food at the end of every week? If so, you may want to invest in a restaurant management system that specializes in tracking current inventory, managing future orders, and reducing food waste.
Investing in a tool that doesn’t address your needs will only amplify your headache, so figuring out what you need to look for ahead of time is key to making the right decision.
2. Recognize Your Strengths
You are a food lover and a business owner. You have spent countless hours toiling behind the scenes to bring your delicious dreams to fruition. You work weekends and holidays, and constantly brainstorm ways to improve your food and service. Through this labor of love, you have likely discovered your aptitudes—what you’re naturally good at. When searching for a restaurant management system, understanding what areas of your business you don’t need help managing can be just as important as recognizing your weaknesses. Many back-of-house software companies will try to sell you more services than you need, which can siphon important funds out of your wallet and down the gullet of the ever-hungry money monster that plagues every small business owner.
If you struggle to keep track of the cash flowing through your restaurant but have developed a killer system for ordering product, you don’t need a tool that charges you for monitoring cash AND inventory. Knowing your strengths can help you avoid spending unnecessary money on a tool that won’t be helpful in the long run.
3. Understand Your Goals
Growing your business and beefing up your income are usually at the top of the list, but what other goals do you have for your restaurant or personal life? Do you want to spend more time at home with the family? Do you wish you could manage your employees remotely? Understanding your goals allows you to invest in tools that will help you achieve them. If you want to spend more time at home, look for a restaurant management system that you can access on a mobile device. If you want to manage employees remotely, find a tool that will allow you to create custom tasks and track critical issues while out of the office.
Having a game plan that accounts for your goals can save a lot of time and money when you make your final purchasing decision.
As you search for the perfect back-of-house management software, remember that not all tools are created equal. Some software packages offer a quick fix for a single issue, while others provide a totally customizable and robust one-stop shopping experience for effective restaurant management. As you identify your needs, recognize your strengths, and understand your goals, you will be able to successfully navigate the murky waters of internet information to find the perfect restaurant management system for your business.