Are you looking for efficient restaurant software?
Getting the right software for a restaurant is quite difficult, mainly because there are so many available. Each of them has features that can help your business and you probably won't find one that meets all your needs. In this article, we will tell you about:
- The best software for restaurants.
- Of each of its characteristics, pros, and cons.
- And several tips that can help you get the most suitable for your business.
This article is for restaurant owners looking to start running their business properly from day one. By the time you finish reading this article, you'll know exactly where to start when looking for the most efficient restaurant software for your situation. It is not a good idea to consider these options as definitive solutions. Only you know the true needs of your business. Let's get started!
How to Choose the Best Software for Restaurants?
First of all, let's answer how you can choose the best software for your specific restaurant. It is important that the first thing you do is create a list of your business needs. There you will place all the processes you need to take care of.
This list should include:
- Staff management.
- Finance administration.
- Loss control.
- Control of production costs.
- Control of payroll payment and time per worker.
- Among other things.
After that, you must create a list of restaurant software that meets those characteristics. It's also a good idea to create a separate list of the different things that would be great to have in restaurant software, such as:
- Ease of use.
- Saved online or in the cloud.
- Support for different languages.
- Good price.
- And good customer service.
The real goal of this article is to help you with the second part of this process, which is creating a list of selection criteria to help you choose the best restaurant software for your situation. You will be in charge of creating the list of the most pressing needs of your restaurant and making the final selection.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best System for a Restaurant
The criteria we use to choose the best restaurant systems are quite simple. A good restaurant system has these characteristics:
- It is easy to use, which helps adopt it easily.
- It has good functionality and different options to help you run your business.
- It has a good price.
- It has good customer service.
- And it offers helpful resources for every restaurant owner using the software.
This simple criterion actually serves to rule out a large number of options that are available on the market but are not good enough to make viable options. With nothing more to add, let's start the selection.
The first software on the list is the Waiterio restaurant software. Waiterio is an international restaurant point of sale system that will help you run and manage your business easily from one platform. With it, you will get access to different useful tools:
- Daily, weekly, monthly, annual sales reports, and more.
- Export reports in editable documents with Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs. This can help a lot to control the accounting flow of your restaurant.
- It is also a point-of-sale system that you can use on different devices including mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
- It allows you to use the point-of-sale equipment that you have available or any that you want without forcing you to use specific brands.
- It is also compatible with different operating systems such as Android, Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and more.
- It allows you to create a menu with a contactless QR code so you can keep your customers safe.
- Waiter management.
- Control of orders with Kitchen Display Systems, and also ease of use for thermal printers.
- Creation of online menus.
- Creation of a free website that does not require maintenance.
- It is also compatible with devices such as cash registers and thermal printers of various brands and types.
- And much more.
Here at Waiterio we are constantly working on new features and improving the features we already have available. That's why you can expect our customer service to treat you attentively and look for real solutions to your problems. Our software is also affordable.
Here at Waiterio, we believe that point-of-sale software with a lot of incomplete, inefficient, and unnecessary features is a waste of time. That is why we offer you a point-of-sale system with fewer features, but that is quite efficient. It allows you to make real improvements in your restaurant as soon as you implement it.
In addition, we have also focused on creating content that is useful for restaurant owners looking to improve their management techniques. If you need help, visit our blog and our many articles.
- It has simple features that will make your life easier when running your business.
- It is cheap and easy to use.
- It is quite easy to implement. You can start using it today and tomorrow all your staff will know all its functions.
- It has fairly complete customer service that will offer you adequate solutions for each problem that may arise.
- It has features that can help you improve your sales and keep up with trends, such as the menu with a QR code or online orders.
- You can also use it for food trucks, bars, caterers, ghost kitchens, food carts, and other lighter food businesses.
- Does not have inventory management. It is recommended that you use another application for this function, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
- It works best for small food businesses.
Verdict: The best POS for small restaurants.
This is restaurant software that offers you simplicity and functionality, without focusing so much on having tons of features you won't use. That is why it is quite light and you can use it on any device. Its only weakness is that it does not have inventory management. That is a vital function for all restaurants that want to control their raw material costs and production costs. However, we continue to work to improve our software.
