Restaurant Management System

February 15, 2024 by
Restaurant Management System
Office Dr. Abdel GhanY

Small Business Guide to a Restaurant Management System

How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the restaurant industry, offering innovative solutions for time and resource management while enhancing guest experience and profitability.

For restaurant owners and marketers, the integration of AI in the food and beverages industry represents a transformative opportunity. With the rise of innovative startups and cutting-edge technology, AI is revolutionizing how restaurants operate and make decisions.

By adopting AI-driven solutions, your restaurants can streamline operations, minimize waste, and enhance guest experiences, leading to higher productivity and guest satisfaction.

As the AI sector expands, embracing these technologies will position your restaurant at the forefront of the industry, giving you a significant competitive edge in this evolving market.

AI technology empowers you to engage effectively with both loyal patrons and potential new guests through personalized marketing. It provides deep insights into guest behavior, enabling you to tailor your services and messaging to meet their preferences.

Moreover, AI streamlines operational tasks, freeing up valuable time for you to focus on business growth and guest satisfaction.

35% of restaurant chains plan to implement AI in their operations within the next year, illustrating a striking trend: the digital and culinary worlds are increasingly converging. This figure serves as a clear indicator, guiding us toward the future direction of the restaurant industry.

And according to Business Insider, 60% of restaurants who implemented AI technology say it’s critical in improving their processes.

In this article, we look at the practical applications of AI in the restaurant industry, demonstrating how it can elevate your business by boosting revenue, enhancing guest loyalty, and ultimately your bottom line – crucial in today’s uncertain economic times.

If you want to open a restaurant, you’ll need to create a business plan. A restaurant business plan is the blueprint that outlines your entire vision, and it explains in detail how the new business will take shape and operate once the doors are open.

No matter where you’re at in your restaurant ownership journey, your business plan will be your north star. Whether you’re at the initial stage of considering opening a restaurant — thinking about what kind of food you’d serve, how you’d design the space, and how you’d want your customers to feel — or you’re further down the line and it’s time to start securing capital, finding investors and business partners, and thinking about real estate, you'll be referring back to your business plan constantly and it will keep you focused on the task at hand.

The Importance of a Restaurant Business Plan

A business plan provides business owners, stakeholders, investors, and leaders with an organized guide to how you'll make your vision for your new restaurant a reality, making sure that nothing is overlooked as you grow your business. When you're in the weeds with construction, licensing, staffing, and other operational stressors, your business plan will act as a roadmap and help you stay focused. Going forward without one can make the messy world of restaurant opening much tougher to navigate.

Restaurant business plans are also crucial for securing potential investors. In most cases, opening a new restaurant requires attracting some outside capital from hospitality investors or people who want to be your silent partners. Before they invest in your dream, they need to see that you’ve got a concrete plan for success. 

The business plan shows investors that you’ve thought through every expense and every possible scenario. It provides them with a complete description of your plan — and why and how it'll succeed.

How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan (Description, Examples, Proposals)

Whether this is your first business plan or your 10th, it’s always helpful to work off of a template designed for your industry. This restaurant business plan template contains all the most important sections of your business plan   

The Key Elements of a Restaurant Business Plan

Create a Branded Cover Page

Incorporate your branding with a cover page that features your logo, your brand fonts, and all of the relevant contact information.

Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first section to write in any business plan. It introduces and summarizes your entire vision. This section should introduce the key elements of what will be discussed throughout the business plan, and should catch the reader's attention, make them feel invested in your idea, and entice them to keep reading.

An executive summary includes things like your restaurant’s mission statement, proposed concept, how you'll execute on the plan, overview of potential costs, and the anticipated return on investment. This is also a great place to discuss your business’s core values.

Write a Company Overview

In this section, you’ll begin to explain all the elements that will define your proposed business. 

The company overview introduces the basic information about the ownership structure, location, and type of restaurant, and then outline the vision for the customer experience  — what’s on the menu? What style of service will they experience? 

You can also dive into how you plan to engage and retain great staff through good policies and a supportive environment.

Discuss your plans for the physical space of the restaurant in this section as well, including the layout, capacity, and hours of operation.

Finally, you can get into describing the restaurant’s brand. What feelings will your restaurant’s design evoke? What color scheme are you going for in your decor, and how will that translate to your online presence? Show that you've thought about it all already.

Include an Industry Analysis

Describe the existing conditions in the market sector that your restaurant will exist in, as well as in the specific location or area that you plan to open the restaurant. 

This section should cover things like the growth of the local economy and industry, existing restaurants in the area, ongoing or upcoming infrastructure projects, nearby business and residential areas, and average foot and car traffic counts in the area.

1. Target Market

The restaurant industry is an extremely competitive landscape and finding your niche is crucial. What will make your restaurant stand out?

