which is the best software for your restaurant?

I am often asked which is the best software for a restaurant. To tell you truth, it depends. There are many solutions that claim to be able to “do it all” with their software. In my experience, this is not usually true and if it is, the problem is that to get to that point you have to invest a lot of time and effort in the system. Sometimes I wonder if restaurant owners would pay for a Ferrari just to have it on their doorstep. Because this is what they do with some of the systems they buy – keep them in their restaurants without using them at all.

For a restaurant chain where the menus are always the same, and they have a central office where employees can “feed” the system and keep it up to date, this software can be a great success. But in general, those types of systems do not work for independent restaurants because the managers do not have time to feed the system and they end up not using it or using it halfway. This last option is even worse since it will give you information, but it will be wrong.

The simpler, the better

Take stock control for example. There are software solutions that work very well IF you use them for every step. You do the costing of the dish in the system, and you place and accept orders through the system. After stock take, the system gives you a perfect idea of where you have waste.

But let’s face it, these systems work great for reduced, non-changing menus. But often a restaurant manager is used to placing orders over the phone, doing the costings only in his/her head, and establishing the price by an idea of what people should pay.  Sometimes you may take advantage of supplier offers to make specials and seasonal products to have better price and quality. What you really need to know is your food and drink cost on a weekly basis to make sure you are operating on a profit and not losing money every time you increase your sales. You need to know that your weekly F&B cost is, for example, 25%, and that if you keep that ratio and your staff cost and a certain level of sales, at the end of the month you will probably take a 15% profit on your sales .

What most restaurants need are simple systems that are easy to use and set up and that generate the information they need to make decisions effectively and efficiently, at an unexpensive price.

Digital transformation for restaurants

There is much talk about the digitisation of restaurants. In the sector’s media it is stated as a reality that this change is taking place in the sector in an accelerated way after COVID. I can see that this process is accelerating within restaurant groups, but I don’t think the change is so obvious for independent restaurants.

In my opinion, the future of restaurant digitisation consists of the integration of different simple systems capable of working as a balanced ecosystem, providing the customer with what they do best in each area.

Keys for a good software

There are basic things that a system must do:

– An EPOS for me has to be very easy to use for the team and portable to improve the efficiency of the team. It must be able to differentiate by categories, and to enter the cost of the dish and the price. Then they can provide you with the margins for every dish and a sales mix report by product and category for a certain period of time.

– A reservation system also has to be very user friendly for both the customer and the restaurant. It should be flexible with the floorplan, and collect customer data to use in marketing campaigns so customers come back. It should not charge you for each cover booked through Google.

I could spend hours talking about what I think is basic for every restaurant system. The problem is sometimes restaurant owners are impressed by all the bells and whistles of a system but they don’t get the basic data they need to make decisions.

What can Pendulo offer?

We believe that Pendulo is a great option for restaurant management. It is a good way to start with the digitisation of the restaurant, and it is very user friendly.

You only need to take a pic of your invoice, add the total amount and the date, enter the sales of food, drink, covers at the end of the day and stocks at the end of the week.

In only 5 minutes of admin a day it will generate a report with a brief P&L that will tell you exactly what your drink, food, staff, marketing and other costs are.

It will give you the amounts you have spent by category and suppliers and will also show the impact of each of them. It allows you to download months of data so you can put your real volumes on the table when you need to negotiate with suppliers.

It also gives you the average spend per customer. Above all it clearly shows you if you are operating on a profit or not, so you can identify any change of trends in the key performance indicators of your restaurant.

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