2. Focus POS
Focus POS is an interesting addition to the list. It’s a very useful POS system that works great for different types of food businesses and others in the service industry. What we like the most about this system is that it has its own ecosystem of apps and integrations that make the base apps much better. You can:
- Manage everything in the FOH and BOH of your restaurant.
- Get useful reports about how your restaurant is doing.
- And optimize the way your restaurant works.
It also has different solutions, like Focus Cloud Suite, Focus Online Ordering, FocusKITCHEN, FocusOffice, and more. That can help you solve several problems you might face when running a restaurant. However, that same modularity makes Focus and other POS software solutions really hard to implement quickly.
One thing that bothered us while researching this software is that you won’t find a pricing page anywhere on their website. That can be frustrating and scary for new customers who don’t want to deal with requesting a demo or asking for quotes. This is also surprising coming from a company that’s 30 years old — having passed the test of time, one would think they’d be more confident!
Another downside of this POS software is that it looks a bit dated. It’s ok that it’s 30 years old, but the software doesn’t have to look like that. The UI is not really good, and sometimes it will make it harder for you to use the software. There are too many buttons on the way at all times, which can make it feel crowded.
Focus POS is, as we said at the beginning, an interesting solution. It’s not perfect, and it’s probably not the cheapest, but it’s here and it still works. It has some amazing features if you look past the clunky UI.
- It’s a modular POS solution — you get many apps and integrations!
- It’s got all the different features to make for a great POS system.
- It’s easy to use once you know how to.
- The UI looks clanky.
- They don’t show prices on their website.
- This reference website says it costs about $100 per month, per user.
- It doesn’t have a free trial.
Verdict: Modular and Useful, but That UI Didn’t Pass the Vibe Check
Focus POS is a good solution for different types of restaurants. It’s been on the market for over 30 years now, which is an admirable feat. However, their UI has also been here for at least more than 10 years without any updates — it might be a good time for them to start working on that. Also, they don’t offer a free trial, and the best hands-off playtime you can get with it comes from a demo. That’s a no-no, especially when it’s about the software you will use every day in your business.
3. Squirrel POS
Squirrel POS is another top-notch competitor of the POS for restaurants race. We like how it has a solution for basically anything:
- It works for all kinds of venues and food businesses.
- They’re in on almost every process of the restaurant.
- They sell amazing custom-made hardware.
- They also give you great insights into your business performance.
- And they have a lot of integrations with other industry-standard apps.
From Squirrel, you can either get very functional full-service restaurant POS software and hardware, or a more affordable, quick-service-oriented mobile POS solution. What a mouthful.
The only issue we have with Squirrel is that, well, it’s pricey. The solutions are for sure tailored to your needs, but that’s the only way it can be. You can either pay a lot of money to use this app to the best of its capabilities, or you can just settle with a severely watered-down Squirrel Cloud POS solution. It’s not that their mobile version is bad, it’s just that the full version is much better.
Then you’ll realize that everything is for sale at Squirrel:
- They have amazing training for new users — just pay $500 per training session, no problem!
- They have very useful data migration if you use another POS — which you can pay from $500 up to $25,000.00 to get!
- Finally, even their license is $5.000.
A fixation with the number five, maybe?
Yes, Squirrel may be an amazing solution for restaurants. But if you have to pay more than $5.000 more just to start processing orders, then you really need to rethink your cost structure. We’d only recommend this one for big restaurants that absolutely need these features. Also if you’re planning on your business into various locations or if you want to create a franchise. You will need to have some good bargaining skills to get a custom quote that doesn’t leave you holding the shortest straw.
- Amazing POS solution for big, expanding, or franchise restaurants.
- It’s got every solution you might need.
- Its base price is still affordable when compared to much pricier solutions.
- It is very expensive when compared to simpler cloud POS systems.
- Many of its solutions (training, data migration, POS customization, etc.) are overpriced.
Verdict: This is a Very Cheeky Squirrel
Squirrel POS is a complete restaurant software solution that, unless you have a lot of money to spend, can break your restaurant before you even get started. Something interesting to keep in mind is that there are even pricier quote-based restaurant POS companies. That’s why we recommend this company to entrepreneurs who don’t have budget limitations. Top-notch tools like Squirrel 11, Squirrel Cloud POS, and their hardware is worth having if you can afford it.