You should have a strong idea of who your restaurant will attract and who you hope will become your repeat customers. Describe your target market and how it compares to the restaurant industry as a whole in terms of diner demographics, characteristics, and behaviors.

2. Location Analysis

In most cases, aspiring restaurant owners don’t have a specific location selected before they create and pitch the business plan, so focus on the general area or city you plan to open the restaurant and why you chose that specific area

Be sure to include things like growth of the local economy, major citywide events, and infrastructure projects nearby. 

Compare the existing market conditions to your intended target market. Potential restaurant investors will look at this section of the business plan carefully to make sure that the market in the proposed location aligns with the ideal customer profile.

3. Competitive Analysis

This section is where you dig deep on sharing which other businesses exist around your proposed location.

You’ll be explaining the existing competitive landscape: Share the number of other restaurants in the area, paying particular attention to restaurants with similar concepts. Investors will want to understand what can make customers choose your restaurant over your competitors. What will make your food and service stand out? Will you be open for more hours per week than your competitors? Get into anything that will give your business an edge.

Detail Your Restaurant Marketing Plan

The marketing section explains your strategy for promoting your restaurant before and after opening. If you’re wondering where to start on how to market your restaurant,  

Identify specific tactics you will rely on before and after the restaurant is operational. If you’re planning on working with a public relations manager, or launching a social media account to document the build-out of the restaurant and generate excitement, share that. If you’ve already got a sizable social media following on any platform, share that too. 

Talk about which channels you’ll rely on once you’re up and running, whether it be email marketing, regular social media sharing, charity partnerships, or local TV or radio ads. Share if you’ll be investing in a customer relationship management software to keep in touch with your loyal guests, or if you’ll have some kind of loyalty program in place.

Put Together an Operations Plan

In this section, you should paint a picture of how the restaurant will operate day-to-day once it’s open. Include in this section:

1. Staffing

What positions will you need and how many people do you expect in each of the different roles? How will you set yourself apart as a great employer? What will the approximate pay be for each position? How do you plan to recruit staff and what are the hiring criteria for each role? 

2. Customer service policies and procedures

How do you expect to provide an excellent and consistent guest experience? What are the specific service values, policies, and procedures you will put in place and how will they be enforced or encouraged? 

3. Restaurant point of sale and other systems like payroll

How will you track sales and inventory, provide takeout and delivery, manage labor, control cash, process payroll, and accept various payment types?

4. Suppliers

Where will you source your ingredients? Where will you buy equipment, including the one-time purchases and the things that’ll need to be regularly replenished?

Complete A Detailed Financial Analysis with First-Year Projections

The financial analysis is often one of the last parts of a business plan. Investors expect to see a breakdown of how you plan to spend their money in the first year, as well as a comparison of the anticipated costs and projected revenue. There are a few major elements you should be sure to include in this section.

1. Investment Plan

In this section, you explain the initial investment you’re hoping to receive and how you plan to spend the money in the first year. This will usually include kitchen equipment, furniture and decor, payroll, legal fees, marketing, and some working capital.

2. Projected Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement 

The business plan is created long before the restaurant actually opens, so creating this profit and loss statement will require you to make some educated guesses. 

You’ll have to estimate the various costs and sales numbers included in a P&L based on the size of the restaurant, your target market, and the existing market in the area you’ve selected.  

3. Break-Even Analysis

This one is pretty straightforward: Investors will want to know how much revenue you will need to bring in each month in order to break even once all of the various overhead and operational costs are factored into the equation. There are always going to be some variable costs, so make a note of what you expect those to be in your analysis.

Show how you expect to generate the required revenue, even in your slow months.

4. Expected Cash Flow

Your expected cash flow will depend on how often you expect to purchase inventory, the size of your staff and payroll, and the payroll schedule. Once your restaurant is operational, some months will be better than others. The cash flow analysis should help investors understand that, based on your expectations, your restaurant will be able to support itself even in the less fruitful months without requiring additional investments.

How to Present a Restaurant Business Plan

Once you’ve written your complete business plan, it’s time to learn it inside and out. Investors will want to see that you’re knowledgeable about every area of your business, and confident that you can pull it off. 

When you feel ready, send off your business plan via email to anyone in your network who you think might be interested in investing in your business. Hopefully, you’ll get some bites, and investors will want to meet in person to discuss the restaurant. 

Some investors may want to see the information from your business plan in the form of a pitch presentation in addition to receiving the business plan as a printed booklet for their perusal. Create the presentation using a professional template from either Google Sheets or PowerPoint, and practice, practice, practice until you can do the whole presentation without referring to any notes.

How to Leverage AI For Restaurants

1. Get listed

Where once on-demand ordering was considered cutting edge, today customer service is being automated and streamlined even further.

