Software

7 Best Restaurant Inventory Management Software for 2022

Restaurant inventory software assists restaurants in keeping track of ingredient stock levels, purchase orders, recipes, and menu costs.

The best restaurant inventory management software systems integrate with or are built into POS systems, saving hours of administrative work. These tools range in price from $99 to $129 per month. Some tools, however, with limited features, are available for free.

According to our findings, the best restaurant inventory software is:

Best Restaurant Inventory Software Compared

  • MarketMan: Best overall restaurant inventory software
  • xtraCHEF by Toast: Best for ease of use and Toast POS integration
  • Upserve by Lightspeed: Best for automated ordering
  • CrunchTime: Best for multilocation restaurants and labor cost analysis
  • Revel Systems: Best for security features
  • Yellow Dog: Best for commissary kitchens
  • Orca: Best for cost control

All of the systems on this list provide low stock alerts, suggested orders, and POS integrations in addition to the functionality listed above.

How We Evaluated Restaurant Inventory Software

We examined hundreds of popular food inventory software programs using the following criteria: ease of use, price, stock tracking, and vendor management. Personal reviews of each software from our retail and restaurant experts were also taken into account.

MarketMan is the finest restaurant inventory management software based on the aforementioned criteria. According to our inventory software rating system, MarketMan achieved the highest overall score (4.68 out of 5).

MarketMan is also one of the top software programs we personally suggest based on our own experience testing inventory software and working in and with restaurants who handle inventory on a daily basis.

Please see the tabs below for a complete list of our evaluation criteria:

MarketMan: Best Overall Restaurant Inventory Software

MarketMan is a cloud-based inventory and vendor management system created with restaurants in mind. Physical counting, budgeting, purchasing, order optimization, food costs, and vendor management are all included.

This solution also allows for easy ordering by email, with MarketMan’s team providing administrative help to process bills. MarketMan, unlike xtraCHEF, Upserve, and Revel Systems, integrates with a variety of POS systems rather than just one.

MarketMan received the highest rating (4.68 out of 5) among the restaurant inventory management software we evaluated.

It achieved top grades for its general and sophisticated inventory management capabilities, as well as a favorable price rating.

Only if the system communicated vendor orders and payments via an electronic data interface (EDI) and had a free subscription tier could it have received a higher score.

MarketMan Standout Features

A professional account manager and one-on-one training sessions are included in all memberships. MarketMan may be used on Windows and Mac computers as well as Android and iOS mobile devices because it is cloud-based.

Integrating your MarketMan software with suitable accounting software such as QuickBooks, Sage, or Xero will help you optimize your restaurant’s operations even further.

The following are some of MarketMan’s notable features:

Setup one-on-one: When you sign up for MarketMan, you’ll meet your personal account manager. Your representative will help you through the account creation process, even aiding you with data entry to get your system up and running quickly.

Maximum food cost threshold: You can specify a maximum food cost threshold for each recipe with MarketMan. Your MarketMan dashboard will notify you whenever ingredient prices rise. As a result, you have three options: raise your menu pricing, find a new supplier, or change your recipe.

Purchase order management: The MarketMan program sends orders to sales staff via email. You can even require that all new orders be cc’d to the owner, executive chef, or general manager.

You can manually enter invoices or use your smartphone to scan physical invoices, and the MarketMan staff will enter them within 24 hours. MarketMan, unlike xtraCHEF, CrunchTime, Yellow Dog, and Orca, lacks a complete electronic data interface.

Delegate duties: You may assign particular access levels to employees via the MarketMan dashboard, allowing more people to help with significant chores like weekly physical counts.

To count various stock regions, enlist the help of bartenders, line cooks, servers, and supervisors. If any figures look to be incorrect, the software will prompt them, and if they ignore the prompts, you will receive an email, allowing you to keep track of your stock directly.

MarketMan has a cookbook function that allows you to gather all of your restaurant’s recipes into one easy-to-navigate book.

MarketMan takes care of the formatting when you add the ingredients, portion sizes, instructions, and photos. Cookbooks can be accessed via computers, phones, and internet-connected tablets, or paper copies can be printed. The cookbook is a great way to maintain consistency across multiple sites.

Best Overall Restaurant Inventory Software

xtraCHEF by Toast: Best for Ease of Use and Toast POS Integration

xtraCHEF by Toast is a cloud-based restaurant inventory and vendor management platform that is simple to use.

