Choosing the best kitchen management software can be a real struggle. There are dozens of services, each claiming to be the best. So how should restaurateurs, business owners, and restaurant management shop for the best kitchen management software system for their kitchen?
You're in the right place if you're stuck asking that exact question. Several important factors need to be accounted for when shopping for your subsequent software integration, so let’s dive in.
Features You’ll Want
Features like easy integration, order tracking, and menu management are pretty simple, super basic features, but there are several extra features that most restaurateurs don't even know exist! So let's break down the key features you'll want when selecting the best kitchen management software for your restaurant.
Order Tracking for Delivery
We all know that online ordering and delivery are here to stay. It was initially a trend, but the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic changed many things in the restaurant industry, and this is one of the most significant changes that’s not going anywhere.
As such, it seems pretty fair that restauranteurs that want to remain in the game will need to have a means of taking online orders and, importantly, tracking them. Knowing where your orders are and when is vital to ensuring you can maintain a happy customer base. And if you’ve already tried to dip your toes into the proverbial water of third-party delivery, you know what I’m about to say.
The term you’ve been trying to find to describe the absolute torture of running multiple tablets along with a POS is tablet hell. In short, tablet hell is “The term for the chaos that ensues when orders roll in from all three of your third-party delivery apps (each on separate tablets) alongside your own store’s regular rush. Think ‘in the weeds,’ but glowed up for the 21st century.”
A high-quality kitchen management software/middleware setup will ensure this is an issue of the past. And it ties in with our next subject - integration.
This is vital in selecting the best kitchen management software. From Square to Grubhub's proprietary ordering and delivery-tracking software, it provides a big advantage integrate with them all, and it needs to be easy. The more time you save when setting up secondary and tertiary parts of your business (software, paperwork, etc.), the less time you have to work on the truly crucial aspects of your business. So save yourself some time and get an effortlessly simple kitchen management software that makes your life easier.
KPI & Statistic Tracking
The best kitchen management software is easy-to-use and straightforward KPI and statistic tracking. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are among the most critical indicators of your business's health. With a high-quality kitchen management system, the days of painstakingly taking handwritten notes in a dimly lit office are over.
The best kitchen management software system will track each of your business's most crucial performance indicators. Here are a few KPIs that most high-end kitchen management software systems will track:
- COGS (Cost of Goods Sold): In short, this is the total amount of expenses over a month after subtracting your final inventory from your month’s purchases and beginning inventory.
- Food Waste: This is pretty self-explanatory - track your inventory and see what sells and what doesn’t.
- RevPASH (Revenue per Available Seat, per Hour): Track how you do during specific timeframes and use it to run promotions, alter labor, or even change your open hours to maximize profit and minimize losses.
There are far too many other KPIs to track, but each of these are excellent to keep top of mind when shopping.
Menus & Recipes
Your menus and recipes keep the foot traffic coming, the doors open, and (occasionally) the Back of House in chaos. To avoid that chaos, an easy solution is to keep them all in a centralized place - digitize that menu!
Online ordering and having an online menu play a massive part in this. A high-quality kitchen management software system will allow you a single place to adjust and tweak your menus as needed and will let you do it to all of your menus. This means you'll be able to change your restaurant's in-house menu alongside the GrubHub, DoorDash, and other third-party services' menus, too!
Easy access to your menu is essential and affects your ability to order your inventory correctly, when/how much labor you schedule to prepare the menu each day, and generally informs every aspect of your restaurant. After all, you wouldn't have a restaurant without a menu, would you?
So why would you pick a kitchen management system that does anything other than make your menu effortless to monitor and tweak as needed?
Modularity is another crucial part of picking the right kitchen management software. Being able to pick and choose which tools you need and when allows a few essential things to happen:
- Don’t pay for features you don’t need.
With one-stop-shop systems, you're stuck with a single "tier" of service. This means you pay a single flat rate and get access to a swathe of features, which for some businesses is ideal - but not for all.
This is where modularity comes into play. Services like Cuboh offer tiered pricing, allowing you to pick and choose what you need for your business. If you're not making $30k+ per month in online ordering revenue, you don't need the top-notch services Cuboh offers. And, because we've been in your shoes, we won't press it. We let you pick and choose what serves you the best - as it should be.
- Upgrade your system as you upgrade your restaurant.
Upgrade your system as you upgrade your restaurant: If you're slowly growing in popularity, you'll eventually reach a point where you do need all of those extra features. If your business starts to pick up seemingly out of nowhere, you don't want the bottleneck to be your software. So opt for a system that grows with your business rather than one that tells you what you need.
- Have a straightforward way to judge success.
Have a straightforward way to judge success: Using a modular kitchen management software system allows you to see how your business improves over time. You'll begin with the bare minimum setup, and as time goes on, you'll find that you need KPI tracking or more flexibility with your online menu.
If you opted for a "one-size-fits-all system," you'd be out of luck - but with modular systems, you can physically see as your business grows and more features are added. It's incredibly satisfying and makes getting a visual read on your business's health much more manageable.
Old-school owners and chefs often forget that many tasks previously relegated to management can now be left to your kitchen software. Managing cleaning tasks, maintaining food safety and temperature checks, and transparent processes for emergencies (such as a kitchen fire) can now be collected from one place.
Gone are the days of rattling off tasks to the brigade, expecting a "heard, chef" followed by the sudden milling about of multiple chefs. Nowadays, they can each check in on your seamlessly integrated kitchen management software and find what needs to be done.
Simple to Use
It's crucial that any kitchen management software you get is straightforward to use. While you may be able to understand it, and your GM may be able to figure it out, if you want it to do its job to the fullest extent, the system needs to be easy for everyone to understand.
It's the same idea as shopping for a POS. Sure, some POS systems are incredibly user-friendly, but others are so convoluted it's apparent that the people who made them have never worked in the service industry. So while you can take the time to train and teach each crew member to understand your system, it's always better to have one that's built from the ground up to be super simple to use.
It's also worth remembering that training can get expensive, and every second you spend teaching your employees to use this new system is time that could've been used to prep food, clean the lobby, or deep clean the walk-in. Intuitively designed and streamlined kitchen management software saves you money in the long run.
All in all, selecting the best kitchen management software for your business is no simple task. You need to consider many factors, from how easy it is to scale the software with your company to secondary features like KPI and statistics tracking. Each of these will inform you about your business's health and allow you to make tweaks to keep the ship in tip-top shape.
Ultimately, when shopping for new software integration, look for ease of use, effortless integration, menu/online order tracking and management, task management, and KPI/statistic tracking features. Luckily for you, Cuboh offers all of this and more, alongside excellent customer service, dedicated support, and realistic pricing directly tied to the size of your business.