Halla is a great example of an application challenging what is now the norm. The recommendation engine amalgamates a number of food delivery applications to present relevant cafes and eateries based on a user’s location and predetermined “taste profile.” Ensuring your restaurant is available via these services optimizes your chances of making the cut as a “restaurant you might like.”

2. Keep up with your customers

Popmenu enables you to keep up with your guests and give a great customer experience, even when your staff is busy. They offer an AI answering solution because a missed call is a missed transaction. This AI answering system captures all data your customers ask about without disturbing your staff. Using AI technology is a practical way to make busy phone lines work for you, not against you. This is restaurant technology that even a small restaurant can implement, as pricing is only $0.47 cents/hour.

Popmenu also offers dynamic menu item technology, that can make recommendations based on customers’ past orders. Or, say a customer liked a special. When your restaurant brings that item back on the menu the guest can receive a notification, telling them that the item they liked is back in stock.

Millennials and especially Gen Zers are much more inclined to open their wallets if they feel they are part of a two-way conversation; making use of tools that keep the conversation lines open not only fosters affinity and loyalty but also contributes to increased foot traffic and revenue.

3. Go big for big data

You may not realize it, but some of the software solutions you’re currently using – like your employee scheduling software or point of sale system – contain a goldmine of information that can help you run your restaurant like a well-oiled machine. Your POS system can keep track of past takeout orders and suggest the same order going forward. This makes for a quicker food ordering process, resulting in a better guest experience.

These systems effortlessly manage and monitor high volumes of data on the daily; some even predict things like labor needs customer behaviors, food quality, and inventory counts, taking the guesswork out of what to do when.

In the near future, these same applications will be able to use the data your restaurant generates to do things like create labor-optimal employee schedules, or use your sales data to predict which items to sell and increase your profits.

4. Get on board with voice search

With half of the US population using voice ordering and voice assistant features daily, and nearly 40% giving preference to voice over smartphones when seeking information about a restaurant, if there’s one AI movement to get behind, it’s voice commerce.

Restaurants can easily create “skills” for tools like Amazon Alexa that can help people instantly order without ever having to lift a finger. Grubhub, for example, has enabled this technology to allow its users to place fast, hands-free orders.

The Future of AI for Restaurants

The bottom line for the vast majority of today’s restaurateurs with regard to AI is this: don’t sweat it, but also don’t forget it. If anything, look at it as a helpful tool. Not an enemy.

You should keep a watchful eye on AI and machine learning trends and breakthroughs, but don’t add unnecessary stress to your plate trying to squirrel away cash to afford a fleet of $50,000 self-serve kiosks like McDonalds. Let the early adopters do the dirty work, but remain vigilant of which technologies might serve you, your staff, and your customers in the future.

A restaurant management system (RMS) is an essential tool for any new restaurant. These systems are designed to keep your restaurant running by tracking employees, inventory and sales. A typical RMS setup usually includes both software and hardware, such as a cash register, barcode scanner and receipt printer, depending on how your restaurant is organized. Most importantly, an RMS is a comprehensive tool that allows you to see your restaurant and its needs at a glance, which can simplify your workload on a day-to-day basis. 

Many restaurant management systems are designed to integrate easily with other software applications, which allows you to customize a system that works well for your business. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing your restaurant management system.

What is a restaurant management system?

A restaurant management system is a type of point-of-sale (POS) software specifically designed for restaurants, bars, food trucks and others in the foodservice industry. Unlike a POS system, RMS encompasses all back-end needs, such as inventory and staff management. These systems also handle payment processing, order management and other tasks staff would typically perform.


Restaurant management systems streamline operations to allow staff to focus on more important tasks, such as providing excellent customer service, and gives managers time to focus on overseeing their restaurants more efficiently.

What is the difference between an RMS and a standard POS system?

While both systems are classified as POS, an RMS offers features unique to the foodservice industry like ingredient-level inventory updates, the ability for waitstaff to send orders directly from the table to the kitchen, split billing and kitchen displays. 

What are the benefits of an RMS?

An RMS offers more features than a standard POS system. Restaurants can perform these tasks with an RMS:

  • Track sales and orders
  • View accurate, real-time financial statements
  • Manage staff scheduling
  • Access data through the cloud
  • Utilize a built-in customer relationship management (CRM) tool to build mailing lists or start a rewards program

What types of RMS are available?

Because every restaurant has unique needs, there are different RMS types from which to choose. To determine which type best suits your restaurant or bar, think of the features your restaurant could use and how important each of those features is to you.

1. End to end

This is the most robust and comprehensive type of RMS. The main features include core POS, inventory control, CRM, staff, menu, order and payment management, technical support and reporting and analytics. Depending on the RMS vendor, you may be able to mix and match features.

