Getting overwhelmed while trying to manage hundreds of tasks is normal. Digitize what you can to focus on what’s most important – your customers and their experience.

Table of contents
  1. Best Employee Management Software
  2. Best Point of Sale Systems
  3. Best Reservation and Table Management Software 
  4. Best Payroll Software
  5. Best Inventory Management Software 
  6. Best for Online Order Management 
  7. FAQ
  8. The Bottom Line

As a former waitress, I can say that a restaurant can be one of the most hectic work environments. Because the day-to-day can be so crazy, it’s crucial to have the right people and software in place to minimize the stress. 

Restaurant management software is the essence of the restaurant’s success. Restaurateurs have to deal with everything from staff scheduling to inventory management. Doing these tasks manually can lead to many mistakes, tons of wasted time, and ultimately other tasks falling through the cracks. 

Top Picks

  • Connecteam – Best for Employee Management 
  • Toast – Best POS
  • Yelp Guest Management – Best Reservation and Table Management 
  • Gusto – Best for Payroll 
  • MarketMan – Best Inventory Management
  • UpMenu – Best Online Order Management

Best Employee Management Software

Employee management software brings your restaurant into the 21st century by streamlining all communication, so employees know where and when to be for a shift. 

Employee management software should include push notifications to notify employees when schedules are published and remind them of upcoming shifts. The software should also allow for open communication 1:1 or between set groups (employees, departments, managers, etc.). 

Possibly the most important part of employee management is time-tracking and scheduling. Having an easy-to-use scheduling feature saves managers time creating and changing schedules. Only allowing employees to clock in and out from a set location using geo-tracking ensures there’s no time theft

Using an app where employees can clock in and out and then be able to do payroll directly through the app also saves so much time and eliminates human error. 

app showing restaurant management solutions shift tasks time clock and dashboard

Connecteam is an all-in-one employee management software where employers can quickly schedule employees. You can create a checklist of tasks for each employee within each shift so everyone knows their responsibilities. 

Employees can input their availability, and Connecteam will notify you of any conflicts before publishing the schedule to avoid last-minute shift changes. Enable geo-tracking to ensure employees are only clocking in from the restaurant to prevent time theft.

Use Connecteam’s course feature to streamline onboarding and training. Upload documents to the knowledge base so employees have quick access to recipes, specials, and any other needed information.

Key Features 

  • Easy scheduling and task management 

  • Time-clock using geo-fencing 

  • Export timesheets for seamless payroll

 Pros and Cons

  • All-in-one app

  • Intuitive to use

  • Integrated time clock and staff scheduling

  • In-app training & knowledge management

  • Unlimited free plan only for up to 10 users

Price

  • Starting at $29/month, billed yearly, for up to 30 employees

  • Free-for-life plan: For up to 10 users, without limitations

  • Free trial: Yes

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restaurant management software drag and drop scheduling

VeriClock’s employee management software offers open communication between employers and employees to discuss time tracking disputes. You can choose to have both employers and employees sign off on weekly time cards to ensure accuracy and compliance with labor laws. 

Employers can export timesheets to Quickbooks, Sage Accounting, or Peachtree to make payroll easier. Vericlock can be customized to add in mileage tracking and safety checks in addition to the time clock feature.  

Key Features

  • Clock in from the app, desktop, by sending an SMS or making a phone call 

  • Automatic clocking out to avoid time theft 

  • Require employee signatures on weekly timesheets

Pros and Cons

  • iOS and Android compatible 

  • Integrations with Sage 50 and Quickbooks 

  • Expensive for med-large restaurants and chains 

Price

  • $10 baseline for the account plus $5/user per month

  • Free-for-life plan: No 

  • Free trial: Yes

restaurant management app and desktop version for employee scheduling

Offering workforce scheduling and shift-based tasks, 7Shifts was created for restaurants. Communication features are user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy to notify all employees of any scheduling changes. 

From an employer’s perspective, the app is simple to use, creating a schedule is easy and communicating with employees is straightforward. From an employee perspective, receiving notifications when schedules are published makes it clear where and when their shifts begin.    

