Last Updated:
February 2, 2024

16 essential restaurant management tools you didn’t know you needed

Streamline restaurant operations and boost profits with must-have management tools! From inventory to staff scheduling, we've got you covered.
16 essential restaurant management tools you didn’t know you needed
Angelo Esposito
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Restaurant Inventory Software Worksheet

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Table of Contents

Restaurant management tools are the game changer your establishment needs. Restaurant software continues to get smarter, and is easier to use now more than ever. Apps can also give you an advantage through time savings, faster processes, business analytics, and more.

Whether you consider yourself tech illiterate or a savvy software user, it’s always worthwhile to look into new tools. That being said, we already did the legwork for you and compiled a list of 15 must-have software for your restaurant or bar.

To begin, what is restaurant management software?

If you’ve ever tried to search the term on Google then you know there are a billion definitions out there! From POS systems to liquor inventory apps, the term is very general. For the purpose of this post, however, we are defining it as any technology that helps bars and restaurants manage their day-to-day operations, such as:

More examples include a point of sale system (POS), human resources, accounting, and liquor management software. No matter the type, the goal of any restaurant software is to make operations run as smoothly as possible. The benefits of using technology to manage your restaurant operations include better efficiency, shorter customer wait times, and ultimately, higher profits.

How do restaurants control stock, effectively?

Before we dive into the best software to invest in, it’s important to understand how to use any or all of them to the best of their abilities. So, here are some tips to help you make the most out of your future devices.


If you have multiple devices like a POS system, an inventory management app, and payroll software, be sure to integrate them whenever possible. When your tools can communicate with each other automatically, it makes your job much easier and cuts down on the possibility of any mistakes or missing information.

Prep your staff (and yourself!)

Even the best restaurant management tools on the planet won’t be effective if your staff isn’t properly trained on how to use them. Ensure your employees know their role in counting stock and other operations. All in all, it’s absolutely crucial to keep open lines of communication so everyone is always up-to-date.

Get organized

Having a strategically organized bar or restaurant is key to maximizing time and efficiency. In order to stay as organized as possible, be sure to store liquor in the same place to make inventory easier. Also, clearly define expectations when it comes to pars, pour costs, etc. Lastly, when actually taking inventory, have two people review the numbers for accuracy.

Identify waste

As a bar or restaurant manager, you already spend a lot of time taking inventory and placing new purchase orders. Don’t let that effort literally go to waste. Instead, use the information from your restaurant inventory app to identify if you’re losing money as a result of dead stock, over pouring, free drinks, or employee theft. Once you know the source of waste, take concrete steps to reduce or eliminate it completely.

Don’t forget about your data

Beyond identifying waste, use inventory data to identify ways to improve your business. Some actions you can take are:

16 Best Restaurant Management Tools

Without further ado, these are the best restaurant management tools available on the market today. They are listed in no particular order and cover a wide range of needs and business sizes.


It wouldn’t be a list of essential restaurant management tools without including our software. WISK is one of the most advanced bar inventory apps and restaurant management software available on the market today. The interface is smooth and intuitive and its features are incredibly useful and practical. We also offer the best customer support in the industry, solo or group onboardings, and live trainings.

When it comes to conducting inventory at your bar or restaurant, WISK has every tool you might need. Our team is made up of former restaurant owners, so we truly understand your needs. We built our app with convenience in mind so you can work in offline mode, use the built-in barcode scanner, integrate with your preferred POS system, and place orders from an extensive database of 50,000 bottles.

The result? Our users report an 80% decrease in inventory time.

Best of all, you know exactly what you’re getting with our software. To clarify, we have no long-term contracts and provide a demo up front, before you make a commitment. So, check it out for yourself and sign up today by clicking on the button below. Alternatively, you can visit https://www.wisk.ai/for/wisk-bar-management-software for more information.

2. OpenTable

OpenTable is an online reservation and waitlist system. Since its a popular platform, it can help with visibility and is easy to use for both bar managers and customers alike. The software offers an app and web version and sports high reviews from users.

3. Fivestars

Fivestars is a mobile rewards program for local businesses. Customers can sign up at your location or on the Fivestars app. Once enrolled, they can earn rewards and receive promotional offers via text, email, or push notifications. The built-in marketing features and easy set-up make it a solid choice for a loyalty program.