2. POS

The POS is the core of the system and allows you to integrate it with third-party systems for inventory, accounting, marketing and other key functions. [Read related article: The Best POS Systems of 2024]

3. iPad or Android only

Most systems are designed to run only on one device type to maintain the integrity of the system. Determine which operating system you will use in your restaurant before choosing a system.

4. General POS

This system is designed for businesses that have both retail and foodservices available. It offers seamless crossover with add-on modules.

Did You Know?

The best restaurant POS systems help you take orders, accept payments and manage tables, staff, menus and inventory. Check out some of the top providers from TouchBistro and Revel Systems to Linga POS and Upserve POS.

What can I manage with an RMS?

You can manage almost every pertinent aspect of your restaurant, depending on which type of RMS you choose. With an end-to-end system, you will have complete access to these functions and features: 

  • Employee schedules, including daily, vacation and sick time
  • Payroll
  • Financial statements
  • Inventory
  • Accounting
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Core POS
  • CRM
  • Menu
  • Reservations

What should I consider before getting an RMS?

Because this system will be responsible for many of your day-to-day processes, it’s important to find one that works well for you and gives you exactly what your restaurant needs. Start by determining a clear purpose you need the system to serve and a list of necessary features. Next, give serious consideration to the following aspects.


Determine what type of system you need. If you’re going to be running your business on Android devices, do not get an iPad system. If you want a one-stop shop, an end-to-end system will likely be the most cost-effective option. 


If you have plans to grow or franchise your restaurant, buy a system that can grow with it. Make sure your system can handle an increase in the number of terminals and handheld devices, provides advanced large-scale analytics, offers multibranch add-ons and can handle a large number of employees (and their schedules).


No system is perfect, so you will most likely have to integrate your RMS with other software apps to achieve everything you need. You should make sure your RMS integrates easily with other systems, such as OpenTable or Yelp for reservations, so you don’t waste time repetitively entering data into separate programs.

Ease of use

Running a restaurant is tough as it is. You don’t want to waste time troubleshooting your RMS in the middle of a dinner rush. Spend a good deal of time testing the RMS out, ensuring that it is intuitive and problems are easy to fix.

Restaurant management system pricing

The price of your restaurant management system will depend on how complex it is as well as how many locations you’ll be managing with it. 

A basic RMS that manages your restaurant’s accounting and sales needs typically costs around $150 per year. For a more complex RMS suite that tracks all of your business’s needs across multiple locations, you could pay thousands of dollars per month. Additional integrated hardware, such as registers or tablets, will also increase your upfront costs. 

Your payment schedule will also depend on whether your RMS software offers perpetual or subscription licensing. Perpetual licensing requires you to pay a large sum upfront to own the license indefinitely; while your monthly or yearly costs will be lower, your initial investment will be much higher. In contrast, subscription licensing requires a smaller monthly or annual fee; while upfront payments are lower, you’ll pay more in recurring fees. 

Over time, both perpetual and subscription pricing options typically even out. Discuss vendors’ pricing structures with them, keeping in mind your bar or restaurant’s budget and needs.

Features to look for in restaurant management systems

When determining which restaurant management system to use, look for these five useful features. 

1. Sales and tax tracking

Your RMS should track all sales data, such as your top menu items, busiest selling times, best-performing team members and profits, to help you make important business decisions. Your software should also provide detailed records for tax reporting purposes.

>> Learn More: How to Increase Your Restaurant’s Profits

2. Order management

Your restaurant staff should be able to manage tables, reservations, checks and menu items easily through your RMS. You and your managers should also be able to control refunds, voids and comps and view order statuses. If you operate a bar, your RMS should allow you to preauthorize credit cards to open tabs. 

Order management provides a seamless experience for both customers and staff, eliminating the risk of human error and ensuring all information is in one place.

3. Inventory management

Knowing exactly how much product you have on hand will help you determine when and how much to reorder from your vendors. Some RMS software offers inventory management options, while others may require integration with third-party software to help you with this.

4. Reporting and customer data

If your chosen RMS tracks and filters your sales and customer data, you’ll have access to a wealth of information to help you grow your business and make better marketing decisions. Understanding your customers will help you better target them through advertising and personalizing their dining experiences. For instance, you can send gift cards or credits for free meals on their birthdays or other anniversaries. 

5. Marketing, gift cards and reward programs

Consider a system that offers marketing tools, such as promotions and loyalty or rewards programs. Your RMS may have native marketing tools or require third-party software integration for this. If you’re interested in offering gift cards for your restaurant, make sure your RMS can help you manage that as well. 

A good restaurant management system makes all the difference in how well your restaurant runs. While there are many factors to consider, it is worth taking the time to determine exactly how the system must serve your business and what you want to gain from it. When you have a clear goal in mind and a list of nonnegotiable features, you’re well on your way to getting up and running with a restaurant management system. 

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