Key Features

  • Ensure labor compliance with up to date regulations 

  • Templates for quick scheduling 

  • Drag and drop scheduler 

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use

  • Push notifications to remind employees of upcoming shifts

  • Cannot view different department schedules, so if you are scheduled in a different department than you are registered under, you won’t be notified of upcoming shifts

Price

  • Starting at $34.99/month per location for up to 30 employees 

  • Free-for-life plan: Yes 

  • Free trial: Yes

Best Point of Sale Systems

The ability to quickly process customer payments is not a luxury but a necessity in the 21st century. The restaurant management POS system needs to be able to process credit cards and keep track of cash in and out throughout the day. 

A convenient POS system would include the main portal and portable kiosks to offer customers payment directly from their tables.  

It’s also crucial that the system can process payments offline so as not to interrupt the flow of the restaurant. 

You need the restaurant system to keep track of sales metrics, create reports, and it needs to be easy to use. A system that can be learned in a day or less is ideal for the fast-paced restaurant industry. 

POS software setup for restaurant management two mobile kiosks and cash register

Toast is known for its feature-rich POS system because it can split items and customer bills and send notifications when an order is completed.

The POS restaurant management software is used on Android-based tablets meaning servers can send orders straight to the kitchen and collect payment tableside. This simple-to-use system increases table turnover, and Toast even claims to have increased annual server gratuity by $7,000. 

You should be aware, however, that there is a minimum of a one-year commitment to the software. 

Key Features

  • Guest feedback management 

  • Intuitive loyalty program 

  • Spill-proof hardware

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use 

  • Highly customizable plans 

  • Runs only on Android 

Price

  • Starting at $165/month + 1.8% and $0.15 per transaction

  • Free-for-life plan: Yes 

  • Free trial: Yes 

POS tablet software showing meal options for ordering and payment

Revels POS system was created with restaurants and bars in mind. Along with the POS restaurant management software Revel provides, there are numerous hardware options available. From iPads to cash drawers to printers, Revel offers a wide variety of hardware choices to fit your business needs. 

When your system goes offline, everything comes to a halt, including credit card payments. Revel provides an always-on mode to keep your restaurant running even when the internet connection isn’t active. Payments can be made offline, and as soon as the system is back online, the payments are processed. 

Key Features

  • Flexible payment options 

  • Always-on feature to queue payments in case the system goes offline 

  • In-depth reporting and analytics 

Pros and Cons

  • High level of security 

  • Simple to operate 

  • Price is based on a three-year contract 

Price

  • Starting at $99/month per terminal (minimum of 2 terminals required)

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No

world with desktop, laptop, phone and tablet showing the internet payments going through

With credit card payments, in-depth reporting, fraud protection, and customer support, PayCafe has many of the desired features of a POS system. In addition to credit card payments, PayCafe also offers PayPal, eChecks, and Bitcoin. At the time of writing this, PayCafe does not have a cash tracking option. 

Use PayCafe’s advanced reporting features to give you a complete overview of your restaurant and better understand customer trends. Whether you need real-time updates or a better understanding of meals sold to make better business decisions, PayCafe probably has a relevant report. 

Key Features

  • In-depth reporting 

  • Fraud protection

  • Multiple payment options 

Pros and Cons

  • Easy setup

  • 24/7 support 

  • No cash tracking 

Price

  • 2.49% of each transaction made 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No

Best Reservation and Table Management Software 

The key to happy customers is good service, and that starts from the moment they make a reservation. Customers want hassle-free reservations, sometimes over the phone but generally online. 

A good reservation management software includes an easy-to-use interface for customers, SMS or push notifications to remind customers of their reservations, and the ability to store and manage customer information for future bookings. 

Once the customers walk through the door, they want speedy and attentive service. They want an accurate prediction of the waiting time so they can begin enjoying their night out. 

Table restaurant management software needs to be intuitive and easy to use for employees so they can provide customers with the most accurate information and best service possible.

restaurant management app making a reservation and showing wait times.

Yelp Guest Manager has many front-of-house management tools as well as customer-facing tools for guests. Hosts can communicate with waiting guests through the app, they can send notifications to remind guests of reservations, and they can create a custom floor plan to make seating guests quick and easy. 

Guests can check in through a kiosk at the restaurant or through their mobile phones. They can add themselves to a waitlist if they forget to make a reservation and get notification updates with accurate wait times. 

