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Tips to Choose a Restaurant Management Software

Owning a restaurant is a dream for many, but the reality can be a whirlwind of tasks – managing inventory, scheduling staff, communicating effectively, and nurturing customer loyalty. Here's where restaurant management software (RMS) steps in, becoming your digital sous chef, streamlining operations and freeing you to focus on what matters most: creating a phenomenal dining experience. This guide delves into tips to choose a restaurant management software and comparing their strengths in key areas:

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1. Inventory Control: Say goodbye to stock-outs and wasted food! Effective RMS solutions offer:

  • Inventory Tracking: Monitor ingredient levels in real-time, receive low-stock alerts, and generate automatic purchase orders to maintain optimal inventory levels. This reduces food waste and ensures you always have the necessary ingredients to fulfill customer orders.

  • Menu Costing: Analyze the cost of each dish to optimize your menu pricing and profitability. Software like Kounta and Lightspeed Restaurant offer detailed menu costing features, allowing you to track ingredient costs and adjust portion sizes for maximum efficiency.

  • Recipe Management: Standardize recipes and portion sizes to ensure consistency and prevent costly deviations. Epos Now and Xero Restaurant allow you to store recipes with ingredient quantities, streamlining food preparation and reducing waste.

2. Scheduling Made Simple: Juggling staff schedules can be a headache. The best RMS solutions offer:

  • Drag-and-Drop Scheduling: Create visual staff schedules with ease, taking into account employee availability, skills, and qualifications. Deputy and When I Work excel in this area, offering user-friendly interfaces for scheduling shifts and managing leave requests.

  • Labor Cost Control: Track labor costs as a percentage of sales to ensure efficient staffing. 7shifts and RosterHawk (an Australian-made solution) provide insightful reports on labor costs, allowing you to identify areas for optimization.

  • Employee Communication: Facilitate communication within your team. Platforms like Slack integrate seamlessly with some RMS options, allowing for real-time communication between managers and staff.

3. Seamless Staff Communication: A well-coordinated team is the heart of a successful restaurant. Here's where RMS shines:

  • Task Management: Assign specific tasks to individual team members and track their progress, ensuring smooth kitchen and front-of-house operations. Deputy and Xero Restaurant offer task management features, keeping your team accountable and on track.

  • Internal Messaging: Facilitate communication between staff members. Some RMS solutions integrate with internal messaging platforms like Slack or offer built-in messaging functionalities to streamline communication during service.

  • Knowledge Base: Create a central repository of training materials, recipes, and operational procedures to ensure consistency and maintain high standards across your team. Kounta and Lightspeed Restaurant provide knowledge base features, allowing you to easily manage and access crucial information.

4. Cultivating Customer Loyalty: Building Relationships with CRM Features:

A strong customer base is vital for any restaurant's success. Here's where your RMS can help:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Track customer preferences, purchase history, and birthdays. Leverage this data to personalize your service and offer targeted promotions. Lightspeed Restaurant and Epos Now offer built-in CRM features, allowing you to cultivate strong customer relationships.

  • Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program to reward repeat customers and encourage them to return for more. Some RMS options, like Square and Clover, integrate with loyalty program providers, making it easy to manage and track customer rewards.

  • Table Management and Reservations: Manage reservations efficiently and optimize table turnover. Kounta and Xero Restaurant provide intuitive table management features, allowing you to streamline seating and improve customer flow.

Choosing the Right Fit:

With so many options available, selecting the right RMS for your restaurant can be overwhelming. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Restaurant Size and Complexity: Are you a small cafe or a large multi-location restaurant? Different software caters to varying needs.

  • Budget: RMS solutions come with different pricing structures. Consider features offered, scalability, and your budget constraints.

  • Ease of Use: Choose a user-friendly system that can be easily adopted by your staff.

Popular Options:

Here's a quick overview of some popular restaurant management software options in Australia:

  • Lightspeed Restaurant: A comprehensive solution with strong features in inventory control, menu costing, and CRM.

  • Kounta: A locally developed RMS with strengths in inventory tracking, recipe management, and customer loyalty programs.

Xero Restaurant: Integrates seamlessly with Xero accounting software, offering features for menu costing, staff scheduling, and table management.

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