19 Must-Have Apps for Restaurant Owners
Restaurant management presents many challenges, from operational efficiency to guest satisfaction. Keeping up with your responsibilities is no small task, so staying up-to-date on the latest apps simplifies your job. While restaurant owners are always on the go, many useful tools are found right on your smartphone. Here are some of the best apps for restaurant owners to make life running your business a little easier.
We all need a little help sometimes. With the following apps for restaurant owners, you can perform many of your logistical tasks through your smart device. Below are a few of our favorites.
This app allows you to manage employee schedules and labor costs. You can drag and drop employees into shifts based on their availability and shift requirements. Employees receive instant notifications about their shifts, and you can approve or decline employee requests with a click of a button. The labor cost savings calculator helps you make important scheduling decisions. Also, 7shifts can integrate with your POS.
A one-stop-shop HR portal, Zenefits, can be utilized by managers/owners, as well as your employees. You can access requested time off, benefits information, review paycheck stubs, and more.
This cloud-based accounting solution allows you to manage your books away from your computer. Through FreshBooks, you can create invoices, accept online payments, record payments, track your expenses, and more.
Another component of restaurant administration is inventory management. Keeping track of your stock is integral to protecting your bottom line, so let’s look at a few apps for restaurant owners designed to help.
Orderly helps you with invoicing, accounting, and inventory all in one management app. Snap a picture of your invoices to help you avoid double payments, lost invoices, etc. You can easily export spend reports from the app to your accounting software. You can also follow price trends, monitor food spending and supplier pricing with the inventory management feature.
BlueCart is a web and mobile platform that lets you order all of your inventory from all your suppliers with one click. You can manage your inventory, check-in items when they arrive, return extra or damaged products, and more. This app is said to reduce food waste by 50 percent.
Bar Inventory Management
Alcohol sales can bring a restaurant between 20-25% of its revenue, with the potential or more. Liquor shrinkage — the loss due to theft or overpours on serves — can be incredibly costly. Fortunately, apps like Bevspot and Partender provide you with the tools to keep track of your stock.
Social Media Apps
With 4.57 billion users online, social media is critical for restaurants in connecting with their future guests. Around 72% of everyone on the internet uses some form of social media. Through social media, you can build brand awareness, promote specials, and develop a community around your business. Let’s look at a few apps for restaurant owners that you can use to put social media to work for you.
Social Media Scheduling Apps
The following apps allow you to manage your social media accounts from one place. Through either Hootsuite, Sprout, or Buffer, you can schedule posts, monitor trending topics, review analytics, run contests and campaigns, assign permission levels to employees (administrator, editor, etc.), and assign tasks and assignments. Plan costs vary per service and tier, so shop to find the option and interface that work best for you.
Great food photography can help drive sales by up to 30%. Fortunately, Instagram has built-in features to enhance your pictures, which is useful if you aren’t a professional. If you don’t use Instagram or are looking for more options to entice hunger, Snapseed has the filters you need to make up your food photography game.
While social media is an integral part of a successful marketing strategy, email marketing is still a powerful tool to get the word out. A marketing automation platform, Mailchimp, lets you build email campaigns to send to your customers. You can easily build a template that matches your restaurant brand identity and access analytics to see how your emails perform. Remember, you can use emails to build into an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Below is a list of utility apps, the kind of applications that will benefit any entrepreneur. While these tools are useful to everyone, they’re potent apps for restaurant owners who have multiple locations and staff to manage. Likewise, these are the general utilities that will help make these responsibilities a little easier.
Restaurant task management is an ongoing effort that requires time to do right. Use Evernote to keep all your notes in one place. You can add notes that are audio recordings, attachments, tables, links, and checklists. There is a team account available that allows collaboration. The basic plan is free and is an asset to managers on the move.
With so much news shared every second of every hour, information overload has become a real problem and one that can affect your productivity. If you want to stay up-to-date on industry trends and updates specific to your restaurant or segment, try the Feedly app. You can choose publications, blogs, set up keyword alerts, etc. for content you’re interested in. The app has a minimalist design, making content easy to read.
Everyone’s a Critic
Bad reviews aren’t fun, but they can provide valuable insights. You can turn negative reviews into part of your marketing strategy by learning from your mistakes and building on them. Let’s look at a few apps for restaurant owners to help you stay ahead of the critics.
Monitor all your restaurant reviews from one place with the ReviewTrackers app. This app pulls reviews from websites like Google, Tripadvisor, Facebook, Fourspace, etc., collecting them all in one handy place.
Criticism isn’t always something you might want, but it can help you understand what your guests think about you. If you aren’t willing to leap to Review Trackers, Yelp offers a free and easy way to get insight into what your customers like and dislike.
The Drink Menu
Now that you know what people think of your restaurant, you can work on the menu. Because we know that alcohol sales are important in today’s market, you can use the Taphunter app to see what’s on tap nearby and Untappd to determine what people might like the most. Since alcohol delivery is legalized in many places around the U.S., knowing what people want can help you stock accordingly.
Fostering customer loyalty programs are a great way to generate consistent sales and an interested community around your brand. There are many ways to start your own customer loyalty program, but Incentivio is designed to streamline that process. Among its many functions, the Incentivio app allows users to receive points for purchases that can add to redeemable rewards later on.
More Apps for Restaurant Owners?
Working smarter and more connected is imperative to operational success. If you have the right KDS or restaurant management system, there are even more tools to help you manage your operations remotely. Are these apps for restaurant owners right for you? Let us know if we missed anything or if you hear of any fresh apps on the menu in the comments section below.
Note: This article was originally published on August 29, 2017 by Emily Wimpsett. We updated it on November 11, 2020 to keep it as contemporary as possible.
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About the Author
Syd was a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot. At home, like the rest of the world right now, he’s finding time to play with the kids and create art.