This system works hand-in-hand with Toast POS, which is consistently ranked as one of our best restaurant POS picks. xtraCHEF by Toast offers a free “On the House” membership tier in addition to EDI connections to vendor ordering and payment portals and scan-to-enter invoices.

This free tier does not contain real-time inventory tracking down to the ingredient level, but it does include vendor and PO management as well as invoice submissions.

xtraCHEF was created with the intention of serving as a stand-alone inventory and financial management platform for restaurants. Toast bought it in June 2021, so there may be some hitches to iron out before the two companies merge.

Most pricing, for example, now necessitates a custom quote, and the contract period necessary is unclear. The integrated Toast POS, on the other hand, demands a two-year commitment. xtraCHEF could have received a higher score if these terms were more clearly defined.

On our restaurant inventory ranking system, xtraCHEF by Toast received a 4.44 out of 5 rating. It was praised for its free basic subscription as well as its numerous automated inventory and accounts payable capabilities.

The solution lost some marks due to the lack of non-Toast POS connections and barcode scan inventory counts. That’s not to say you won’t be able to use xtraCHEF if you don’t have a Toast POS.

You can surely do so. You simply won’t be able to take advantage of xtraCHEF’s thorough margin variance and actual versus theoretical inventory reports to their full potential.

xtraCHEF by Toast Standout Features

The inventory tools provided into the Toast POS system will eventually be replaced by xtraCHEF. While Toast has always had a solid ingredient-level inventory, xtraCHEF’s features increase the system’s automatic tasks, saving you time in the back office.

The following are some of the highlights of xtraCHEF by Toast:

The dashboard of xtraCHEF is developed with a visual interface in mind. Reports simplify sophisticated cost analysis into simple charts, ensuring that your data are never misinterpreted. The recipe entry and order count panels are both visually appealing and simple to use.

Scannable invoices: xtraCHEF, like MarketMan, has invoice scanning features to make entering invoices a breeze. Unlike MarketMan, xtraCHEF reads the information on your invoices using a combination of line-item identification software and a quality control staff.

You can scan as many invoices as you want each month; the more you scan, the smarter your xtraCHEF system grows. Scanned invoices can also be used to establish your ingredient inventory, reducing setup time.

EDI functions: xtraCHEF, like Yellow Dog, Orca, and CrunchTime, has a full EDI connection that allows you to place orders and pay vendors straight from your xtraCHEF dashboard.

Manufacturer’s rebate program: xtraCHEF offers a unique feature that none of the other apps on this list do: a manufacturer’s rebate program.

Your orders will be compared to manufacturer discounts available on the Buyer’s Edge platform by your xtraCHEF system. These rebates ensure that you get the best deal on everything and that you get some money back wherever possible.

Upserve by Lightspeed: Best for Automated Ordering

Lightspeed’s Upserve POS inventory software has the most automation of any built-in POS inventory software we’ve seen. Using the built-in inventory features in your POS system is an excellent method to keep your restaurant software costs down.

Small to midsize restaurants who want to automate administrative duties like buying and receiving supplies would benefit from Upserve’s POS and inventory management tools.

The inventory features provided by Upserve are only available as part of the Upserve POS system. The basic POS costs $59 per month, but inventory management requires the higher-priced Pro subscription, which costs $199 per month plus $50 per terminal.

Upserve additionally uses preconfigured tablets and mobile devices provided by Upserve, which adds to the system’s cost. Upserve’s subscription packages all come with Upserve’s 24/7 customer service and a searchable online knowledge base.

On our restaurant inventory management criterion, Upserve received a 4.36 out of 5 rating. It received high marks for ease of use and advanced inventory features.

Upserve’s great success was aided by a well-functioning underlying POS. If it communicated with suppliers via EDI, like xtraCHEF, CrunchTime, Yellow Dog, and Orca do, and was slightly less expensive, the system may have scored higher. Upserve lost some points due to the three-year contract length (as did Revel Systems).

Upserve by Lightspeed Standout Features

Upserve combines a high-performing, restaurant-specific POS with intelligent automation to substantially save the time spent ordering and tracking restaurant supplies.

Upserve’s inventory software, when used to its maximum potential, will save you hours of administrative time.

