If there’s one lesson to be learned from 2020, it’s that anything can happen. Unfortunately, with circumstances constantly changing, it can be pretty tough for restaurant operators to proactively plan for them. But, operators can plan to be as flexible as possible so they can stay ready for sudden changes that drastically change their approach to business.

Thankfully, smart investments in tech can offer the flexibility that restauranteurs need to be successful. Small steps, like moving from paper to digitized invoices, can unlock a lot more control for restaurant operators. Here’s how it works!

digital invoices

Digitize, automate, and access invoices

More flexibility for restaurant finance and ops teams starts with invoice digitization. With xtraCHEF, all you need to do is snap a photo of invoices, send them via email, scan them into our platform, or integrate with electronic data interchange (EDI). Our team turns paper invoices into searchable, digital documents in less than 24 hours.

Digitizing invoices leads to accounts payable (AP) automation. In the first batch of invoices, you can apply General Ledger (GL) codes just once, and our artificial intelligence and optical character recognition will automatically apply them for all future batches! It saves bookkeepers a significant amount of time in manual data entry while removing physical touchpoints that can help staff feel more safe.

Without a need for paper invoices, operators save money on both shipping and storage while offering more flexibility for their teams. Digitized invoices are saved on xtraCHEF’s cloud, making them accessible to anyone with login credentials from any location! Plus, xtraCHEF can be used on both desktop and mobile devices, so you can log in any time to check performance, review exceptions, and dig deeper into data.

vendor prices

Automatically track vendor price changes

Restaurant food costs may seem inflexible, especially as prices continue to rise. But keeping all invoice data in one central, searchable location enables operators to keep a closer watch on price fluctuations and gives them the data they need for better negotiating power.

xtraCHEF’s AP automation powers a Vendor Hub where our customers are able to quickly see how prices change over time. The Vendor Hub also supports bid sheet comparisons, so operators can easily tell which potential partners have the best prices.

recipe management

Easily adapt recipes for bigger margins

AP automation with xtraCHEF also powers a Recipe Management feature, in which plate costs are calculated in real time based on the last price scanned from an invoice. Dynamic dashboards show which recipes are becoming more or less profitable—along with the exact ingredients causing the change!

Recipe Management offers a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows for menu experimentation. Say a certain menu item uses an ingredient that is becoming hard to get in your area. With xtraCHEF’s Recipe Management, operators and chefs can remove that ingredient and pull in others to see how margins change. It allows for much more flexibility to build a menu that’s as profitable as possible.


Compare restaurant performance to reality

If your restaurant has only been able to operate at 25-50% capacity for the past several months, it’s a disservice to your hard work to compare that performance to the same time last year! But xtraCHEF gives ops and finance teams the ability to see how the restaurant, or individual locations, are performing against current reality—rather than metrics that were set in years past.

Our Budgets and Forecasting feature allow customers to change their benchmarks as often as they need to reflect their situation. Cassidy Womack, Director of Operations at Sidewall Pizza Company, was able to do just that for the multi-unit pizzeria.

“I was able to adjust the budgets based off of the first month of being take-out only to give our managers in the store a better idea [of where they should be],” says Womack. “It’s important for them to be able to log on to that budget module and see what their updated allowance is for the week with what they’re ordering.”

looking ahead

Stay ready for the unknown with flexible features

A restaurant software solution like xtraCHEF helps your restaurant better prepare for the unknown and offers the flexibility that’s needed to adapt quickly. Request a demo to see how quickly you get started!

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, try xtraCASH instead! It’s free food cost management software that can give you a taste of everything xtraCHEF has to offer.