Things have been pretty crazy for all of us over the last year or so, and nobody knows this better than the restaurant industry. All of the new problems restaurateurs found themselves suddenly dealing with overnight seemed insurmountable, but thousands managed to adapt and pull through in the end. Luckily, technology was there to help, too – restaurant management systems have perhaps never been as useful and downright necessary as they are now.

What kind of technology is used in restaurants these days to keep everything up and running, from shifts to reservations to placing and receiving orders? A good restaurant management system, that’s what! Software for restaurants is crucial for any 21st century establishment, so today we will explore the many uses of such software and the most popular ones available. Let’s get started!

Restaurant management systems – what they do

Gone are the days that one person or even several people had to stay on top of everything going on at a restaurant wll of the time. Technology has taken over an enormous amount of areas involving organization, calculation and statistics, thus freeing up real people’s minds so they can tackle more ambitious, creative tasks. Restaurant management software automates a slew of monotonous administrative tasks, from workforce management (schedule creation, shift changes, labor law compliance issues) to inventory tracking (tracking expiration dates and food waste, forecasting and purchasing new orders, menu editing based on changing costs), payroll and more, so it’s no wonder the vast majority of modern restaurants can’t imagine life without them.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular restaurant management systems, what their pros and cons are, and what they could offer your business.

The most popular restaurant software solutions

Restaurateurs the world over use tens if not hundreds of such solutions to manage their establishments, but the ones on this list have the biggest following:

HotSchedules: a market leader among restaurant software

This online restaurant management platform seems to truly have it all – it deals with typical issues such as scheduling and other workforce management issues and managing inventory, but also helps recruit new talent and develop and optimize training courses. These e-learning courses can be truly complex, including video tutorials, presentations and much more. The software is available on iPhones and iPads, Android devices, and Blackberry, too – each version is a native solution, to boot. At $49 per month for a location with up to 30 employees, HotSchedules is the cheapest software on this list, all while managing to be a real market leader in terms of the quality of service. The only con consistently brought up by potential users is the lack of free trial, but nobody’s perfect!

Compeat: a restaurant managing system focused on progress

This Texas-based company specializes in back office and workforce solutions. As the name itself suggests, this  online restaurant management platform was designed specifically for restaurants. The software is cloud-based and does not offer and does not have dedicated Android or iPad/iPhone apps but the Compeat team is dedicated to constantly improving on it, which has been problematic for some users trying to keep up, but attests to their dedication to progress. Other pros listed by Compeat’s users include how easy it makes managing inventory, the help box that can be used to quickly search for a specific item, and the warnings that pop up to let users know they may be making a mistake entering, say, duplicated data. On the downside, some users mention the fact that the Compeat customer support team is available only during business hours and is not particularly quick to address issues. Pricing starts at $75 per month, and there is no free trial available. Last but not least, Compeat has been on the market for over 20 years

CrunchTime: the restaurant managing system Dunkin’ uses

CrunchTime is another restaurant back office solution. This online restaurant management platform boasts robust Analytics and reporting options and numerous software integrations and helps restaurateurs manage inventory and labor as well. The software boasts being the solution chosen by some pretty big and well-known brands, including Panda Express and Dunkin’ Donuts, to name but a few, and as such it is an especially good solution for multi-unit operators. More than 35,000 restaurants in 30 countries use CrunchTime to keep their businesses on track, and if all this is making you curious to give it a try, you’ll be glad to know that there is a free trial. CrunchTime’s satisfied customers praise the 24/7 live customer support, as well as the fact that there are both dedicated Android and iPad/iPhone apps in addition to the web-based service. The main con brought up by CrunchTime users is that the interface is not exactly the most intuitive.

SimpleOrder: restaurant software to assist the chef

SimpleOrder is very versatile in that it is compatible with both mobile and desktop devices and can handle multiple entire restaurant chains and suppliers. Besides doing all of the things you would expect restaurant management software to do, it also has a built-in cost calculator that adjusts the menu and the prices of the dishes on it based on the current prices of certain ingredients. Contactless payments are undoubtedly another very valuable feature in the times of increased attention to hygiene – let’s face it, banknotes can get pretty disgusting, pandemic or no pandemic! SimpleOrder users praise the restaurant management software’s cost-to-quality ratio – even though it costs $79 per month, they feel the 24/7 customer service more than makes up for the price. The tool is also highly compatible with other restaurateur favorites, such as Sage, Xero and Quickbooks.

The choice of restaurant management system is an important one that is sure to impact your restaurant’s performance, no matter whether you run a small corner cafe or an international chain. And that’s why it’s so important to choose the right one! Hopefully this list will help you do that – and if you already have a favorite of your own that’s not on this list, be sure to let us know!

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