The following are some of the highlights of Upserve by Lightspeed:

One-click reordering: Upserve depletes your on-hand inventory count as you sell things throughout the day. Upserve sends low stock alerts and produces proposed purchases from your vendors as supplies run out.

In your Upserve back-office dashboard, you may examine these orders and then submit them all with a single click.

Smartphone scanning: To receive and count inventory items, download the Upserve Inventory App from the App Store or Google Play and turn your smartphone camera into a barcode scanner.

Order alerts are color-coded in your inventory dashboard so you can know when a vendor order has been filed, received by the vendor, delivered, and completed at a glance. As suppliers view and read your order emails and SMS messages, you’ll see your order status alter in real time.

Offline functionality: We all know the walk-in cooler has no internet connection. To facilitate inventory counts on mobile devices, Upserve makes use of the POS system’s powerful offline features.

When you lose internet connection, the system retains updated item amounts in your mobile device’s local cache. A simple reload when you recover internet access syncs your modifications with the cloud. When the “Changes Saved” banner displays at the top of the screen, you know your data has been updated.

Because Upserve’s inventory software interfaces directly with the POS, the reporting tools are quite detailed. You may view dynamic food cost and use information, as well as menu optimization reports that highlight high-priced, slow-selling menu items that weigh down your menu.

CrunchTime: Best for Multilocation Restaurants

CrunchTime has provided purpose-built restaurant inventory and labor control software to restaurants since 1995. Large multi-unit restaurant chains like Shake Shack and Dunkin’ Donuts use this approach.

CrunchTime’s software designers and customer service representatives have all worked in the restaurant sector, so you’ll never waste time explaining your problems or processes.

This powerful program comes with three companion smartphone apps for inventory management, order fulfillment, and making daily meal prep checklists. CrunchTime also provides labor expense tracking and auto-scheduling.

CrunchTime hasn’t forgotten about inventory functions, and it’s packed with extras. However, this system may be more machine than a tiny eatery requires.

CrunchTime, on the other hand, is a good alternative if you have many sites or wish to franchise your business. If you don’t have a large team or several locations, inventory software included within your POS, such as Upserve by Lightspeed or Revel Systems, would generally enough.

On our restaurant inventory management software grading system, CrunchTime received a 4.31 out of 5 rating. For general and complex inventory functions, it received a perfect 5 out of 5 rating.

However, this system lost points because it did not provide a free subscription and instead required a specific quote for pricing. If you value transparency in pricing, look for Upserve by Lightspeed, Revel Systems, MarketMan, or Orca.

Best Overall Restaurant Inventory Software

CrunchTime Standout Features

CrunchTime has a number of useful tools that demonstrate the company’s restaurant experience. CrunchTime is a full-spectrum cost-control system because to its mix of labor cost tracking and inventory management tools. Smart automation touches make time-consuming administrative procedures much easier to do.

The following are some of CrunchTime’s outstanding features:

Detailed analytics: You may track which data you view by customizing your CrunchTime dashboard and notifications. Using POS integration, you can track profit and loss in real time, allowing you to make important business decisions before they have an impact on your bottom line.

CrunchTime! Impact: On any mobile device, this associated mobile reporting app displays up to 50 key performance indicator (KPI) data.

From a single dashboard, you can establish custom alerts and examine data from numerous locations. Impact is compatible with Android and iOS devices, as well as Apple Watches.

Physical inventory count on mobile devices: By logging into the CrunchTime site, your team can count inventory on any Wi-Fi-enabled device.

To process physical inventory counts, you can download the Counter app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Task-specific apps: Custom-designed smartphone apps for each section of your restaurant will help you increase efficiency.

CrunchTime’s Line Check app, in addition to the regular counting software, assists your kitchen and management staff in doing quality control inspections.

Kitchen Sync creates precise prep lists and syncs them with your inventory so you can keep track of what you’re cooking. With the TeamWorx software, you can add staff scheduling and team messaging to your CrunchTime system.

Order automation and forecasts: Based on your par levels and past usage, your CrunchTime system can produce suggested orders.

The system will also anticipate future needs based on your actual sales data. Detailed projections inform your kitchen team how much food to prepare in order to meet predicted traffic levels, avoiding waste and spoiling.

