If you’re a restaurant manager or owner, your job likely involves a seemingly endless list of responsibilities – you have to hire and train staff, manage inventory, provide excellent customer service, and keep track of finances. And that’s not even half of it!
While apps certainly won’t replace hospitality education or experience, they can help make your tasks a little bit easier. With that in mind, check out seven of the top apps for restaurant managers.
Note: The apps listed in this article are third party offerings and not offered by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Subscription costs may change. Always check the provider’s website for updated information.
As a restaurant manager, one of your goals is to serve as many diners as possible. On the other hand, if a guest shows up for their reservation and has to wait thirty minutes for an open table, they won’t be happy – and they might leave negative reviews.
That’s where Eat App comes in. This on-phone app helps with table management, so you can both decrease guest wait times and increase the number of guests you serve.
You can easily customize the app to match your floor plan and then track tables in real-time. Other notable features include the ability to make online reservations, run daily reports on busiest times and number of plates served, and suggestions for how to optimize seatings. It also allows you to capture and track guest data and send marketing emails to past guests.
Eat App offers a free 14-day trial, so you can see if you’re happy with its features before committing. Once you sign up, you’ll pay a monthly fee that’s lower than many table management apps – $119 for the basic option or $209 for pro.
Managing all the people it takes to run a restaurant is tough enough. And when a dishwasher is only available in the mornings, a prep cook needs every other Thursday off, and a server calls in sick, keeping your employees happy and your restaurant staffed seems almost impossible. Rather than throw in the towel, consider trying out 7 Shifts.
The whole idea of 7 shifts is to make managing your staff a bit easier. Staff can input their availability and request time off, and managers can use this information to create their schedules in a shorter amount of time. While you’ll have to assign employees’ schedules in 7 Shifts, the app can help limit no-shows with automated reminders.
In addition to helping with scheduling, 7 Shifts can also help with pooling and distributing tips, tracking hours, and assigning tasks.
You can try a 14-day free trial of 7 Shifts, then choose from three different levels: comp (free), entreé ($29.99/month), and the works ($69.99/month).
As a manager, one of your roles is to decrease staff turnover and increase productivity. And that involves keeping your team members happy.
Like 7 Shifts, Zenefits allows employees to clock in and out, as well as request time off. However, it also includes a suite of human resources features. Employees can access their insurance information and PTO, as well as review income and tax deductions.
Zenefits also allows you to create a worker directory, so team members can easily text or email each other without asking you for contact information.
The app is part of a larger service, with monthly plans costing between $8 and $21.
Don’t Skip POS Software
While apps can help with various aspects of restaurant management, they can’t always replace more robust software, such as point of sale (POS) systems.
This software allows you to take orders, process credit card transactions, keep track of income and expenses, and more! Some popular POS systems for restaurants include Toast, Lightspeed, and TouchBistro.
Maintaining proper inventory is crucial to any restaurant’s success. Order too little, and you’ll potentially miss out on sales and leave customers wanting more. Order too much, and you’ll have to eat the costs associated with waste. That’s why Escoffier’s Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program includes coursework in Purchasing and Cost Control.
Once you know the basics of inventory management, you can turn to Wisk for extra help. This app helps you keep track of your inventory, so you can order what you need when you need it. Along with manually inputting ingredients and invoices, you can also snap a photo of a barcode or invoice, and Wisk will automatically pull the product information and numbers.
Along with tracking inventory, Wisk can also help you manage the profitability of dishes in real-time. After you input the ingredients in each dish, Wisk uses data from recent invoices to calculate the cost of producing each plate. That way, you can raise menu prices to keep up with rising costs.
You can also integrate Wisk into your POS system such as Toast or Square. This way, you can compare sales and inventory data and gain valuable information regarding food waste and theft.
Like it or not, online reviews can have a big impact on your restaurant’s success. Therefore, it’s helpful to stay up to date with both positive and negative reviews.
Yelp is one of the big players in the restaurant review world. By downloading the Yelp app, you can view customer feedback, respond to complaints, and let your staff know where they’re succeeding and where they can improve.
While a negative review may drive potential customers away, a calm and thoughtful response from the establishment’s manager may cause customers to rethink the reviewer’s words and book a reservation.
If you’re managing your social media internally, you know it can be difficult to keep up with posts across platforms.
Hootsuite allows you to create and schedule social media posts across various platforms. That means you can set aside time to create Instagram and Facebook posts a few mornings each month, and then schedule them to be posted during predetermined times.
The app also allows you to easily view and filter messages, so you can respond to requests in a timely manner. Hootsuite also helps you analyze your posts’ engagement and impact, as well as suggest ways to alter your posts to drive more traffic or boost engagement.
Plans start at $49/month.
With seasonal dishes, appliance maintenance schedules, and new-hire training swirling around in your mind, it can be difficult to keep track of all you need to do as a restaurant manager. Rather than scribbling down notes on pieces of scrap paper or the built-in app on your phone, consider using Notion.
Notion has hundreds of templates available, including a to-do list, weekly agenda, and daily schedule. That means you can organize information in a way that makes sense. Not only can you utilize Notion yourself, but you can share it with your team. That means your executive chef can create a daily task list for your sous chefs, and your bar staff can add seasonal cocktail ideas to a shared idea board.
The personal version of Notion is free, and the team version costs $8/month for each user.
Become a Better Restaurant Manager
While apps and software can help improve your life as a restaurant manager, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. An education in restaurant management can also build your skill set and make your role easier and, ultimately, more fulfilling.
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