Some things will never change.
Fabulous food, engaging atmosphere, and superior service will always keep guests coming back for more. But restaurant operators have so much more to worry about.
On top of creating world-class experiences, they have to worry about everything from managing staff to controlling operating costs. Running such businesses is complex.
That’s where technology comes in – providing modern solutions to bring restaurants success. Customers have come to expect seamless interactions, and a ton of new technology is helping operators meet those expectations.
Restaurant software is no longer optional. It’s now a must for doing business and staying ahead. Restaurant owners and operators should be asking questions like:
How does software help you get ahead? And what solutions should be in your tech stack?
Here’s a look at the top 10 best software for restaurants.
Why investing in restaurant software is worth it
Not only will adopting new restaurant software and technology make your life easier, but it will also make a big impact on your bottom line. Here are a few ways software for restaurants can help you get ahead.
Move faster than ever
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants implementing technology like point-of-sale (POS) and kitchen display systems (KDS) can experience
up to 20% overall efficiency.
During your busiest hours, these increased efficiencies will help you serve more customers AND keep them happier.
As the adage goes, “...to err is human.”
Human error is unavoidable. What matters is how businesses minimize the frequency and prevent the impact of mistakes that are bound to happen.
When restaurants don’t try to reduce the inevitable, they pay dearly with bad reviews, unhappy customers, and negative marks on their reputation. Adopting certain technologies helps improve error-prone activities like ensuring order precision, improving inventory management, and much more.
Enhance the experience for on-premise guests and customers
Whether it’s no-fuss reservations with
AI answering services or frictionless ordering and payment processing software, customers expect to interact with tech more often. According to a survey by Deloitte, 70% of diners believe technology improves their dining experience.
Integrating technology is a great way to meet and exceed their expectations.
Reduce waste and control costs
Costs are always top-of-mind for restaurant operators. Reducing costs is a big priority, considering rising inflation, staffing struggles, and food waste.
For example, the National Restaurant Association found that inventory management technology can
reduce food costs by 2-5%. Compounded over time, that’s a ton of money operators can reinvest into the business. Make smarter decisions
One of the best benefits of software for restaurants is all the data you get while using it. You get valuable insight into customer preferences, popular menu items, peak hours, and more.
Software empowers businesses to make informed decisions to better adapt to changing trends and customer preferences.
Best software every restaurant needs
There’s always room to improve. But which gaps are causing the most problems, and how will you fill them?
While every restaurant is different and faces unique challenges, software can play a big role in smoothing out obstacles and taking a business to the next level.
But not just any software.
To get the return on investment you need, every restaurant should have numerous technology solutions in their utility belt that help them save time, wow customers, and scale successfully.
Here are the top 10 must-have restaurant software platforms.
A robust POS system is the cornerstone of modern restaurant operations. It simplifies transactions, tracks sales, and manages orders seamlessly.
Toast is an excellent example of a POS provider. It processes payments and provides valuable insights into sales patterns and customer behavior. 2. Payment processing platforms
Streamlining payment processes enhances customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Payment processing tools like
Square and Clover offer secure, quick, and contactless payment options. These systems accommodate customers' diverse preferences and ensure swift and secure transactions. 3. Online ordering tools
In the age of convenience, online ordering platforms have become indispensable for restaurants. Services like
DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub allow customers to place orders from home or on the go. Utilizing these platforms expands a restaurant's reach in terms of discovery and can increase sales. 4. Kitchen display systems
Efficiency in the kitchen is crucial for timely order fulfillment. A KDS replaces traditional paper tickets, ensuring that chefs receive orders promptly. This minimizes errors, enhances communication between the kitchen and front-of-house staff, and ultimately leads to quicker and more accurate service.
5. Inventory management solutions
Managing inventory is not easy, but it’s essential for cost control and preventing waste. Inventory management tools like
Restaurant365 and Crunchtime automate the tracking of stock levels. This enables restaurants to streamline supply chain operations, reduce food costs, and minimize inventory risks. 6. Reservation management software
For fine-dining establishments or full-service restaurants, a reservation management solution is indispensable. Tools like
OpenTable, Resy, or SevenRooms enable customers to book tables online. While a seamless experience for guests, it also allows restaurants to optimize seating arrangements and staff schedules. 7. Software powered with artificial intelligence (AI) AI for restaurants is more becoming more common as interest in artificial intelligence has exploded over the last few years. It’s baked into a lot of the software mentioned previously like POS or phone systems. AI increases efficiencies and helps curate better experiences for all guests. 8. Phone systems
If you work in restaurants, you know the phone can be a pain for front-of-house staff. It can distract them from on-premise guests and lead to frustrated callers during peak service times.
More businesses are turning to companies like Slang.ai as a customizable and always-on AI phone answering solution. A few use cases include answering customer questions, updating reservations, and more without involving busy staff.
Customers find the personalized phone journeys delightful, and restaurant staff save time and energy by not getting bogged down with answering phones that ring off the hook.
9. Contactless ordering and payment
In a post-pandemic world, contactless solutions have become more typical than ever.
Contactless ordering and payment systems like
Workadu enable customers to view menus, place orders, and pay for their meals using their phones. Restaurants can adopt solutions like QR code-based ordering systems to minimize physical contact and streamline the ordering process. 10. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
Building and maintaining strong customer relationships is key to a restaurant's success. CRM software helps restaurants manage customer data effectively, track preferences, and personalize interactions.
One example built for restaurants is
Eat App, although previously mentioned software brands like Toast and OpenTable offer CRM features and capabilities. With CRM tools, restaurants can send targeted promotions, loyalty rewards, and personalized offers, which helps build customer loyalty. Building a tech stack for your restaurant
While good food is at the core of every successful restaurant, technology should come as a close second. Especially as you grow your restaurant, software will make handling the multiplying complexities much more manageable.
With many options on the market, it can take time to figure out where to start. This list should serve as a starting point, but ultimately you want to invest in tools that:
Increase efficiencies Reduce costs Enhance the customer experience
Selecting the right software is less about keeping up with trends and more of an investment in your restaurant's future. Prioritizing software that streamlines operations, minimizes expenses, and elevates the dining experience can transform your business.
Explore why AI phone answering should be a part of your restaurant’s tech stack. Sign up for a free demo to learn more about Slang.ai.