In a huge move for the hospitality industry, restaurants across the world have adopted smartphone apps to help conduct their businesses. Apps have been a game changer for restaurants — discover what they do and how they can help your restaurant boost indoor productivity.
No one knows the best apps for restaurants to use like our team. Check out our companion article, looking specifically at apps used by restaurants in the UK.
For the latest information on what apps restaurants can use, connect with us and find out more.
What is a Restaurant App?
A restaurant app is a smartphone application that helps restaurants run their businesses. They help restaurant owners and their teams with things like staff scheduling, inventory management, food orders, seating, restaurant reservations, guestlist management including digital waitlists, and much more.
Most app founders have used their personal experience and on-the-ground knowledge to assist technological developers optimise their apps for best practices. Restaurant apps act as a special tool for every step in the hospitality process, bringing various time-saving benefits to the industry table.
Alternatively, a restaurant app also refers to customer smartphone applications, where people go to order food, find deals, and more. A fast-food restaurant app for instance will send regular offers and notifications to participating customers to receive discounts on orders, different to the type we discuss in this post.
Why Use a Restaurant App?
First, restaurants have nothing to lose — many apps are 100% free. You can read what other restaurant have said about their experiences with a free app in our other posts:
- Casa Grande de Cristosende Enjoys Carbonara App (Spain)
- Top Spot in Turin Greets Guests With Carbonara App (Italy)
- Opting for Online Reservations in Salon de Provence (France)
The main point is that restaurant apps are designed to improve a restaurant’s overall service. A free restaurant online reservations app for instance can help
- Simplify guest booking procedures
- Streamline cover allocation
- Avoid unnecessary disappointments
A restaurant app builds on and fortifies the efficacy of other typically time-consuming processes. Let’s look at the different types.
1. Inventory Management App
These apps aid restaurant inventory management, digitally counting things like ingredient stock and updating menu availability. The goal is to automate stock tracking and ordering processes. On average, these apps save restaurant staff hours on admin work. A good inventory management app syncs with a point-of-sales app — more on this next.
- Mobile scanning tool. A smartphone scan function provides a quicker way to process orders and manage inventory every day. Restaurants can simply scan invoices to receive and count delivery items, updating the digital inventory in the flash of a second. Scanning invoices builds an inventory, speeding up time spent on deliveries.
- Digital cookbook. Compile all your restaurant’s recipes into one digital interface. This is especially important if a restaurant has multiple locations. Ingredients, portion sizes, instructions, and photographs are all available digitally to restaurant kitchen staff.
- One click reordering. As items sell throughout the day, software keeps track of inventory levels. When an item depletes, software alerts the restaurant that stock is low, suggesting orders from relevant suppliers. The system allows restaurant staff to make these orders on an ad hoc basis without having to laboriously search in the stock shelves.
- Task delegation. Assign team members to evaluate various stock areas. Cooks, servers, or supervisors can assist with regular tasks such as a weekly stock count.
- Real time order alerts. Check whether orders have been sent successfully. Restaurants receive alerts in real time on the completion of orders by suppliers.
2. Point-of-Sales App
These apps synthesise typically bulky point-of-sales hardware into a simple app, enabling servers to take tableside payments via their smartphones. It also offers managers, administrators, and accountants to quickly monitor sales activities and performance levels. All via the handy convenience of a mobile app, features include:
- Integration with inventory software. As soon as an item sells, a POS app automates depletion in an inventory management app. This handles inventory tracking for restaurants, further simplifying the process.
- Analytics. A POS app comes with a built in analytics system to offer restaurants insight on things like best-selling items, reporting on all sales made. Automated data reports arrive on a regular basis. Find out more about how these work.
- Easy navigation. The best POS apps are optimised for easy usage. Ease-of-use enables staff to quickly process transactions from start to finish. Apps also enable users to share information, making it easier to process orders, update to latest versions, and download reports on sales made via the app.
3. Restaurant Scheduling Apps
These apps assist the shift allocation process for restaurants. Instead of losing time creating spreadsheets, managers can notify and display digital schedules to staff via their smartphones. This helps promote an easy workflow process where everyone is clear on the hours they work. This includes:
- Calendar integration. Restaurant scheduling apps sync with digital calendars such as Google Calendar to work around general restaurant appointments. For instance, a digital calendar can integrate restaurant reservations, meaning that restaurant managers spend less time on double-booking shift slots.
- Automated scheduling. The most attractive feature of a restaurant scheduling app uses shift availability to automatically adjust staff shifts. This removes the uncertainty associated with creating a schedule using a pen-and-paper spreadsheet, introducing technology to lessen the chance of schedule conflicts.
- Ease of operation. Staff need to receive notifications on changes made to the restaurant schedule. When managers share schedules via the app, staff have instant access to schedule features.
- Time-clock. Via their smartphone, staff members can clock-in and clock-out of their shifts. This allows managers to accurately track employee attendance.
4. Digital Waitlists and Reservations Apps
Some apps have multiple functions. When it comes to managing guests, restaurants can provide a zero-hassle experience with Carbonara App.
Guest management apps replace pen-and-paper guestlist systems to maximise service efficiency.
- Make the wait more bearable for customers
- Promote guest confidence
- Let guests have fun — learn more
Reservation apps also provide good guest experiences by
- Improving service with guest communication features
- Providing guest with updates on their bookings
- Reducing the chance of restaurant no shows — learn more