The kitchen is the engine of your restaurant. Your operations revolve around this space, so it must function at its best. The right kitchen management software can help you achieve this.
Kitchen management software can encompass a wide range of functions and tools. The main idea is that it offers a single system to improve any kind of food service operation. These systems let restaurants work smarter, more efficiently, and more profitably.
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about kitchen management systems and how to choose the best one for your restaurant.
What is Restaurant Kitchen Management Software?
Kitchen management software refers to tech systems designed to optimize all areas of restaurant kitchen operations. Think about the different tasks a busy restaurant kitchen deals with, such as:
- Managing orders
- Creating menus
- Managing inventory
- Scheduling staff
- Ordering stock
- Monitoring food costs
- Understanding kitchen performance
A good kitchen management system offers tools that integrate all of this information and use it to streamline kitchen operations.
While different restaurant management software tools have unique features, the general purpose of these systems is to provide greater control over kitchen environments. They provide accurate information related to the kitchen’s performance, and they offer meaningful insights to kitchen staff and managers.
Ultimately, using the best kitchen management software will help your restaurant function more smoothly. Even the busiest rush can be organized with great software.
This will help you manage and improve all areas of your kitchen operations. You can help reduce food waste, speed up busy services, manage staff more efficiently, and boost your restaurant's profits.
Key Features of Kitchen Management Software
There are a few essential features that a good kitchen management system should include. When looking for the right software solution for your restaurant, be sure to look out for these functions.
Track Food Orders
This is one of the key functions of any kitchen management system. Kitchens are busy places, and you need to keep track of every food order that passes through. With the right software solution, managing orders becomes a lot easier.
Kitchen software should provide clear insights into all incoming orders. This is connected to the restaurant POS system. Having a smooth ordering system in place is essential for good restaurant operations.
Kitchen software should also offer insights into order history and sales data. This is necessary for understanding the performance of each shift and monitoring things like food waste, food costs, and productivity.
Kitchen management systems should provide detailed insights into inventory management. This is tied to order history to help you understand how many food items you’ve sold in a day. You can compare this to your actual inventory count.
The best systems will offer automated inventory calculations and remind you when your inventory is running low. This helps restaurants easily monitor inventory and avoid running out of stock.
Order Preparation Information
Organizing your incoming orders during a busy shift can be a tricky task. If done manually, this can be time-consuming and inefficient.
Kitchen management systems can automate the entire process. These solutions can display incoming orders from different sources, and prioritize them accordingly. This results in more efficient back-of-house operations and workflows.
Reporting and Analytics for Performance Analysis
A good kitchen management system collects up-to-date data on your kitchen operations. This means restaurant managers can easily gain insights into how their restaurant is performing. This information is important for identifying trends, understanding profit margins, monitoring employee productivity, lowering food costs, and keeping customers happy.
The right restaurant technology can make menu planning a whole lot more efficient. Restaurant owners can use these systems to understand how certain menu items are performing over time, which menu items are most popular, and what dishes should be replaced.
You can also enter any new recipes into the system, and the recipe management features will display what inventory the restaurant has to support the new menu item. This information makes it easy to plan for new menus, order the right stock for them, and integrate them into your current operations more strategically.
Managing staff spread out between the front-of-house and back-of-house can be a significant challenge for any restaurant. Having a good kitchen management system in place makes it a lot easier to gain insights into employees and manage them as efficiently as possible.
These systems should make it easier to schedule employees for the right shifts, accurately track employee work hours, and keep an eye on kitchen labor costs.
How to Choose a Kitchen Management Software
There’s a lot to consider when choosing restaurant management software and it’s important to choose a system that best matches your restaurant’s needs. Here are a few essential considerations to make when choosing a system.
Does it Fit Into Your Existing Operations?
Your kitchen management system will need to work with your POS systems, your online ordering software, and any hardware you use for displaying orders or sending order tickets through to the kitchen. You might also run restaurant chains with multiple locations. If this is the case, make sure the system fits into your current operations and will work with each restaurant.
What Integrations are Available?
When choosing restaurant technology, consider any third-party apps or other systems your restaurant uses (like accounting software). Try to choose a solution that offers seamless software integrations with these systems.
Is it Easy to Use?
The system should be convenient and easy to use. Try to choose a system with a simple, single dashboard that displays user-friendly information. Ideally, this should be cloud-based for greater convenience.
What Support is Available?
Understand what support is available for setting up and using the system. Ideally, you want on-demand, 24/7 support in case you run into any issues during a busy service.
Top 5 Platform Reviews
If you want to improve efficiency in your food service operations, then the right kitchen management software is important. Here are some of the best platforms available right now.
Craftable is a powerful restaurant management system that incorporates tools for inventory and procurement, accounting, and business intelligence. The platform includes a kitchen management system called Foodager to improve kitchen performance.
This tool can help kitchens improve their purchasing, automate kitchen accounting, cost recipes, and gain accurate insights into kitchen profitability.
- Recipe costing
- Automated kitchen accounting
- Paperless purchasing flow
- Invoice processing
xtraCHEF is a kitchen management system that offers a useful range of financial and operational tools to improve your restaurant’s performance. The software makes it easy to gain real-time insights into your restaurant operations, monitor price fluctuations, reduce food waste, and run your kitchen smarter.
All kinds of restaurant business models can use xtraCHEF to gain meaningful insights into their operations. The platform’s alerts and financial reporting tools are particularly impressive.
- Food cost management
- Detailed kitchen reports
- Inventory management
- Recipe management
Restaurant 365 provides a powerful software solution to bring together all your kitchen’s back-office tasks. This includes solutions for accounting, store operations, and workforce management.
Restaurant owners can use Restaurant 365 to gain deeper insights into their kitchen performance and bring together all operating systems into a single software solution. You can integrate this software with POS systems, banks, and vendors to provide full-circle insights.
- Accounting automation
- Workforce management
- Inventory management
- Detailed insights
Posist offers cloud-based kitchen management software that provides end-to-end control over kitchen operations. The platform covers everything from inventory control to order management to ensure your restaurant functions seamlessly.
You can use Posist to manage multiple restaurant locations and brands, access a wide range of third-party integrations and even build your own online ordering platform with the software.
- Inventory control
- Order management
- Loyalty program
- Online ordering
- Supply chain management
Apicbase is a restaurant management platform that can put you in control of all your kitchen operations. The system includes tools for inventory management, menu engineering, production planning, procurement, sales analytics, and more. Basically, everything you need to make more informed decisions about your restaurant's kitchen operations.
Apicbase puts all of your important information in one place and helps to provide total accuracy in recipe and menu costing. With automated purchase orders and data-driven inventory control, managing your kitchen will become a whole lot easier.
- Menu planning
- Inventory management
- Production planning
- Menu engineering
- Sales analytics
Setting your restaurant up with the right kitchen management software can make an enormous difference to your operations. It can help you work more efficiently, gain greater insights into your kitchen’s performance, and ultimately boost your profit potential.
If your restaurant also does events, then combining your kitchen software with the right events management tool will enhance your operations even more.
If you plan on hosting events at your restaurant, you need an excellent event management solution. Try using Perfect Venue for free to see how it can fit your business and improve event management.