As a small business owner, you most likely get served multiple ads every day from companies telling you they offer the “best app for small businesses.” But as all small business owners know: no two small businesses are alike. How can one thing be the best app for all small businesses?
When you do your shopping for apps, it’s best to look at the top suppliers in your specific industry. You can probably learn a lot from others in your space.
To help out you, I asked my own accounting and bookkeeping peers to focus in one of the most popular industries for small businesses: restaurants.
So, what are the best apps for restaurants?
My top two industry experts on accounting for restaurants, Stacey Byrne, who has written a book on the subject (Restaurant Accounting with QuickBooks), and Yvette Shaw, an accounting consultant who also specializes in the restaurant industry, selected the three apps outlined in the video above and listed below.
The top consideration when it comes to apps for restaurants is going to be your POS system. If you are using QuickBooks Online for your accounting, then you will want to look at Revel POS, Square, and Clover.
Revel was built to work with QuickBooks Online. But, luckily, they do integrate with other platforms. Revel POS is a feature-rich product that can handle seemingly every aspect of your restaurant’s business, and it syncs seamlessly to QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, and Xero.
Square is the POS app that you might recognize most often when you are patronizing a food establishment. Whether you have a router (brick and mortar) or you are on the go (like a food truck), there is a solution for you here. It’s worth noting that TSheets has an integration with Square for time tracking purposes.
I always know when a place is using Square because they’ll turn the iPad around and ask me to enter my email in order to get my receipt. As a marketer, and someone who hates paper myself, I appreciate and respect this. I always give my email. Why not? I’d love to get offers and discounts from them in the future, especially if I enjoy their food!
Got a small business that’s budget conscious? Clover might be a good POS choice for you. It’s on Apps.com, which means they’ve been vetted by Intuit, and of course, this means it works with QuickBooks Online.
When asked about which is her all-time favorite, Shaw says, “I prefer Revel because I love their reporting.” Reporting is the ultimate output of these systems, and given the amount of daily transactions at a restaurant, this is very important.
Byrne also brings up the fact that you don’t have to use an app. “Most of my clients are doing it old school with daily sales receipts,” she says. “Dataurant is pretty cool for integrating MICROS or Aloha, but many of the smaller companies haven’t embraced much app integration.”
Many solutions are out there. For QuickBooks Online users, search Apps.com for “Restaurants.” For Xero users, search their marketplace. There’s no actual “Search” for apps. If you use the search on the page, it’s just a global search of the entire Xero site, so I recommend simply browsing the apps by category. Not the most efficient way, but you’ll find a section on POS apps. Keep in mind, though, that not all POS apps are good for restaurants.
With a ton of options out there, it’s easy to get stressed. Instead, sync up with an expert in the restaurant industry like Byrne or Shaw to help you make the decision.
Seth David is the chief nerd and president of Nerd Enterprises, Inc. which provides consulting and training services in accounting and productivity based software. Consulting services range from basic bookkeeping to CFO-level services such as financial modeling.