You’ve always heard the best things in life are free. But is that actually true when it comes to your business? Let’s take a look at whether back-of-house software is worth the investment.
Growing a business is always a balance between using your resources wisely and investing in tools that will help you put time or money toward other activities. So it’s easy to see why free ways to do scheduling, inventory and more are so appealing. When compared with software that can cost anywhere from $15 a month to $400, free sounds great.
When a single restaurant location opens, it’s possible to cobble together some mix of Google calendars for scheduling, Excel for inventory, pen and paper for line checks and on-the-job mentoring for training. In the beginning, it may not be worth it for you to move to a new tool, or you may want to find a tech-based solution for only one of these issues. You’re often more able to devote time in the beginning to training and monitoring different parts of your restaurant operations, and find that software doesn’t save you more time.
So when would an investment in restaurant management make more sense?
- If you are considering or already have multiple locations and need visibility and control across your business.
- If you need to step back in your time commitment and want to ensure you still have consistency.
- If manager turnover is high from burnout and you need to help reduce their weekly time commitment.
- If you have regular employee conflict over schedules, shift swaps or time off and want a better record.
- If you have ongoing issues with restaurant inventory and you’re not sure where the problems are.
The Return from Restaurant Management Software
Most brands see the benefit of their investment in three ways:
1. Increased Profitability
Our clients typically see profitability increase between 2 and 4% as a result of streamlined processes, lower food waste and reduced labor costs. Restaurant management software drives higher profitability because you’re better able to forecast inventory, track supplier compliance and predict labor costs.
2. Time Saved
While it isn’t as easy to quantify the exact impact of saved time, the effects are still far-reaching. Operations directors can spend time mentoring their direct reports or looking for more efficiencies, instead of pulling together reports that should be automated. Restaurant managers can spend their time on other pressing tasks, or avoid burnout that comes from long hours, with more than 10 hours saved per week with better scheduling and inventory.
3. Strong Brand Reputation
Having a single source of truth for brand processes, training and food safety information helps ensure your customers have a safe, happy experience every time they visit one of your locations. Restaurant management software improves consistency and provides peace of mind that the proper food safety requirements and brand standards are being upheld.
There’s no perfect way to know if it’s time for you to consider investing in back-office software. However, if you have multiple locations and are struggling with consistent customer experience, onboarding and retaining employees, or little insight into inventory or operations issues, it might be time to look into a new solution.