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It’s no secret restaurant technology has come a long way, even in the last five to 10 years. When you’re choosing the best restaurant management software for your business, there are things you should especially look for in those solutions. There are a number of options that exist and it’s important to choose the solution that will make your life easier and best suit your restaurant’s needs.

Be flexible with technology

Technology is constantly changing, and the restaurant industry is no different. Restaurants should be asking technology partners what their roadmap is, both short term and long term, and if there is an avenue to make customization or enhancement requests to keep up with the change of pace in the restaurant scene. Some technology vendors may only do one system update every 12 to 18 months. Although that was acceptable five or 10 years ago, restaurants should be asking how often they release new features and functions, and how those are prioritized. Updates and enhancements should be done on a regular basis (every few months at the most). There needs to be a strategy and a flexibility to add new features and functions to the system. Using modern coding technology allows new features to be implemented on a more regular basis.

Understand restaurant-specific accounting

One of the most overlooked aspects is when restaurant companies don’t consider the accounting of restaurant business to be unique – it’s different than a lot of other industries. From the way inventory is handled, to fiscal periods, to the way financial reports are shown and many other facets, there are nuances to the restaurant space. Most companies have used a generic accounting system, and at times even generic accounting help. The restaurant industry has a uniqueness to it, and while other companies get by with generic accounting and accountants, there is a whole area of optimization that can be done with restaurant-specific accounting technology.

Accounting is getting mired into double entry and/or mundane activities that don’t have an impact on the business. Some companies think to fix the problem by hiring more people and using QuickBooks to save money. Some believe the monthly cost is cheaper than other options, but they don’t account for hiring two to three times the amount of staff to get the same accounting throughout and financial reports that they could get using the right technology. Restaurant-specific accounting technology should be the first step, rather than trying to solve the problem with more labor.

View your restaurant’s data in an effective way

Typically for most restaurants, it’s a challenge to even attempt to harness a holistic view of all their data. Some restaurant groups have 10 to 15 (or more) systems in place to measure different aspects of their business. There are two solutions to this:

  • Extract, centralize and analyze. You can take the data out of each of the, say 15, systems, and centralize the all the information into a data warehouse or enterprise reporting solution. Some restaurant groups attempt this but managing 15 integrations of anything is not easy. Once centralized, using a strong reporting solution to provide actionable insights.
  • You could also look at 10 or 15 systems and think, do we really need that many? There are better tools available today than there were 10, five or even just one year ago. You should be able to take those 15 systems and get them down to just a few, maybe three core restaurant solutions. Look at those 15 systems and see what you can combine. An all-in-one solution can bring accounting, inventory and scheduling into an integrated platform, so you’ll have all the data you need to make the best decisions for your restaurant.

This is merely a snapshot of things to consider when you’re searching for a restaurant management solution, but it’s a great place to start. Seeking a software that has the ability to handle multiple aspects of your restaurant, including accounting, back office management and reporting, will prove to be the most beneficial for you.