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April's Featured Speaker: Kevin Paider

Kevin was recently a featured speaker at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York in early March.

How to Choose the Food Service Software that's Right for You

The challenges of running a food service operation are numerous and complex.  Owners and operators are looking for ways to make their jobs easier and the world of technology is ready to assist.  To do this the software must be easy to use, increase productivity, control costs and save money.

There are a large number of software products available to help.  You should consider your operation’s needs and look for a solution that will provide you the depth of detail needed.   To best determine a software solution you should consider the following items.

1. Cost Savings- Let’s face it, the bottom line matters.  With the costs of running a business consistently on the rise any type of program that saves money can help make a difference.

  • Food Costing Programs compute what your food cost is and break down the information that is part of that calculation.  Having a program that also calculates theoretical costs will help you focus on the gaps to improve your margins.
  • Tracking Purchases will allow you to know how you are spending your money and control your checkbook.  Using a software program to monitor your purchases can show you price comparisons and spending trends.  
  • Tracking Waste will provide you the ability to record items discarded before use.  This increases visibility to mistakes and to items that have an expired shelf life. 

2.    Efficiency- Look for assistance to decrease redundancies, save time and increase the productivity in your operation.

  • Inventory Programs automatically calculate the inventory value based off the latest purchase price.  Additional efficiencies come from setting count sheets in a walking order.  This time savings is multiplied every inventory cycle.  
  • Labor Management Programs provide a detailed analysis of money spent by individual, department, and the overall operation.  Finding a software program that compares actual hours vs. scheduled hours will help you analyze excess labor costs.
  • Scheduling Programs are fundamental to managing labor costs.  It is improbable to hit labor goals without a properly forecasted schedule.  Scheduling programs allow you to create templates for regular use as well as adjustments for peak and non-peak times. 

3.    Knowledge- Implement software systems that share information.  

  • Sales Interfaces integrate Point of Sale information into other programs. This is useful to have an automatic depletion of inventory and provide purchasing recommendations.    
  • Nutrition Analysis is on the rise due to labeling regulations and the increased demands of people with dietary restrictions.  Software programs exist that produce standard nutrition labels with ingredients, totals, and allergens.
  • Lot Tracking is a function that allows you to trace the path of ingredients throughout the establishment.  This is beneficial for product recalls or a foodborne illness outbreak.

When looking at software I recommend you consider what functionality is important, research the products you are interested in to determine what each is capable of doing on its own and if it is compatible with other software programs.  This should help you in the quest to save time and money.

More about Kevin Paider:
Kevin Paider is the Training Manager at Culinary Software Services, designing training plans for the company, managing implementation projects for complex operations, supporting internal staff development, and speaking at conventions and trade shows. Kevin specializes in on-site operational trainings, and presents on food costing and food safety. Kevin has over 25 years of experience in the foodservice industry in general management and training management. He has a B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and has previously trained on food cost controls, HACCP, waste management, food and alcohol safety, operational management, and leadership for companies such as Professional Food Service Management, Country Kitchen, Old Chicago, and Rock Bottom. In addition, Kevin has trained on implementation and use of point-of-sale and back-office software programs, and has opened many restaurants both as a manager and as a trainer. He is a certified ServSafe and ServSafe Alcohol instructor, and has consulted with businesses nationwide, addressing food cost controls and food safety. 





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