Getting started in the restaurant industry can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Plenty of free restaurant management systems are designed to help restaurants, both big and small, streamline their operations, staff, and customer experience.
If you want to find software that suits your business needs, we’ve got you covered. Our list will help you find a management solution. Whether you want to test the waters before buying premium software or wish to keep to a budget, it helps to know what free apps can do for your business.
14 Free Restaurant Management Software Apps to Try in 2022
Slack is a free communication platform for businesses of any size. It allows you to create public and private channels to communicate with your team members on a mobile or desktop app.
While Slack has been designed primarily as an instant, internal messaging system, each person on your team can customize the notifications they receive by channel. This way, they’ll only receive the messages meant for them and won’t be disturbed by any other messaging activity.
With Slack, your team can also share documents and images, and react to messages. Plus, there is one-on-one voice and video call functionality should you need to speak to a team member in person.
The app integrates with your restaurant’s existing software, including HR, scheduling, finance, and marketing systems. That said, you’re limited to ten integrations and can search up to 10,000 stored messages before they’re archived from view on the free version.
- Unlimited number of people in your workspace
- Unlimited messaging
- Message history limited to 10,000 messages
- Up to 10 integrations
- Voice or video call functionality
Flock is another free communication app that can help connect your team. Flock’s free platform allows up to 20 team members to join with a single team administrator.
Users can send unlimited messages to one of the ten public group channels or their co-workers. While there is no private channel functionality, the team can use one-on-one video calling to contact other team members.
Like Slack, it’s possible to search the last 10,000 messages to recover information. There’s also 5 GB of storage per team so you can share and store important documents for later reference.
- Unlimited private and group messages
- Ten public channels
- 5GB storage
- Voice and video calls
Event Management Software
Perfect Venue’s free plan is the perfect event management tool if you’re just getting started with hosting events. Expect all the essential features a restaurant, catering business, brewery, or event venue, might need to streamline the experience for private dining groups or events.
Notably, you get unlimited integrations with all your restaurant and event software, including OpenTable, Tock, and BentoBox, to name a few. Plus, you can access critical features such as free BEOs, proposals, payment processing, and a CRM.
Perfect Venue also understands it’s all hands on deck when organizing events. Therefore, you can add unlimited team members to your account at no additional cost.
- Essential features (CRM, BEOs, proposals, payments)
- Unlimited integrations
- No charge for additional users
The Ticketleap platform allows you to create restaurant events and sell tickets online for free. If you’re hosting a free event, Ticketleap won't charge any fees. While paid events have a processing fee, it’s possible to pass this on to your customers, allowing you to use the software at zero cost.
What does that mean for your customers? They will be charged a flat fee of $0.25 per ticket if it costs under $5.00. If the ticket costs more, the price is $1.00, plus 2% on every ticket you sell.
Some of the other important features that TicketLeap offers include guest check-in, marketing tools, and fast payments for an easy event management experience.
- No contracts
- Free events are free
- Tiered fees to match ticket price
- Pass fees to buyers
Social Tables offers free event seating software, guest check-in software, and a pocket planner app to event planners and venues.
As a restaurant management solution, the free planning tools allow you to stay on top of floor plans and event diagramming to deliver quality service and set up to your guests. Create your own PDF floorplans or pick from over 5,000 pre-loaded venue plans, customize the details, and convert them to 3D for a real-view run-through.
Social Tables’ free plan offers users an account that can manage one event at a time. You can also use the software for customer management for up to 150 guests.
- Event diagramming (and 3D diagramming)
- Map event seating
- One active event
POS (Point Of Sales) Systems
Toast is ideal if you want a starter POS system that enables table and order management. The app allows you to manage your menu and take payments to give your guests an enjoyable dining experience.
A free plan on this restaurant management software includes reporting and analytics to easily monitor your payments and transactions. You also get real-time fraud monitoring to ensure your business is protected.
While Toast’s software and hardware configuration for one POS terminal is completely free, you do have to pay a small fee per transaction. But, you won’t have to pay any fees upfront. Transactions are charged at 2.99%, plus a $0.15 processing fee.
You can pay extra on the free plan to set up one more terminal, access online ordering, take out, and delivery services, as well as get their guest engagement tools.
- Reporting and analytics
- Menu management
- Real-time fraud monitoring
- Hardware configuration for one terminal
Square Point Of Sale
Square Point Of Sale’s free POS software includes a free reader to use in your restaurant. There’s no monthly subscription fee, but you’ll pay a processing fee of 2.6%, plus $0.10 per transaction you take in.