Key Features

  • Accurately predict wait times

  • Kiosk check-in 

  • Daily insights to track key metrics 

Pros and Cons

  • Access to popular dining network for marketing 

  • Kiosks can be changed into the customer’s preferred language

  • A few bad reviews can severely damage a restaurant 

Price

  • Starting at $249/month 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

restaurant management app table management on phone, tablet, desktop, and kiosk

Give every guest the VIP treatment when you remember their past orders, spending history, birthdays, and more using Eat App. You can build a guest database to market directly to relevant customers, send surveys to certain guests and even customize messaging to keep in touch with valued customers. 

Hosts can use a phone, tablet, or computer to input guest reservations or add walk-ins to the waitlist. Guests, as well as hosts, will have an easy time using the restaurant management software. If there are no reservations available at the time a guest picks, the app will automatically suggest an alternate time. There is also the option to give discounts based on the time of the reservation to amp up reservations during non-peak hours.  

Key Features

  • Keep customer info for future reservations 

  • Create deals outside of peak hours to draw business all-day

  • Integrations with Google and TripAdvisor 

Pros and Cons

  • No need to purchase hardware

  • Easy online reservations and waitlist 

  • Basic plan is extremely limited 

Price

  • Starting at $169/month 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

table management software restaurant management app table chart

Resy is a reservation platform known for its customizable features that allow restaurateurs to personalize all aspects of the reservation process. Personalize reservation confirmation text messages to fit with the vibe of your restaurant. 

Customers can book reservations through multiple online platforms and even receive an SMS to notify them when their table is ready. If a guest forgot to make a reservation, they can join the waitlist and receive an SMS when a table opens up.

Key Features

  • Area reservation

  • Customer notifications

  • Server rotation 

Pros and Cons

  • Third-party integrations for marketing 

  • Seat optimization to not overwhelm servers

  • Tricky to learn due to the extensive features 

Price

  • Starting at $249/month

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No

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Best Payroll Software

Payroll management software is needed to decrease human error and ensure employees are paid accurately and on time. Automated payroll saves the owners time and money every day. 

Payroll management software needs to calculate employee salaries and create digital pay stubs and payroll reports. It should also automatically calculate and deduct taxes to make tax filing more manageable at the end of the year. 

Employees appreciate direct deposit to save them the hassle of depositing checks. They also want to access the portal themselves to be able to check their monthly salaries and manage their benefits. 

employee management software for payroll on a desktop

Gusto has many features needed to automate payroll and is reasonably priced. Gusto takes care of direct deposit with just a 2-day turnaround. 

Using Gusto, employees can use the cashout function, where they can take out a portion of their salary before payday. You don’t need to track these advances since Gusto automatically deducts them from the employee’s salary. 

Payroll with Gusto includes automatic salary adjustments, including health benefits, workers comp, and child support wage garnishment. You can manually enter daily cash tips to ensure your waitstaff are correctly taxed. Gusto will automatically create and file W-2s and 1099s for every employee, saving you even more time. 

Key Features

  • Employees can access the portal to see their pay stubs and W-2s

  • FICA tip reporting

  • Automated payments with tax deductions 

Pros and Cons

  • Two-day direct deposit 

  • Many third-party integrations

  • Limited reporting features

Price

  • Starting at $39/month + $6/month/person 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes 

employee management software hours and pay rate

Patriot Payroll service is a straightforward payroll software, with features ranging from direct deposit to employee portal access. They offer free personalized set-up, saving you lots of time and frustration getting the software exactly how you’d like. 

Patriot Payroll has a tax guarantee where they promise accuracy of federal, state, and local tax filings. They are so confident that they guarantee to cover any penalties and interest resulting from a tax filing mistake. 

Key Features

  • Tax deductions  

  • Encrypted data 

  • Export as PDF or CSV files 

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to set up

  • Good customer service

  • 4-day payroll lead time      

Price

  • Starting at $10/month + $4/employee 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

employee management payroll software

ADP Run offers strong reporting features and compliance tools to notify you of payroll errors. You can pay your employees through direct deposit or paychecks. ADP Run will even deliver sealed envelopes of paychecks to your office for you to distribute among your employees. 