Revel Systems: Best for Security Features

In the world of restaurant POS, Revel Systems is a pioneer. This was the first iPad-based cloud POS system for restaurants, and it still manages to cram a lot of functionality into a small box.

It constantly ranks among the best POS systems for small businesses on our list. The inventory tools in Revel’s POS are just as robust as the rest of the system. You can add as many ingredients, recipes, and merchants as you want.

Customized roles and user permissions can also be added to grant specific access levels to individual team members. On the linked smartphone counting app, you can even control what particular inventory counters view.

You can, for example, block the expected count number to prevent numbers being copied and pasted or attempts to disguise theft.

On our inventory software rating system, Revel Systems received a 4.21 out of 5 grade. The ease of use and general and advanced inventory management functions of this program received high marks.

However, Revel lost some points due to the three-year commitment and the lack of a free subscription tier. You’ll be happier with xtraCHEF’s “On the House” membership if you require a free option.

Revel Systems Standout Features

Revel Systems’ inventory tools, like Upserve’s, are only available as part of the larger Revel POS package. Revel Systems, unlike Upserve, includes inventory management as part of the standard POS subscription.

Revel’s user permissions are the most advanced of any POS-hosted inventory management software. There is no better inventory monitoring system for bars and restaurants that rely on several teams for physical counts or issue with employee theft and breakage.

The following are some of Revel’s notable features:

Permissions that can be customized: Revel Systems allows users to customize their permissions. Individual users can be given access to specific functions such as inventory counting without having access to all reports or managerial capabilities.

As a result, you can give bartenders weekly liquor counts and line cooks weekly dry products counts without jeopardizing overall data security.

Block information: On inventory counting worksheets, you can select to block the “anticipated count” field to prevent your team from copying and pasting outdated figures. This feature is also useful for preventing numbers from being fudged to conceal theft or breakage.

PO management: In Revel Systems’ management dashboard, you may create POs and email them straight to suppliers.

The PO interface in Revel is slightly less automated than that in Upserve; you can produce POs from low stock notifications in Revel, but the system does not do it automatically.

Receiving a PO in Revel’s back-office interface, like Upserve, allows you to change your on-hand quantities when new products arrive.

Creating actual count sheets that represent the arrangement of your restaurant’s storage rooms is possible with Revel Systems.

To speed up your physical inventory counts, you can drag and drop listed products into the same order they appear on your shelves.

Stocktake, a smartphone counting software by Revel, allows your team to take physical inventory counts on iPhones.

Assign specific count sheets to any trustworthy employee and divide your restaurant into manageable, easily counted parts.

You may view counts in progress via the Management Console, so you know when you can start month-end or other accounting procedures.

Yellow Dog: Best for Commissary Kitchens

Yellow Dog’s inventory management software is comparable to MarketMan, CrunchTime, and Orca in that it is a stand-alone inventory management solution.

Yellow Dog’s unique labeling and distribution capabilities make it ideal for large-scale catering enterprises that rely on a central commissary kitchen, particularly huge food truck fleets. It’d also be an excellent solution for inventory tracking in high-volume ghost and cloud kitchen groups.

On our restaurant inventory software criterion, Yellow Dog received a 4.12 out of 5 rating. It received points for having a large number of basic and complex inventory tracking functions, but it received zero points for price and customer service hours.

Yellow Dog offers rich online training materials, but its live customer service personnel is not available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Yellow Dog Standout Features

Yellow Dog’s inventory management software, like CrunchTime and xtraCHEF, is only accessible through a custom quote. The system is app- and browser-based, with iOS and Android counting apps available for download.

Task-specific gear for barcode printing, barcode scanning, and portable inventory counting is also available from Yellow Dog.

The following are some of Yellow Dog’s notable features:

Yellow Dog Inventory, like xtraCHEF, CrunchTime, and Orca, interacts directly with the majority of prominent restaurant suppliers via EDI.

This integration downloads and inserts your vendor invoices to your inventory system automatically. Set up invoices to be processed automatically or to require permission from a manager before they are posted.

Any new products will be added to your Yellow Dog system automatically. It will also send you an email to notify you of any price changes.

Rugged hardware: For mobile inventory counting, you don’t have to rely on cellphones. Yellow Dog produces inventory counting gadgets that are as simple to use as smartphones but are significantly safer (and drop resistant).

