For most restaurant operators, pivoting to the new normal has become a major source of stress. From finding the right online ordering platform to making sanitization efforts in the front of house to preparing for socially distanced, in-house dining, the industry has had to make quick decisions in order to keep their businesses open.

However, the folks who are turning a blind eye to the back of house are missing a major opportunity to shape a better future for their operational processes. By implementing a cloud-based business intelligence solution, operators can get unprecedented access to data that helps them make decisions that can make or break their bottom line—all while working remotely.

This software isn’t too good to be true; in fact, it’s now become a must-have for restaurant operators who want to be successful under the new normal. Keep reading to learn how cloud-based software can help your restaurant operate better than ever.

Automating Accounts Payable Eliminates Your Paper Problems

The key to optimizing the back office is through Accounts Payable (AP) automation. AP automation gets rid of all of the problems related to manual invoice handling in restaurants—like lost or stained paper and human error in manual data entry. The Essential Guide to AP Automation for Restaurants gives an inclusive look at just how many problems this solution can solve.

Automating AP at a restaurant is incredibly easy and doesn’t require bringing an outsider into restaurants for implementation. All restaurant operators have to do is sign up, onboard, and scan invoices. That’s it! The best in class software for AP automation at restaurants offers batch uploads, electronic data interchange (EDI) integration, and mobile support, so operators should keep an eye out for those features as they vet solutions.

Manage Vendors and Compare Prices Quickly

AP automation can allow operators to track vendor credits better than ever, ensuring every dollar is accounted for. The best solutions in this space will also offer the ability to sort and manage invoices by vendor so operators no longer need to dig through Banker’s Boxes for reconciliations.

Plus, purchase and ordering management software supports vendor bid sheet comparisons, so there’s no need to manually enter line items and unit prices side by side in a spreadsheet to find the best deals; the solution automatically uncovers the best options.

Implementing this software comes with another huge benefit: operators can compare the prices of ingredients from each vendor over time and see if vendors are overcharging if there’s a predetermined price agreement in place.

Plate Costing and Menu Engineering Made Easy

Calculating recipe costs is crucial to the success of every restaurant, but it’s an exercise that is often only performed the first time an item appears on a menu because of how time-consuming and complicated it can be. But if operators don’t know how much margin they’re making—or losing—on each menu item, how will they know if they’re going to be profitable?

Each ingredient of each item must be cataloged properly, and conversions between the unit of measurement an item arrives in from a vendor and the way it’s measured for a recipe must be made before any calculations can begin.

Recipe management software makes plate costing easier than ever. Updated ingredient prices are automatically applied to each recipe, so operators get immediate insight into how much the margin of each plate changes based off of seasonality and demand—no manual recalculations necessary. Plus, it supports prime costs and packaging expenses, so they get a complete picture of cost rather than just at an ingredient level.

Operators can even open up a world of experimentation for themselves by using recipe management software. The best solutions offer a drag-and-drop interface for sample recipes to see what combinations would (or wouldn’t) make them more money, making menu engineering easier than ever.

Optimize in the back office, at home, or on the go

Creating a better back office doesn’t actually have to take place in the restaurant. Arguably, the best part about software solutions for business intelligence is that they’re hosted on a cloud and accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

Operators can review a large shipment from their preferred vendor on a mobile app. Chefs can experiment with profitable recipes from the comfort of their homes. And owners can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their staff is still able to work without unnecessary exposure.

Restaurants can build their best-ever back office with xtraCHEF. Request a demo today to see how our solutions are poised to help the industry thrive in a post-COVID world.