female restaurant owner wearing an apron and talking on the phone

When looking to save money on restaurant technology, many restaurant owners first consider shopping around for the cheapest options. While that might work for some, experience shows that going cheap for cheap’s sake doesn’t usually pan out. If you really want to save money on restaurant technology, here’s what you need to know.

Focus on Essential Restaurant Technology First

For new food service businesses, it’s crucial to only pay for what you need right now to run your business. Avoid falling into the trap of shiny object syndrome—getting distracted by every new gadget or system. Start by mastering a few essential tools before expanding into more complex systems.

For example, a new quick service restaurant needs a POS system to process payments and accept online orders, plus a Kitchen Display System (KDS system) to keep track of orders. However, they don’t need reservations, robust inventory options, or complicated reporting systems right away. Focus on the essentials and add more features as your business grows.

Bundle Restaurant Technology Services with One Provider

Consolidating your services with one provider can save you a lot of time and money. Here’s why: You only have one number to call for technical support, one bill to keep track of each month, and you avoid the hassle of trying to connect various systems and devices yourself.

Consider the story of a BBQ restaurant owner I met at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. He was juggling multiple apps for online ordering, delivery, POS, bookkeeping, and marketing. He was paying a lot for these services, and it was difficult to manage everything during rush hours. Switching to a single provider who could handle all these services saved him over $600 a month and made his operations run much smoother.

Choose Restaurant Technology Tailored to Your Business

POS systems are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different types of businesses have different needs, even within the food service industry. The needs of a food truck are very different from those of a full-service fine dining restaurant.

A POS system originally developed for retail might work initially for a small food service business, but business owners quickly find it limited. It might lack essential features like online ordering, QR code ordering, and kitchen display systems. Even among restaurant POS systems, those designed for full-service restaurants include features like keeping credit card tabs open, tracking tables and seating, and accepting reservations—features that quick service restaurants don’t need and shouldn’t be paying for.

Bryce T., owner of Jack and Jill’s Family Entertainment, added, “Table Needs has been super adaptable [and] has been able to work with our needs without us having to retrofit an existing program.”

Regularly Audit Your Restaurant Technology Expenses

It’s easy to become complacent with your current provider and lose track of how much your system is actually costing you. Don’t let this happen to you! 

Schedule quarterly reviews of your bills and bank statements to ensure you’re paying what you signed up for. Unfortunately, there are restaurant technology service providers that advertise certain fees or introductory offers but upon a closer look at your bill, you’ll find you’re paying much higher rates.

Watch out for processing fees for different credit cards, sneaky rate hikes that add up over time, and charges for services you don’t use. Again, make sure you’re only paying for what you actually need and use.

Using a restaurant budget tool that’s built into your POS system, like Table Needs Cash Flow – Restaurant Budget Management, makes it easy for owners of quick service restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks to understand their cash flow and make more intentional, data-backed financial decisions. 

Learn from Other Restaurant Owners

Instead of spending countless hours combing through sales pages and online reviews, talk to other restaurant and food truck owners. Connect with local business owners and join popular Facebook groups like Food Truck Training to get honest feedback and recommendations.

Phil S., owner of K’s Japanese Kitchen, shared, “The online ordering system, the in-house system, kitchen display system, pick-up—everything is on one platform. Table Needs is a great product for a very reasonable price.”

Key Points about Saving Money on Restaurant Technology 

To truly save money on restaurant technology, keep these key points in mind:

  • Focus on essential technology first: Start with the basics and expand as needed.
  • Bundle services with one provider: Save money and simplify your operations.
  • Choose technology tailored to your business: Avoid paying for unnecessary features.
  • Regularly audit your expenses: Ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
  • Learn from other restaurant owners: Leverage the experiences of your peers.

By following these strategies, you can streamline your operations, reduce costs, and focus on what matters most—running a successful quick service restaurant.

Ready to save money on your restaurant technology needs?

See how our all-in-one Restaurant Operations Platform can help your quick service restaurant, coffee shop, or food truck run a profitable business. Book a hassle-free demo with Table Needs today to see the platform in action!

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