Run a successful business with these digital tools.
If most of your life is managed online, why should your bar or restaurant be any different? In today’s age of technology, there are thousands of apps and digital solutions that can simplify payment, create employee schedules, book reservations, reveal important customer data, facilitate mobile payments, streamline inventory, drive revenue and ultimately make running a restaurant or bar a whole lot easier.
However, with so many great technology options out there, it’s hard to know which solutions work and which ones might be right for your business.
So, put down that pen and paper for a second—let’s take a look at 15 bar and restaurant technology programs that could save you time and money and allow you to get back to the parts of the job you love.
BentoBox helps restaurants “not suck on the internet.” With beautifully designed websites, simple dashboards, and excellent customer support, they help you attract more customers and provide you with ways to stay connected with your guests long after they leave. With features like mobile-first design, one-click reservations, social media and newsletter sign-up, SEO, promotions and events, and captivating images, BentoBox saves owners and managers time and frustration, so they can focus on running their establishment.
An all-in-one hub for employee scheduling, Findmyshift helps managers create schedules, communicate with employees, manage requests, and track labor costs. No matter where you are, you can access the Findmyshift webapp to reliably maintain your employee base. With features like drag and drop scheduling, a time clock, email and SMS notifications, forward planning, historical data, payroll calculation, and real-time reporting, this tech solution helps cut the time and effort it takes to roster staff.
Another scheduling solution, Schedulefly is a straightforward way to create and send out your schedule without making any calls or scribbling on scrap paper. In addition to scheduling, the webapp has a staff directory, job posting tool, labor cost dashboard, and message wall.
OpenTable seats over 17 million diners each month. With their app and website, they help establishments reach more diners with their large network, provide memorable hospitality with seamless seating, streamline their front of house with custom tools, and ultimately optimize restaurant capacity.
Reserve is a hospitality tech platform that helps restaurants and guests connect. With features like online and manual reservation booking, waitlist management, text alerts, guest profiles, and guest visit history, the iPad app and website help restaurants and bars decrease cancellations, improve customer relationships, and collect actionable data. Unlike OpenTable, you can use Reserve to incentivize your guests not to flake on reservations by charging fees for no shows. Guests can also use the Reserve app to pay for their meals.
With the ability to integrate directly with your existing POS system, TabbedOut is an app that allows bars and restaurants to accept mobile payments without requiring additional hardware. It also provides establishments with a customer management tool that tracks who’s currently in the venue, shows what customers’ spending habits are, collects feedback, and allows for offers to be sent straight to customers’ mobile devices.
Cover works with all POS systems and lets customers easily pay and split the bill. It saves your establishment time because servers don’t need to run checks or handle credit cards. Cover diners also have a 22% tip average and a 7–10% higher check average than people paying through American Express.
With the hope of driving repeat business to restaurants and bars, onthebar is based on the idea that people are more driven by relationships than they are by star ratings. The app allows patrons to follow their favorite bartenders, discover when they’re working, and check-in when they visit. In a similar aspect, bartenders can use the app to let their regulars know when and where they’ll be working to motivate patrons to stop by for a drink.
More than 44,000 bars and restaurants accept online orders through GrubHub. With the technology to receive and manage delivery orders and the experienced drivers to fulfill them, GrubHub makes it easier to complete to-go orders and keep the back of the house more organized. By promoting their own brand, GrubHub also increases the exposure of each individual restaurant in their network.
Tablelist aims to make the nightlife industry more efficient for customers and venues. With their mobile app and website, users can book tables and bottle service with the click of a button instead of calling the venue or finding a promoter to get them on the list. This streamlined process increases bookings at clubs and lounges and provides establishments with better data about who frequents their establishments, including their habits, preferences and needs.
Guests can use the Nowait app to add themselves to your waiting list without having to physically wait at your establishment. When their table is ready, they receive a text and they have the option to rate their experience at the end of the meal. Nowait helps to optimize the front of the house operations, such as waitlists, table turnover and analytics.
iMenuPro is an online menu maker that lets users instantly create and print menus. With flexible designs, images, backgrounds, graphics, and an easy drag-and-drop tool, it’s easy to create professional drink and food menus without any professional design skills. The website also lets you keep a complete database of all your food and drink offerings so you can easily make price changes and last minute menu substitutions.
With the free Square Register app, bars and restaurants can swipe payments without an internet connection, print kitchen tickets, receipts and order stubs, and customize taxes, tipping and discounts. Square also gives customers an easy way to tip, provides restaurants with engagement tools, and gives an option for online ordering. If you also purchase an iPad, kitchen ticket printer, receipt printer, cash drawer, and Square Stand, you can use the Square app as a full POS system.
As another payment method, LevelUp provides restaurants with one-touch mobile payments and rewards programs. LevelUp integrates with 40+ POS systems and dozens of ecommerce and online ordering platforms. Customers pay with NFC or a QR code (more info on those here) on their mobile device, and the money is deposited into your account the next day. In addition to saving money on transactions, LevelUp provides establishments with valuable customer data, such as who your customers are and how often they visit.
Obviously, we had to include ourselves on the list of great software solutions for bars and restaurants. With BevSpot’s bar management software, you can streamline your ordering, take inventory 70% faster, and compare usage to your actual POS data to uncover insights into how your bar is really performing.
BevSpot’s Sales Hub lets you auto-price your drinks and generate powerful reports for critical insights into your sales numbers. The Order Center lets you streamline ordering by sending your orders directly to your sales reps and provides you with order analytics to manage your spending. With the Inventory Manager, you can set pars, track inventory over time, glean important insights, and save hours—for some of our customers, even days—on inventory counts.
As a bar or restaurant owner or manager, you’ve got inventory to take, food and beverages to price, menus to design, tables to book, schedules to make, and customers to satisfy. Running a restaurant isn’t easy, but with a good arsenal of tech, you can effectively manage every part of your business.