15 apps for restaurants that can make work and life easier

Image depicts a person wearing black rimmed glasses speaking on a mobile phone. There is a laptop on the table in front of them.

When it comes to tech tools for restaurants, some places only want a basic restaurant waitlist app. Others need an all-in-one platform that helps with every area of the hospitality business. But today, pretty much all restaurateurs rely on at least some restaurant technology. And it usually takes the form of apps on their iPhones.

In fact, restaurants use an average of 3 technology tools to manage their back offices alone. There’s a lot that emerging restaurant technology can do for you these days. It can take a lot of mistakes, miscommunications, data entry, and drudgery out of running a small business. Here are the top 15 apps to consider to make your life easier:

If you’ve ever found yourself wandering the bar shouting, “Smith, party of 4” you already know you need a restaurant waitlist app. NextMe is a simple and inexpensive app that gives restaurants an easy way to organize incoming guests and text them when their table is ready. If you’re on OpenTable, you have a robust online waitlist built in.

Image depicts a person holding a phone. The phone is showing a food delivery application. There is greenery and a watering can in the background.

This tech solution helps restaurants tackle accounting, operations, and human resources. It integrates with POS systems, banks, and outside vendors. It aims to be a tech solution to some of the most common back-office headaches restaurant owners face. Back of House is another good option in this category.

Restaurant owners tend to be people on-the-go. If you need a notetaking app that can capture your every thought, idea, inspiration and reminder, give Evernote a try. You can quickly save text, images, audio, scans, PDFs, and documents. Reliable search functionality means you’ll be able to find any of your fleeting thoughts later, when you need them.

This handy app integrates the likes of Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates with your POS. This restaurant ordering technology means no one needs to enter incoming delivery orders into your POS manually. And when you change the menu on your end, it updates on all the delivery platforms at the same time.

This scheduling software is user-friendly, mobile, and cloud based. It’s a great scheduling app that makes shift planning simpler and faster. Employees like it because it can take a lot of the legwork out of finding people to swap shifts or letting their manager know they’re going to be out sick.

This tool helps you manage a restaurant’s inventory, ordering, and invoicing on the go. It also helps you easily see and make sense of sales data. BevSpot’s recipe tool can track the cost of menu items through ingredient-by-ingredient pricing and help you create more popular and profitable menu items over time.

Image depicts a server using an ipad. They are wearing a dark blue apron with white stripes. They are standing inside a fast-casual restaurant.

Kudos is an employee engagement system that helps you acknowledge team members. Just as importantly, Kudos lets them recognize each other’s excellent work, too. You decide what kind of awards or points to attach to the program. Employees can earn gift cards or you can customize the rewards.

You know social media is an important marketing tool for restaurants. If you are trying to manage feeds across multiple platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and more), you might want this tool to handle all incoming messages and comments in one place. Agorapulse allows you to batch write posts when you have time and schedule them for later. This is just one of the many great apps in this category. Try Buffer or Hootsuite as well.

If you’re trying to stay on top of industry news, the latest in technology, or food trends, you likely have a slew of websites and blogs you read on the regular. Feedly pulls it all together for you to read in one place so you never miss a thing. You can even tell it what topics you want to follow to get all the important insights flagged for you from all over the internet.

This food safety app helps restaurants create a smart food safety system in 15 minutes flat and a HACCP plan in just an hour. FoodDocs flags critical control points and runs a hazard analysis for you. A well designed mobile app lets managers get a quick food safety overview on demand and it sends notifications to your phone to alert you of food safety tasks when you need to handle them.

Image depicts a person holding a phone. The phone is showing a food delivery application.

Everyone has too many passwords to remember, and restaurant owners have more than most. Keep passwords at your fingers and secure at the same time with a password manager. Keypass is free, secure, sharable by multiple users, and able to generate strong random passwords.

Cloud Cover Music
A restaurant’s soundtrack is an important part of its atmosphere. But it’s not legal to pipe your personal Spotify playlists through the speakers. You need a service like Cloud Cover Music which lets you play a wide variety of great tunes without breaking the law.

The last thing a busy restaurant owner needs is a junked up inbox. Unroll.me is a simple way to manage all your many email subscriptions with a few taps. The best part is when you hit the “bulk unsubscribe” button and eliminate 100 annoying email subscriptions you don’t even remember signing up for. This saves you time by eliminating distractions and lets you focus on important messages from people you actually know and those emails newsletter you really want.

Your job is stressful. You’ve probably heard you should meditate, but you don’t have an hour a day. When it comes to mediation, you can get the benefits a few minutes at a time. InsightTimer is a free app that lets you pick a mediation based on the time you have (as little as one minute). It’s an easy way to squeeze a little stress reduction into your hectic day.

OpenTable is like getting a whole tech toolkit custom made for restaurants in one place. It’s a complete platform that helps you manage reservations,tables, waitlists, guests, marketing, experiences, online reviews and slew of other things, too.

Whether you add one of these apps to your workflow or all of them, it’s clear that restaurant tech is here to stay. It’s good to know what’s out there so you can find the tools that actually help you focus on the low-tech work you love–hospitality.