What Is Inventory and Delivery Software?
According to the Nation’s Restaurant News, 60 percent of Americans order takeout once a week. And online orders and delivery have grown 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.
The sheer convenience of digital ordering and delivery coupled by a boost from the COVID pandemic have driven the trend. Restaurants across the nation are adding delivery and digital ordering, which begs the question: How are they keeping track of all those deliveries?
There are three software solutions that, when working together, can help restaurants integrate delivery: a good POS system, a robust inventory management tool, and an efficient delivery management software solution.
How Does Software Help Control Restaurant Costs?
By automating many of the tracking, ordering, and billing processes, restaurant software helps restaurant owners keep a tighter control on the supply chain, as well as their costs.
Most software solutions come with their own analytics to help you dive deep into your FOH and BOH processes and understand where things are going well and where you’re losing money.
For example, let’s say that you have a POS system with an integrated inventory software solution. Using those two tools, you find that when inventory is taken over the course of a month, you’re running out of waffle fries more quickly than you should be, when compared against sales in your POS system.
That gives you the opportunity to investigate the problem. You may find that a new hire in the kitchen is piling more fries on a plate than he should be, for example. Now, you can train that line cook in proper food portions.
Then, you can go back to your software and track the waffle fries again to see if training helped solve the problem.
Why Inventory and Delivery Software Are Crucial for Restaurants
In the example above, we talk about inventory and POS software. But there is a third piece of software that’s crucial for restaurants who deliver. Restaurant delivery software automates the delivery process and works in tandem with your inventory and POS solutions.
Inventory Management Software
An inventory of stocktake helps keep food costs down while increasing revenue. To keep accurate, up-to-date inventory levels, restaurants should perform a count at the same time every day, usually before open or after close.
Other inventory management best practices include
- Using a shelf-to-sheet system of counting inventory
- Matching inventory categories to stock taking sheets
- Beginning and ending each count in the same place
- Assigning inventory management to just a few staff members to keep counts consistent
While a shared spreadsheet can function as a basic inventory, updating one is labor-intensive and open to some serious errors, from entries that break formulas to entire columns disappearing.
An inventory management solution that integrates with your POS system helps monitor use of ingredients for accurate reordering, reducing food waste and excess inventory. It keeps track of average ingredient and vendor costs. By comparing sales with inventory, owners can identify problems with misfires, poor portion control, or even theft.
Restaurant Delivery Software
In a study conducted by Square and Wakefield Research, 58 percent of restaurants surveyed said they prefer their own site or app for managing delivery orders, rather than third-party apps such as Grubhub or DoorDash.
During the COVID pandemic, offering delivery meant the difference between staying in business and closing your doors forever. When restrictions were lifted, delivery didn’t go away. Patrons have come to expect quick, convenient delivery online and the ability to track the progress of their order.
When a customer places a food order, they want it fresh and they want it yesterday. Restaurant delivery software helps restaurants coordinate food prep, pickup, and delivery to make sure that happens.
The best restaurant delivery apps allow customers not only to track where their food in the preparation and delivery process, but they allow them to contact their drivers if there’s a problem.
The software keeps drivers efficient by alerting them when food is ready for pickup, reducing loitering time or time the food sits out. It tracks drive time and performance, and protects privacy by offering virtual numbers for customers to contact them.
Implementing a delivery software solution reduces food waste by coordinating just-in-time pickup by drivers and speedier delivery times. Most delivery software solutions integrate with the top POS systems, so restaurants can track food going out, making inventory and ordering easier. Finally, restaurant owners can track ebbs and flows in deliveries to ensure they have just the right amount of drivers on hand at all times.
A next-level software solution, such as MarketMan, will also include a tool to help you calculate delivery fees as well.
How Inventory and Delivery Software Work Together
If you’re already tracking in-house sales through an inventory app, you should be tracking deliveries as well. After all, it’s just another means through which your dishes are selling and your inventory is depleting.
When inventory and delivery systems work together, you can keep an eye on ingredient use to make ordering more accurate. Perhaps, for example, there is a menu item that suddenly becomes more popular through delivery.
You can also keep track of food waste caused by slow delivery times or incorrect orders, and you can begin to factor in delivery costs to your pricing.
Integrating delivery software into your POS and inventory systems is just another way to lower costs and increase efficiency in your restaurant.
What to Consider Before Investing in New Software
Before investing in any software solution, first get a clear understanding of the goals for your restaurant. Then ask yourself how inventory and delivery software solutions can help you meet those goals.
Of course cost is always a factor, but think about the size of your restaurant now and whether or not you plan to expand in the future. Also consider your staffing capabilities, your menu, and your restaurant type.
When choosing a delivery software solution, for example, you’ll want to consider how many drivers you have or are willing to hire, which menu items translate well to delivery and which do not, and how large of a delivery area you want to cover.
You’ll also want something that integrates with your current POS system, so that you can track delivery orders along with in-house orders.
Finally, through which channels are you going to offer delivery? Phone? Website? App? A delivery software solution should cover any or all of those.
An inventory solution should also integrate with your POS system to allow you to keep track of food and ingredients going out.
You should also consider your pain points when it comes to inventory tracking. Do you find it difficult to keep track of misfires or staff meals? Perhaps you’re spending too much on ingredients and need a good way to track costs as well as usage and menu portions?
A good solution will help you do all that. For example, MarketMan helps you track all of your stocktake in real time. When something is running low, it helps you automate orders and keep track of receipts.
When integrated to a POS system such as Square, you can monitor sales against ingredient use to pinpoint issues with misfires or theft.
The MarketMan cookbook feature allows you to upload recipe cards that ensure the same ingredients at the same amount are used consistently for each dish.
And you can track average cost of ingredients, as well as distributor costs, to keep an eye on the supply chain and make sure you’re getting the best price.
And you can do this all via a mobile device.
Restaurant inventory and delivery software solutions work in tandem with your POS system to keep your margins on track. By implementing them, you have better control over the money that comes and the food that goes out.