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Inventory Management Software for Restaurants: Most Used Solutions

9 min read

Inventory management is a concern for any business that provides physical goods to their customers, and that includes restaurants. In fact, accurate inventory tracking is vital to account for food cost and accurately estimate future sales and ordering.

You must have restaurant inventory management software that addresses these pitfalls to effective inventory management specific to the food and beverage industry:

  • Tracking, predicting, and improving impacts to food costs beyond that needed for the expected recipe and volume. Food cost can be higher than normal if your employees are munching on the job or cooks are making too many mistakes. Being able to track losses across shifts is ideal for curbing such behaviors.
  • Restaurant industry specific inventory control also requires the ability to account for and adjust ordering of perishable staples to account for spoiling.
  • More frequent inventory counts are necessary for the food and beverage industry, and adjustments are more likely to be required. While you are counting inventory you will likely come across expired or spoiling items that must be discarded and adjusted in the inventory management software.
  • Low stock alerts are even more important for restaurants than any other industry using an inventory management system. Restaurant inventory software should alert you when you have just a few days worth of food on hand based on predicted or scheduled reservations.

To handle all of this in the easiest way possible, you’ll need an all in one pos restaurant management software that automates as much of the process as possible for fewer errors and 86ed menu items. Not only will you lose money by not having the right ingredients on hand, but you will also have lower customer satisfaction rates that can directly affect the future of your restaurant.

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The best inventory management tools for a restaurant business are those that include a free digital waitlist and reservation system, as well as custom reports to help you accurately judge the busiest times and average sales volume.

Independent restaurants, like most small business owners, are handling all aspects of the business themselves. Having a restaurant management system that allows you to automate the most complex tasks saves you time and money. With Ecwid you can also integrate with your restaurant accounting software.

Restaurant Owners Adapting to the Pandemic Further Complicates Inventory Management

Everyone is tired of hearing about the pandemic, but the fact of the matter is that it is still having a huge impact on the restaurant, food, and beverage industries. All types of food and beverage businesses — food trucks, coffee shops, diners, and fine dining establishments — are still experiencing hardships such as increased food costs, delayed orders, and holes in their supply chains.

The answer for many restaurant operators has been to offer online ordering. Opening an ecommerce menu and ordering system presents similar challenges as having multiple locations. You must be able to maintain accurate inventory of recipe necessities in real time so that you do not promise a customer a delivery for something that has been sold out in-store. As such, the methods you have used for tracking inventory and food costs up to this point may no longer be adequate.

Inventory tracking should communicate with and compliment online selling

Tracking inventory in real time across multiple “locations” comes with its own complications, like needing additional staff to meet the demand for deliveries and curbside pickups, needing to order larger than usual amounts of inventory, and covering the cost of the delivery apps.

When you have an ecommerce store for your food truck or coffee shop, you will essentially have orders coming in from two different places. You will need to make sure that your food inventory is sufficient for the additional orders, and that it updates in real time so that you do not have a high cancel rate.

Recipe management is key for effective restaurant inventory management

Loss prevention and having an effective inventory system require that you first start with employees who are well trained in how to craft each recipe. Have dedicated measurement cups or spoons for each ingredient, using different shapes and/or colors to make them easy to differentiate. Furthermore, you must make sure that all of your employees are following proscribed recipe amounts to decrease food costs as much as possible.

But many restaurant owners are finding themselves scrambling to adapt their recipes, food budgets, and inventory levels to account for changes in supply chains and costs. Now effective recipe management must also include keeping an eye on the costs of your ingredients and adapting recipes or menu items as needed.

The Best Restaurant Inventory Management Software for Today’s Versatile Restaurant Operator

When it comes to management software for your restaurant business, the most effective restaurant inventory management needs to include inventory software that tracks recipe ingredients in much the same way that a craft business would track their raw materials. This type of inventory management software can easily be integrated with an ecommerce and/or multiple locations for synced inventory in real time.

Lightspeed: The best inventory system to integrate with your restaurant software

If you want to have everything in one dashboard — employee management, inventory management, food cost, bookkeeping, and ecommerce maintenance, Lightspeed is the way to go. Ecwid and Lightspeed come in one package that allows you to integrate all ecommerce, retail, shipping, management processes, as well as others that tend to slow down small business owners.

Lightspeed for restaurants POS

Lightspeed inventory management system and POS for restaurants. Image source.

Vend: Restaurant software, inventory management, and more

Vend is a powerful restaurant software that was designed primarily for food trucks and other mobile food and beverage businesses. However, this software is also great for those small restaurants and diners that need everything to work seamlessly while they adapt to the new industry climates.

The current trends of online ordering and delivery services is only being spurred on more frantically, and shows no signs of slowing any time soon. That makes having a basic restaurant management system with the bare bones of inventory management, order management, employee management, and ecommerce management is necessary for any restauranteur to survive.

Square POS and Square for Restaurants

Square POS is very popular for many small businesses, but they have adapted their applications to make them even more friendly for restaurants specifically. You can also choose a plan that integrates your Square POS that you have always used for your in-store purchases with the application for restaurants and/or online ordering.

If you want to use your Ecwid online store to sell specific menu items online, this can be integrated with your Square POS as well.

Clover

The Clover POS is another popular option for small restaurants with just one location who want to take their offerings online for more business during these trying times. Clover works very well for small businesses of all types due to its ease of use and integration possibilities. Clover also works with Ecwid, or your can use all of Clover’s features and integrate them into one platform with your other processes through Ecwid.

Do you want to learn more about running a restaurant business online?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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