Restaurant accounting software has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year, so we figured it was time to take a look back and see who won the title of best restaurant accounting software of 2024.
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Looking Back at 2023
2024 is coming to a close, and I think everyone can agree that this year was one of the best when it comes to technological progress. We saw artificial intelligence step into the limelight this year, with businesses worldwide investing in this technology for the future. Marketing, accounting, IT, and programming are not a single aspect of business where AI and software have not made a place for themselves.
Accounting software is no different, with businesses leveraging advanced tools to make scarily accurate predictions of their financial future. Typically, any software will do for industries like retail, e-commerce, apparel, and the like. However, a more specialized and nuanced perspective is warranted for some industries, such as restaurants and the medical industry. These businesses have many unique problems they need to solve with accounting software, requiring more specialized tools.
Why Do Restaurants Need Accounting Software?
Regarding problems, Toast reports that 52% of restaurant businesses feel that high operating and food costs are among their biggest business challenges. Restaurant accounting software can be an immaculate solution to these issues. It allows restaurant owners to gain more financial clarity and track their cash flow. It also help them understand where they are bleeding cash and correct the issue.
Perhaps the business is spending more on ingredients than it needs to on its inventory. Hence also ending up with excess stock that can go bad at any moment. Or maybe the average customer influx warrants less space, and the business can save on rent by switching to a smaller venue.
Whatever the issue, restaurant accounting software can be key to figuring out the root of the problem and nip it in the bud. The only problem is that there are too many restaurant accounting softwares to choose from!
Quite a first-world problem, being spoiled for choice on accounting software solutions. But nevertheless, a problem that does warrant attention.
Now that the pandemic has ended. Businesses have started to regain their footing. More and more restaurants are opening up in hopes of filling the void left behind by the thousands of closures in the last three years. Hence let’s welcome these newcomers to the industry. Here’s a detailed breakdown of restaurant accounting software to help restaurant owners start their journey to excellence.
The Best Restaurant Accounting Software in 2024
Typically, the first names you would expect to see are the usual suspects like QuickBooks. While those software are absolutely on the list, we cannot place them over Restaurant365.
Regarding restaurant accounting solutions, Restaurant365 stands in a league of its own. The software is an all-in-one restaurant management platform, housing dedicated features for restaurant accounting, inventory management, and schedule management. The amount of work that can be automated and streamlined with Restaurant365 is truly staggering.
Not only that, but the software comes with highly sophisticated data analysis tools, offering a wide variety of popular point-of-sales systems for integration and highly advanced cost-control tools. The cost control tools, in particular, are a sight to behold, with the software being able to predict based on data how much inventory for every single ingredient needs to be ordered, how frequently it needs to be ordered, how much of a menu item would be needed, and so on.
With literally tens and hundreds of such metrics and data analytics available at your fingertips, on top of a highly sophisticated ERP system, what more could a restaurant owner ask for?
The price tag may pose an issue, with even just the core accounting functions plan billing at around $300 per month and the full package costing around $500. In all honesty, however, given the software’s many tools and resources, veteran restaurant owners who own multiple restaurants will find this tool to be a one-stop shop for all their management needs. Every administrative, back-end process can be managed through this software, and it is truly the king of restaurant accounting software in 2023.
QuickBooks is undoubtedly the most famous accounting software overall, and for good reason. While it is not software tailored towards any specific industry like Restaurant365, it offers access to many tools that can be helpful for almost any context. Businesses can choose which tools best fit their usage and customize the software to their industry’s requirements.
QuickBooks Vs. Restaurant365
QuickBooks is good for restaurant accounting software needs. It’s arguably the best for reporting and offers over 50 different reports at just the entry-level plan. It also hosts a highly customizable interface, with over 500 apps and add-ons that can be integrated to suit your needs.
Regarding accessibility, while Restaurant365 is dedicated to restaurant accounting and thus much easier to navigate for restaurant owners, figuring your way around QuickBooks might prove difficult. Veterans will be able to figure out what features they need and do not need, but newcomers will find themselves immersed in online tutorials to figure out what to do.
The biggest selling point, however, is the price. As we broke down in Expertise Accelerated publication titled “QuickBooks Online Accountant — Cost and Benefits”, the best plan for small businesses looking for a budget solution would be the starter plan, which costs $30 monthly. And for a business focusing on growth and expansion, the furthest they need to stretch their budget is $85.