Yellow Dog’s inventory counting apps are available on both iOS and Android devices if you don’t want to invest the money.

Design templates for an unlimited number of barcode label types are supported by Yellow Dog’s barcode printing technology.

From ingredients and pricing to nutrition information, expiration date, and graphics, you decide what information to add. To expedite inventory counting, print comprehensive sales labels for grab-and-go items or shelf labels for your storerooms.

Yellow Dog interacts with practically every well-known restaurant POS system as well as prominent accounting software. There are many of bar-specific connectors for pour-tracking for bars that deal with heavy-handed bartenders.

Support for commissary kitchens: If you supply preparing food to various locations from a central kitchen (often referred to as a commissary kitchen), you have certain product tracking requirements.

Internal transfers of prepared commodities, such as fresh juice blends, that decrease your commissary inventory based on the linked ingredients are possible with Yellow Dog. The completed, ready item, on the other hand, will be invoiced internally to the receiving site.

Yellow Dog comes with a recipe app that allows you to generate precise recipes for your team to use. Photos, ingredient lists, and thorough preparation instructions are all included in the recipes.

To guarantee that no components are overlooked, your team may keep track of them as they are added.

Orca: Best for Cost Control

Orca, like the others on this list, is a restaurant-specific browser-based inventory tool. Orca, like xtraCHEF, Yellow Dog, and CrunchTime, allows you to connect to your vendors using EDI.

Orca, on the other hand, charges $199 per vendor integration, unlike the other platforms. Aside from the escalating prices, Orca has a number of useful cost-tracking capabilities.

Orca keeps track of your daily sales and orders, allowing you to create realistic budgets and sales estimates for the coming weeks and months.

The system considers the weather on a regular basis, allowing you to measure sales and costs on wet versus sunny days and make business decisions appropriately.

On our inventory scoring criteria, Orca received a 3.80 out of 5 rating. Orca received high marks for its inventory features and ease of use.

Orca, on the other hand, lost some points because each integrated vendor and POS system has its own set of pricing.

These fees might soon add up to the system’s cost. If money is your primary concern, xtraCHEF, which offers a free baseline membership, or POS-built solutions such as Upserve by Lightspeed and Revel Systems may be better options. They aren’t inexpensive either, but they do feature a POS as well as inventory.

Orca Standout Features

Budgeting tools: Orca comes with a full set of budgeting tools. Smart recipe building sheets are included in the system, which display your food cost as you enter components.

With searchable day and holiday data, the forecasting tool creates target ordering budgets and sales estimates. When you have significant events or forthcoming holidays, you can use these searching features to manually alter the auto-generated sales projections.

Intelli-Order: Intelli-Order, Orca’s one-click ordering module, takes a step farther than Upserve’s. Orca can propose orders based on your historical sales or sales estimate, whereas Upserve generates suggested orders based on your predefined pars.

Orca will raise orders of crucial ingredients, takeout boxes, and even cleaning supplies if you anticipate a busy holiday week. All of these orders can be placed with a single click.

Custom email groups: You can have your Orca system email copies of purchase orders to a custom group on a regular basis.

You can also email purchase orders to the person who receives orders, in addition to sales people and managers. In most restaurants, the individual who places the order is almost never the same person who receives it.

Having a copy of the original PO allows your receivers to see faults or anomalies so they don’t accept things you didn’t purchase, thereby saving you money.

Waste tracking: Orca analyzes your actual sales to your inventory usage per menu item with a simple click. This analysis will show you where your cooks and bartenders may be straying from the recipe or where you may have lost alcohol bottles due to breakage or theft.

Overstock alerts: Your Orca system will send you an email notification whenever an ingredient or product is overstocked.

The email contains details on the goods as well as who counted the inventory. This prevents your staff from ordering more things than you require by mistake, and it reveals if someone deliberately overcounts to cover thefts.

Bottom Line

MarketMan achieved the top grade for general POS capabilities, restaurant-industry features, ease of use, and our personal expert review in our grading methodology.

MarketMan includes tools for all types of restaurants. This cloud-based restaurant inventory management program is feature-rich and cost-effective for small businesses.

All of the capabilities are contained in a user-friendly, browser-based system that can be accessed from any web browser.

It also interfaces with a variety of restaurant POS systems to help you run your business more efficiently. Schedule a demo with MarketMan to see the system in action.

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