Other complimentary features include basic POS functionality for an unlimited number of restaurant employees. There are no contracts or fees related to set up, refunds, PCI compliance, authorizations, or statements. You only pay per transaction when you use the system.
- Free reader
- Flat processing rate for all major cards
If you’re looking for a free POS system with basic order-taking functionality, IncoPOS is a great choice. This POS system gives you unlimited users in any number of locations. There are handy document transformation features as well as 40 built-in reports for better overall restaurant management.
One of the app’s selling points is reduced order processing time with fewer errors. Waiters can take and enter orders at the table using the IncoPOS app, which sends the orders to the printers and kitchen displays in real-time. The kitchen module also shows a queue of all orders at any given time so that chefs can keep an eye on the workload.
- Basic operations
- Unlimited users
- Unlimited locations
- 40+ built-in reports for tracking operations and sales
7Shifts is restaurant employee scheduling software that optimizes labor management. On the Comp plan, you can manage scheduling and time clocking for up to 30 employees in a single location.
Both employees and the restaurant management team can access the platform. It covers hiring and applicant tracking tasks, shift alerts, availability, and requests for time off. Communication can take place in the platform, too, through the team chat and announcements features.
Importantly, there’s a built-in time clock and time sheets to track hours worked. Management can then use a reporting feature to keep an eye on employee engagement by monitoring sick days, late and no-shows, and shift feedback. Read more about this platform in our 7Shifts review.
- Up to 30 employees
- Employee scheduling
- Time clock and time sheets
- Hiring and applicant tracking
- Employee engagement tracking
Homebase has free restaurant management software that helps growing businesses coordinate complex work schedules for the hourly workforce. Although you can manage an unlimited number of employees on the platform, the free plan is limited to one location.
Free features of this restaurant management app include time tracking, scheduling and availability, built-in messaging, and employee engagement. There are also POS and payroll integrations to get you started.
Like 7Shifts, hiring teams can track job applicants. In addition, they can create job posts and screen applications from one dashboard.
- Unlimited employees in one location
- Scheduling and availability
- Messaging functionality
- Hiring features
While 7Shifts and Homebase are specifically designed for the restaurant industry, Connecteam is designed to manage deskless employees. It’s not to its detriment, though, as the platform does come with some useful free features.
Compared to the other two scheduling apps, you can use Connecteam to track time for 50 users at up to five locations. That said, you only get a single time clock, so data for the locations is integrated.
At its core, Connectteam’s basic features revolve around the employee time clock. Managers can schedule jobs and monitor employee clock-in and out times, breaks, and job switches in real-time.
Besides that, a built-in template library acts as a space where everyone can access forms, handbooks, and checklists relating to the restaurant business.
- Real-time clocking
- Job scheduling
- Template library
Table Management/Reservation Software
TablesReady (Waitlist App)
TablesReady simplifies how restaurants and other venues manage waitlisted guests. The platform creates a digital waitlist for your restaurant and can send your diner base up to 150 message notifications per month.
While you have a dashboard to work from, there’s no need for diners to download any apps. They can enter their details on your website, view your waitlist, and receive customized SMS notifications when their table or food order is ready.
- 150 messages per month
- Organized digital waitlist
- Customizable notifications
- Estimated wait times
Eat (Reservation App)
Eat is restaurant management software that focuses on table management and reservations. The free plan has a cover limit of up to 50 guests and comes with basic floor plan, guest engagement, and reservations features.
Looking at these more closely, the app is big on booking widgets. You can embed one on your website, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Once booked, your guests will receive email notifications about their reservations.
The floor plan editor helps you manage capacity and turn tables more efficiently, making for a better guest dining experience. Adding to the guest experience are features to add guest profiles and send out post-dining surveys.
- 50 cover limit
- Activate online bookings
- Table management
- Guest engagement tools
OpenTable (Notable Mention)
While OpenTable doesn’t offer a free version of its software, it’s a budget-friendly solution with many fantastic features. At only $39 per month for the basic plan, restaurants of any size can benefit from its table reservations and restaurant management system.
Being a marketplace with access to a global database of diners, the platform is a great place to gather reviews. Potential diners search the app for suitable places to eat, reading reviews while they’re at it. They also use the app to make reservations once they’ve pinpointed where they want to go.
Besides the table reservation features, OpenTable offers various restaurant management tools. You can use these for optimizing reservations, creating diner profiles, reputation management, marketing, and business analytics.
- Guest database, tags, and notes
- Custom profile and restaurant listing on a global marketplace
- Marketing tools
If you’re looking for a free restaurant management software system to streamline your venue, our list has everything you need. We've covered our top picks, from communication platforms to reservations and waitlist apps, to help you take your business to new heights.