One of ADPs biggest drawbacks is their unclear pricing, if you manage to move past that and get a quote for your restaurant you’ll see that there are four payroll plans. With both plans you get automatic payroll tax deduction, however, tax filings are an additional fee. 

ADP is marketed towards growing businesses with customizable options but because of ADPs mystery pricing, we assume it’s one of the higher-priced options, making it only realistic for larger businesses. 

Key Features

  • Third-party integrations

  • Tax payments and filing

  • FICA tip reporting 

Pros and Cons

  • Flexible plans to pay only for what you need

  • Up to date compliance even when laws change

  • Difficult to get an accurate price quote 

Price

  • Must contact for pricing 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

Best Inventory Management Software 

There’s nothing worse than wasting money on expired food. Food waste is a problem when you don’t know what you have in stock. Inventory management software keeps you posted about what you’re running low on or what you have too much of, which helps you know what to have servers pushing and can help you plan your next order. 

A great restaurant inventory management software should be automated and create accurate reports of what is selling and what isn’t. Automated inventory management saves you time from doing regular inventory checks and reduces the human error associated with manual checking. 

Within the reporting feature, the restaurant management software ideally will include the pricing of each meal to understand how much profit per order you’re making to inform you if you need to raise your prices or not. 

inventory management software showing suppliers delivery progress

MarketMan keeps things simple with low-stock alerts, vendor management, and the ability to send purchase orders straight from the app. 

The food cost threshold keeps track of all ingredients in a meal and notifies you if the prices of a meal goes up so you can adjust your prices if needed, keeping your profits in mind. 

Your inventory quantities are updated in real-time to ensure the most up-to-date information. You can also get reports on which items are selling and which aren’t, and track waste and theft. 

Key Features

  • Food cost threshold to notify you of changes in food prices 

  • Cookbook so staff can see ingredients and recipes 

  • In-depth inventory reports 

Pros and Cons

  • Easy repeat ordering

  • Easy to learn and use 

  • Invoices must be entered manually – not a fully electronic database

Price

  • Starting at $149/month per location + $200 set-up fee

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No 

inventory management software showing top menu items and categories

TouchBistro notifies servers when quantities are running low, eliminating the dreaded “sorry, but we ran out of that, can I get you something else instead?” They also offer recipe logging to record the cost and quantity of ingredients needed per recipe. Once a meal is ordered the app tracks what and how much of each ingredient is used per serving. 

You can use their suggested ordering feature to reorder popular items, saving you time thinking of what you need before your next order.  

One potential downfall of TouchBistro is that you must use their POS system, which might work out for your restaurant, but you can’t integrate their inventory tracking with a different POS system. 

Key Features

  • Recipe logging 

  • Stock reports

  • Push notifications

Pros and Cons

  • Easily track waste and theft

  • Offline mode

  • Only works with iOS 

Price

  • Starting at $169/month for a single license

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No 

inventory management software showing prices and amounts of inventory

Upserve is great for small and medium-sized businesses looking to track their inventory and manage ordering. 

Upserve has many of the needed features for automated ordering. There are detailed inventory reports to make sure you stay up to date with your stock and you can reorder from vendors with just one click. You can even set up automatic orders when stock is running low. 

Notifications are color-coded so you can easily see when an order has been submitted, received by a vendor, delivered, and completed. 

Along with Upserve’s comprehensive reporting, it’s easy to set up and offer 24/7 customer support.

Key Features

  • One-click ordering 

  • Get notified when suppliers receive your orders 

  • Calculate margins by tracking each ingredient and price fluctuations

Pros and Cons

  • Easily scan inventory with in-app barcode

  • Automatic low-inventory notifications

  • Must use their in-house POS system

Price

  • Starting at $59/month + $60 per terminal 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: No 

Best for Online Order Management 

Since Covid hit, more and more people are ordering in. Over 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week, making it an important part of any restaurant. 

A good online ordering management system has an easy-to-use interface for customers and a loyalty program to keep the customers coming back. 

Of course, the restaurant needs to be able to integrate payments through the online order restaurant management software and fully customize the menu to fit the restaurant’s needs. 

Low fees are also critical in deciding who to partner with as many third-party apps take 20-30% cutting into restaurant margins. 