Arryved is a POS software for taprooms and bars that also works for restaurants — it’s the near-perfect mix for restaurants that double as bars. Since it’s mostly focused on drinks establishments, it’s a wild card that’s been making its way into restaurants since its inception back in 2016. In all honesty, we loved the concept. It’s hard to find a restaurant POS that has features that are as compatible with bars as they are for eateries. Arryved comes with many vital features for the restaurant-side of things:
- It has a nice mobile app with the much-needed features of modern POS software.
- You get access to very useful data that can help you manage your restaurant’s growth.
- It has a mobile app with payment integrations.
- QR code ordering, online ordering, and other spot-on features.
If your restaurant puts a big emphasis on drinks and drink inventory management, this is the software you’re looking for.
What are the downsides of this app? Seemingly, none. It’s got no cost per month, which might seem like a win for you. Funnily enough, even though they advertise transparency, no monthly costs, and fair prices for their hardware, there are some hidden costs. You see, Arryved also offers credit card payment processing. There’s the “aha!”.
They don’t really mention prices anywhere on their website — just that they have “transparent rates”, instead of the “unpredictable rates” of their competition. More like invisible!
All jokes aside, Arryved itself is a serious POS software for serious businesses. It is a little limited when compared to other software on this list that is focused on restaurants. Still, it’s a great addition to the list and you should definitely consider it.
- Great for restaurant-bar combos.
- Even better for regular bars, taprooms, taste rooms, clubs, and more alike.
- It’s got great features for handling customer loyalty.
- It’s seemingly free.
- They don’t disclose prices.
- It doesn’t work everywhere.
- They do charge credit card processing fees.
Verdict: Arryved, and Here to Stay
Arryved POS is a viable solution for bars, taprooms, taste rooms, and other drink-heavy food businesses. It’s not a perfect system because it applies some slightly shady marketing techniques. It’s also ridden with hidden costs, which you can only find out about when getting a demo. Still, it has received some very favorable reviews that make a good case for it — that makes it worth taking the time to consider this software!
5. Soft Restaurant
Soft Restaurant is a point of sale system recognized and used in much of Latin America, especially in Mexico. It is a system that has been constantly renewed over the years, and that still remains relevant in the market today. Soft Restaurant has several benefits. It has a large number of tools, from customer loyalty and recognition of consumption habits to inventory management.
It is a fairly convenient system, but again, it falls into the same problem as the previous ones – it is very expensive.
Implementing this point-of-sale system can be difficult. Mainly because your employees will require extensive training to be able to use it. Also, you will need to buy the equipment that the company sells if you want it to be compatible with the system. This can be a limiting factor, especially when you compare it to apps like Waiterio that let you buy whatever gear you want or can get.
Regardless, this point-of-sale system can be very convenient. Unlike the software in the second and third positions, Soft Restaurant is incredibly adaptable to restaurants of different sizes — without UI issues or pricey rodents.
Of course, you will have to pay a considerable cost if you want more addons that provide more functionality to the base system. This can be hard to accept when there are apps out there that give you those same features for free.
- It has a lot of features and the company sells good equipment.
- The cost of the base application is relatively affordable.
- It is a company with many years of experience in Latin America.
- It keeps growing, adding new features, and improving its service every year.
- Can be expensive.
- You must purchase some vital features separately, such as the ability to create an online menu.
Verdict: Good Software, Poor Execution
Soft Restaurant is an incredible software with many advantages over its competition. The problem is that it can easily become an expense that will drain your earnings every month. There are features that are simply vital for up-to-date restaurants and should be part of the basic package. But Soft Restaurant has taken it upon itself to over-monetize the software, making it very difficult for it to be functional enough for small and new businesses.
Choose the Software That Best Suits Your Needs
When it comes to restaurant software, we believe that convenience is great, but consideration for restaurant owners is more important. Good restaurant software should be built with the people behind the counter in mind. After all, for restaurant owners it’s not just business – it's the livelihood of entire families, employees, and, if you zoom out a bit, a small piece of the world’s economy.
We know that the math behind running a restaurant can be cruel, especially since it's a fluctuating industry, changing from day to day. That's why we believe that expensive perfection is no better than affordable functionality. The most important thing in your restaurant is you! Our apps only exist to help you, not to hinder you, cause stress, or problems that didn't exist before you used them.
Do you already know which software to choose?