4. Quickbooks

Quickbooks has been an accounting go-to for small businesses for years, and restaurants are no exception. Recent updates have made the software even more mobile-friendly, making business accounting simple and affordable. This straight-forward software is perfect for independently owned restaurants. As an added bonus, it integrates well with a wide range of restaurant POS systems and other restaurant management tools.

5. Zomato Base

Zomato Base is a cloud-based POS app. It offers integrations with any existing business system as well as several hardware connections. It allows bar and restaurant managers to create client profiles for better customer experiences.

6. Clover

Another POS option, Clover, is best for small to medium-sized restaurants. Its user-friendly dashboard can be accessed from a computer or smartphone. It really shines in HR management, with customized access to manage everything from tips to schedules. Clover also proves useful when it comes to menu planning as it gives users the ability to easily edit product information and monitor performance of menu items.

7. Fourth

With a broad focus on the hospitality industry, Fourth isn’t made for restaurants alone. Though not as focused on one industry, Fourth offers a wide variety of services, from workforce management to procurement, delivery orders, and more. Its HR functions like, managing employee details, calculating payrolls, and employee engagement set it apart from other systems.

8. Waitrainer

We’ve talked about the importance of training your staff and Waitrainer can help you train them more effectively. With options for a fast, casual, table service, or an informal bar setting, you can customize your plan.

9. FoodLogiQ

While not for everyone, FoodLogiQ certainly offers a unique and important service. Generally, it helps restaurants trace ingredients from farm to table. If organic food or sustainability are a cornerstone of your business, this application can give you valuable information and credibility.

10. Plate IQ

PlateIQ is your ultimate companion for gastronomic adventures. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or a culinary novice, PlateIQ is here to elevate your dining experience. Plan your culinary journeys effortlessly with our intuitive reservation system. Say goodbye to long waits and missed opportunities; with PlateIQ, securing a table at your dream restaurant is just a few clicks away.

But PlateIQ is more than just a reservation tool. It's your personal food concierge. Explore expert reviews, mouthwatering menus, and tantalizing food photos, all designed to help you make the perfect choice for your next meal.

11. Spoiler Alert

If waste is a particular concern, Spoiler Alert is the tool for you. According to their website, their software recovers value from “slow-moving, distressed and obsolete inventory.” It also enables you to get deals from suppliers and give back if you have too much product.

12. Gusto

Looking for a better payroll solution for your small business? Gusto might be the answer. It offers affordable plans, especially for small teams. It gets high marks on customer service and ease-of-use as well.

13. ChowNow

If you’re in the food service industry, you know food delivery is a trend that isn’t disappearing anytime soon. While there are many different options when it comes to food delivery, ChowNow gives you the most options for controlling the customer experience.

ChowNow allows you to reach new customers and avoid high commission fees. It also has customization features, such as adding your own branding and conducting ordering on your own website.

14. Apple Pay

Pay-at-the-table is another food service trend unlikely to go away soon. There are dozens of options when it comes to implementing, but Apple Pay is really the gold standard. It’s already accepted at over 1 million locations worldwide, so there’s no customer confusion to deal with. It’s easy to use online and has proven security for customer information. The biggest downside, of course, is the lack of support for Android devices.

15. Square

If the thought of extensive and complicated software scares you, then Square is the POS solution for you. It is a simple and functional program requiring little training.

Its simple offerings come with the added bonus of affordability, making it a good option for small and medium-sized restaurants.

However, Square’s biggest advantage is also its biggest downside. There are many other programs with more features and capabilities. So, if you’re looking for a comprehensive system, this isn’t the choice for you.

16. Toast

Toast is an all-in-one restaurant technology platform, made by restaurant people, for restaurant people. Ranked as G2’s leading restaurant point of sale system in 2022, Toast allows you to manage orders, sales, and payments in one place with powerful cloud-based software, transparent payment processing, and restaurant-grade hardware. Toast’s product suite also includes handheld POS devices, contactless ordering, online ordering and delivery, marketing and loyalty programs, payroll and team management, and more. A restaurant-first platform built to run your entire restaurant, Toast’s mission is to empower the restaurant community to delight guests, do what they love, and thrive.

The right restaurant management software can make a significant impact on your business. As you implement these solutions, you'll see your ROI grow through improved cost control and better customer experiences.


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