Marketing is also important when deciding which online order management software to use to be sure the restaurant gets exposure to the most relevant customers. 

ordering management software showing mobile and desktop version

UpMenu is an online ordering restaurant management software that gives customers the ability to order directly from UpMenu’s website. Restaurants can draw their delivery area on a map, enter a customized menu, and choose accepted payment methods. 

UpMenu has a loyalty program that uses the concept of stamp cards to draw customers back time and time again. 

Restaurants can build their page on UpMenu’s website using free templates or from scratch. To help marketing efforts, each restaurant can create a customer database and send out promotional emails, SMSs, and push notifications promoting discounts and other campaigns. 

Key Features

  • Customize the delivery zone using a map

  • Menu management for accurate ordering 

  • Send coupons to new customers 

Pros and Cons

  • Mobile-friendly interface for customers ordering 

  • Loyalty program using stamp cards and points

  • Limited third-party integrations 

Price

  • Starting at $49/month per location

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

phone and laptop restaurant management software for ordering showing the restaurants menu and specials

Menufy gives restaurants a custom URL with design support from an in-house team. Menufy offers marketing tools making it a good way to reach a customer base that might not be exposed to your restaurant otherwise. Menufy sends out two marketing emails a month and offers additional marketing tools at an added cost. 

In the case that your restaurant doesn’t have a strong internet connection, don’t worry because you can receive orders via phone, SMS, fax, email, or the dashboard, so you’ll always know when you have an order to prepare. It’s important to note that there is no driver management capabilities for in-house drivers, but if most of your orders are for pick-up it won’t be an issue. 

Key Features

  • No internet connection is needed for order alerts

  • HungerRush 360 Menufy Marketing

  • Print marketing

Pros and Cons

  • Low payment processing rates

  • 24/7 support in multiple languages

  • Third-party delivery costs 12.5% per-order

Price

  • Starting at 2.5% + $.30 per order 

  • Free-for-life plan: No 

  • Free trial: No

restaurant management software ordering app, website and tablet

MenuDrive has a desktop and app option to make it easy for restaurants and customers alike. They use SEO (search engine optimization) to drive traffic to the restaurant websites, creating tangible value for each restaurant’s bottom line. They analyze which menu options should be promoted and what ideal prices should be set at to stay competitive and still make profits. 

You can create custom menus with photos to give the best user experience. MenuDrive will customize your restaurant’s page to fit your branding. In another effort to help market your restaurant, automated email campaigns are sent out to lock down your customer base. 

They also have a loyalty program with a coupon library where specialized discounts and specials are offered to returning customers. 

Key Features

  • Informs restaurants of comparable dishes to keep competitive pricing 

  • Loyalty rewards program 

  • Menu builder to ensure the menu stays true to the restaurant 

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use interface 

  • Marketing rich features

  • Expensive  

Price

  • $149/month + $149 one time setup fee + 3%+20cents per transaction 

  • Free-for-life plan: No

  • Free trial: Yes

FAQ

What software is needed to run a restaurant?

  • Employee management software 
  • Point of sale system
  • Reservation and table management software
  • Food Costing and inventory management software
  • Restaurant accounting and payroll software
  • Online ordering software

What is restaurant management software?

Restaurant management software helps you run transactions, manage inventory accurately, digitize meal ordering, and generally run everyday processes more efficiently.

How do I manage a restaurant remotely?

You will need to digitize processes to be able to log in from offsite. Look for technology that uses a portal login, so you only need a computer and internet to access your restaurant’s data.

What is a cloud POS system?

A cloud POS is a web-based point-of-sale system that lets you process payments using just the internet.

The Bottom Line

You now know why you desperately need to digitize as many tasks as possible to run your restaurant more efficiently. The less time it takes you to do these mundane tasks, the more time you have to focus on customers. 

Update your employee management system to a useful app that includes a payroll feature. 

Keep a digital inventory list that automatically updates. Use POS restaurant management software that tracks each payment made throughout the day. Come into the 21st century by making online orders and reservations easy for customers.

Anything you can do to simplify your employees’ lives will ultimately simplify your life. These changes won’t only benefit your employees, but the customers will feel the vibe of the staff as well. A staff that works together gives better customer service and a better experience to everyone that walks through your doors. 

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