Best restaurant inventory apps to look out for in 2021

The importance of technology in the restaurant industry

The use of technology within the restaurant industry is quickly becoming not only common but integral in the running of a successful business in this 21st-century landscape. Restaurants and bars that leverage technological software within their businesses do so to make sure they are using their time, money, and supplies in the most effective way possible.  

The software can not only help increase your profit margins but also help organize the overall running of your business as they concisely and efficiently gather information and perform tasks that help you make informed decisions.

What is a restaurant inventory management system?

A restaurant inventory management system is a type of software that simplifies critical business functions such as inventory and accounting in the day-to-day of restaurant and bar owners. It works best in conjunction with a POS system.  

 It is software that can help both with the everyday running of your restaurant business as well as collating data to access real-time information about your business on a daily basis, ultimately allowing you to save money and time.

Best Management Features

Leveraging a restaurant inventory management app is essential if you want your business to reach its full potential, but what is it that these apps and software have to offer? Here is a comprehensive rundown of the main management features offered by these apps:

Location Management

Look for this feature if you have multiple locations as it allows you to look at each restaurant's performance and compare them against each other to see what is working and what is not working.

Inventory Management

Integrated inventory management is a great feature as it allows you to stay on top of inventory, so you never come up short. It also allows you to constantly track the supply and demand of menu items to analyze overall costing, wastage, and theft.

Supplier Order Management

Controlling expenditure on inventory acquisition can significantly reduce your costs, but how can you make sure to always have the right inventory on hand? This is where technology comes in to simplify your life. 

Look for a restaurant inventory app that will provide you with valuable insights such as what needs to be ordered and when, what price you should buy your raw materials and ingredients at to make a profit, what sales you can expect in order to adjust supply orders, the amount of stock you have on hand, etc. You should also be able to access all this information in real-time from anywhere. 

Employee Management

This feature is a great management tool as it allows you to easily see the hours worked by your employees. Be aware that there are apps built exclusively for managing restaurant employees so make sure this feature has all the options you need otherwise you should probably shop for a dedicated app for this task.

Best Finance Features

In addition to the smooth everyday running of your restaurant, these restaurant inventory apps can also help you fully understand the financial implications of your business.

Track Sales

The best restaurant inventory apps will integrate with your restaurant POS system to allow you to track your transactions on an everyday basis. You can observe trends, such as your most popular dishes, or the most popular times of the day and utilize this information to fine-tune your strategy.

Food Waste

As these apps collect information on both your inventory and your sales, it can subsequently calculate how much food you are wasting per day, per week, or per month. Once you have this data, you can adjust your supply in order to accurately meet your demand and avoid spending money on wasted food.

Reporting

Reporting allows you to take action based on specific KPIs. With the right KPIs, you’ll be able to set actionable goals for your staff and measure their performance precisely. It has many benefits such as allowing you to point the exact dates or products that are affected by poor performance. 

Reports should be saved in history and be exportable so you can use them in your accounting software or for presenting your results.

5 best inventory management software for restaurants

Now that you know what to look for in restaurant management software, here are a few of our top picks to make your decision a little bit easier:

RapidBar

RapidBar is our top-rated pick due to the well-rounded array of features it offers. It helps you control your costs, place orders in one click, and optimize your restaurant inventory levels. In fact, clients using the app have been able to reduce inventory time by 50 %. The app allows you to create batch recipes and complex recipes and visualize their cost as ingredients are added. It also simplifies purchasing as the orders to your suppliers are directly managed in the app, which filters out-of-stock and par level.  Here are some key features of the app:  

  • POS integration 
  • Mobile app with Bluetooth scale and scanner
  • Detailed inventory variance reports 
  • Underperforming or missing stock report 
  • Cost control features 
  • Access to data in real-time from anywhere
  • Invoicing automation 

Toast

Toast is a solid option when looking into purchasing a restaurant inventory app. Its POS features include all the basics, which you would expect from any good software. However, where toast excels is in the add-ons you can choose to include in your package. For example, it lets you easily manage loyalty programs, online ordering, and your marketing.  

 The main downside to toast is its hidden costs. Although its monthly fee is reasonable, they do sneak in high set up fees. In addition, all those extra features that set it apart cost more, making the overall price higher.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is a great pick for small restaurants on a budget. It has a low cost per terminal per month compared to other POS software. Keep in mind that it runs on an iPad, so this may be a hidden start-up cost that you need to consider.  Their easy-to-use inventory management system makes it great for first-time restaurant owners. Another great feature is the ability to factor the wholesale and retail prices of your ingredients, to give you a more accurate insight into your profits and where you can save money.

MarketMan

MarketMan is one of the only restaurant inventory systems that is not a POS system as well. This, therefore, makes it a good choice if your restaurant has already implemented a POS system that works. You should consider this in your budgeting, though, as you will be paying for this inventory software on top of your existing POS software, which could be quite expensive.  That being said, this is a good software for everything inventory-related as it has all the usual features whilst also being very responsive, providing you with reports and analytics regularly through emails and push notifications.

Loyverse

Loyverse is the best budget-friendly option. Its POS system itself is free, with the add-on inventory management features costing a fraction of the price of other similar software. Although their features aren’t as advanced, they do include all of the features you’d expect to see in any good inventory management software, such as stock tracking, menu customization, and a comprehensive cloud-based POS system.

Benefits of a restaurant inventory software

Rapidbar app detals

As is evident, the world of restaurant inventory apps and software is diverse and extensive. There are a plethora of options to choose from. If you’re still not convinced that POS software and restaurant inventory apps are right for your business, let us give you a rundown of the top benefits:

Centralization

One of the best things about investing in a restaurant inventory app is that it centralizes all the information. The data from both your POS system and inventory management can combine to give you the most accurate statistics possible. You don’t have to transfer data from one point to another, which saves you a lot of time.

Speed

Speed is integral in the restaurant industry, and inventory apps allow you to instantaneously access data. They provide you with updates and reports about stock, menu items, and pricing in real-time, allowing you to quickly update the things that need to be updated.

Efficiency

Similar to speed, efficiency is equally as integral in the restaurant industry. These apps are a real signpost of 21st-century technology and the efficiency that it breeds. They can run on ios or android from a plethora of devices, making them easy to use and understand.

Profit

The most important aspect of running a business is arguably the profit you are able to generate, and restaurant management software helps you cut down costs and optimize revenues. Not only can it calculate how much inventory you are needlessly wasting money on, but it can also help you analyze which menu items are doing well or bad and other metrics so that you can easily identify where you are losing money. It also generates reports on labor costs and food costs so that you can see exactly where your money is going and if there are any discrepancies, they will instantaneously be brought to your attention.

Overview

Restaurant inventory apps are quickly becoming an integral feature within the restaurant industry. The combination of POS software and inventory management makes it one of the most efficient ways to stay on top of your stock, profit, and employees.  It helps you stay on top of your inventory, as it provides you with instant information and reports on stock levels, vendor pricing, and food waste, therefore equipping you with all the knowledge you need to maximize profits and minimize waste. Although the market for restaurant inventory apps can appear daunting and complicated, in reality, it is just a case of finding the right technological tools for your business.