Comparatively, QuickBooks is the undisputed winner when it comes to providing a cost-effective restaurant accounting solution. But it must be said that while Restaurant365 is much more expensive, the Immensely wide berth of features and tools it offers is unmatched. Also, the price is very much justified for the quality of service you get. But since such highly sophisticated tools will only be needed by larger restaurants and chains, QuickBooks is the best choice for a runner-up in our best restaurant accounting software list for 2024.
When in doubt, go with QuickBooks. And thanks to their free trial, if you don’t think QBO is for you, you can cancel and give the rest of the list a shot.
TouchBistro is the definition of a restaurant accounting software for restaurant owners by restaurant owners. The software is primarily meant to be used by food trucks and comes as an App Store app for use on an iPad. The idea is simple: a restaurant management software that can provide all the basic, essential restaurant management and accounting tools and can be accessed over mobile data.
Food trucks and the currently trending pop-up restaurants are TouchBistro’s main target audience . This is because it offers them everything they would need for day-to-day operations. It is a POS software that can assist with table management and floor planning, supply chain management, transaction management, etc. However, businesses must integrate it with other software, such as QuickBooks, for more sophisticated accounting tasks.
This begs the following question:
If QuickBooks is ultimately required, why not spend just on QuickBooks?
The answer is simple: a lot of businesses do not need QuickBooks. Food trucks and pop-up restaurants are very lucrative, but they are not businesses that require a dedicated restaurant accounting solution. Many of these restaurants are run by families or even teenagers trying to make some spending money, and the workload is often not enough to justify buying a QuickBooks subscription. However, by spending just $69 per month, instead of just accounting tools with QuickBooks, restaurants can access every managerial tool they could want, as well as accounting essentials.
TouchBistro is what we would call the perfect in-between, offering what can be called a sort of “essentials-only” version of Restaurant365’s vast tool set at a cost much nearer to QuickBooks. TouchBistro is the perfect low-cost, high-utility restaurant accounting solution for small restaurants, food trucks, and temporary restaurants.
Xero is the other famous name in the accounting software context, known for its diversity of features and easily integrated accounting systems. QuickBooks and Xero are typically talked about in the same breath and ultimately end up as a matter of preference. Xero is more cost-effective, with plans costing as low as $12 a month. However, that is, of course, without many of the features it is so highly regarded for.
The main reason why we would say QuickBooks edges out in this race is the fact that it is just more user-friendly. Xero offers a lot, but it is software designed with accounting professionals in mind. It is not as intuitive as QuickBooks, and any first-timer can easily get lost in the barrage of features it offers.
We at EA have always advocated for restaurants hiring dedicated CPAs, and for restaurants that heed this advice and do end up hiring outsourced accounting and bookkeeping professionals, Xero might be the way to go. It is more affordable and in the hands of a pro, can be quite a force to be reckoned with.
However, even in this case, QuickBooks might win simply because it is software that every accounting professional is expected to know how to use. Still, Xero is not a bad choice by any means, and if it fits your price point and offers everything you need, that’s all that matters.
While not being a dedicated restaurant accounting software Plate IQ still deserves a spot on the list for its immaculate accounts payable and receivable automation capabilities. Never again will your restaurant miss a vendor payment, and with automated invoicing and recordkeeping, you will always have a record of every transaction at your fingertips.
Plate IQ is a wonderful supplemental restaurant accounting software that businesses can leverage to free up time from these mundane accounting and bookkeeping processes, allowing for more innovation in the kitchen and more effort dedicated to providing the best restaurant experience.
Regarding pricing, there are no set packages, and businesses can instead contact the company and get a custom price quotation based on their specific needs. This is amazing because having a program customized and billed precisely to your specifications can make operations extremely smooth while also controlling your expenses on restaurant accounting solutions
- Restaurants with a heavy accounting and management workload, typically across multiple locations, will find Restaurant365 a great option. Pricey but worth every penny.
- QuickBooks or Xero are the best options for small restaurant businesses and ultimately comes down to a matter of preference.
- TouchBistro is the undisputed winner for mobile and temporary restaurants and should be able to address all their restaurant accounting and bookkeeping needs.
- Plate IQ is the perfect supplemental software to help speed up accounting and bookkeeping and is a great combo with software like TouchBistro.