The best restaurant small business accounting software should be able to track sales and expenses for multiple locations and business segments, integrate with a point-of-sale (POS) system and manage unique aspects of the industry like tips. We looked at several options and narrowed it down to six that would be ideal for restaurants, bars and food trucks.
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Top 6 Best Restaurant Accounting Software 2018
|Restaurant 365||(Best overall) Any restaurant that wants accounting, payroll and operations all in one system|
|QuickBooks Desktop||A robust accounting software that seamlessly integrates with its own POS syste|
|QuickBooks Online||Restaurant owners who want a system that they can set up on their own|
|Restaurant Solutions||Those needing extra accounting help to ensure their books are accurate|
|Xero||A foodservice business that has between 1-10 employees|
|Sage 50cloud Accounting||A business owner who has an accounting or bookkeeping background|
How We Evaluated Restaurant Accounting Software
Having access to up-to-date financial information on a daily or weekly basis is critical to restaurant owners. Food and beverage costs make up the highest expenses for a restaurant. As a result, it’s important to review these costs regularly so you can make informed decisions like the number of ingredients to order, which supplier to order from so you get the lowest cost and how to price your food so that you make a profit. Your restaurant accounting solution should provide this information.
Based on our research, we looked at cost, how user-friendly the product is and the following:
- Data accessibility: Access to data 24/7/365 is critical for restaurateurs so that they can review reports and update the books once the restaurant is closed for the day
- Track sales: You need software that can track sales summarized on a daily or weekly basis by location or department like food, catering or merchandise sales
- Track expenses: Detailed tracking of all ingredients and labor costs is critical to understanding the profitability of a restaurant
- Payroll: The ability to track the unique payroll of a restaurant like tips, open shifts as well as the high turnover that is typical of the industry
- Reporting: Detailed weekly reporting of all revenue and expenses is critical in order to add and remove menu items or adjust the amount of staff to accommodate a last-minute booking
- Integration with POS systems: Selecting accounting software that integrates with your POS system will ensure that manual tasks are automated, saving you both time and money
Based on the criteria above, Restaurant365 is our recommended accounting software for restaurants. In addition to tracking all income and expenses, it also integrates with most POS and payroll systems. In addition, you can access detailed reports that will help you stay on top of your food and beverage costs to ensure you are getting the best price possible and negotiating where you can to reduce your costs which will help you to maximize your profits.
Restaurant365: Best Overall Restaurant Accounting Software for Small Businesses
Restaurant365 is ideal for a food truck, small bistro or a franchise looking for software that combines restaurant management tools like ordering, scheduling staff and creating recipes to restaurant bookkeeping basics like tracking income and expenses. Restaurant365 is the priciest out of the competitors in this list but, with the exception of RSI, it is the only one that includes tools to help manage your restaurant.
Restaurant365 Pricing and Features
Restaurant365 has three pricing plans, starting with Essential at $249 per month, per location. All plans including full accounting features like accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R). In addition, they also include bonus features like budgeting and sales forecasting. The Professional and Enterprise plans also include features to help you manage the day-to-day operations. If you have a unique business model that requires custom features, the Enterprise plan is ideal for you.
Restaurant365 Tiered Pricing & Features
Restaurant Ops Features:
|Customized software solutions|
The Essential plan is the most economical plan starting at $249 per month or $2,988 annually for one location. If you have multiple restaurant locations, you will need to multiply this figure by the total locations to get your true cost. The Essentials plan includes all of the accounting basics you need such as A/P, A/R, Inventory management and integration with your POS system, bank accounts and even your vendor suppliers.
The Essential plan is ideal for any restaurant, caterer or food truck owner looking for software they can use to manage all income and expenses for one or more locations. At the same time, they can integrate their existing POS and payroll solution so that all of the data is stored in one central location, Restaurant365. This will allow them to run financial reports that include all aspects of the business, income, expenses, payroll and inventory.
The Professional plan is the middle tier plan that starts at $299 per month or $3,588 annually for one location. For the additional $600 vs. Essential plan, you get all of the features included in the Essentials plan plus many other features to assist you with restaurant management; such as scheduling, recipes, manager log, smart ordering, smart prep and catering.
The Professional plan is ideal for a caterer, food truck or restaurant business that not only needs help with the back office accounting but needs assistance with managing the day-to-day operations like scheduling employees, ordering ingredients and supplies and managing recipes and menu items.
The Enterprise plan is the top tier plan that offers a more customized software solution. Because this plan allows you to customize the software to meet your individual needs, the price will vary; you will need to contact Restaurant365 to get your custom quote. The great thing about this plan is you can have it your way so you can be sure that the features included in the Professional plan will be your starting point.
The Enterprise plan is ideal for large restaurants, franchises and an owner with a fleet of food trucks. If the Essentials and Professional plans do not meet your needs, the Enterprise plan will since it is customized based on your individual business needs.
What Restaurant365 Is Missing
The only downside to Restaurant365 is that they don’t offer any type of payroll system like most of their competitors which mean that you will have to use an outside company to manage your payroll. The good news is that Restaurant365 integrates with many of the popular payroll service companies like ADP.
Restaurant365 User Reviews
There are not many reviews on Restaurant365. However, the reviews that we were able to find were mostly positive. Customers like how user-friendly the software is and how easy it is to manage all aspects of accounting like inventory, expense reporting and invoicing. However, one customer said that setting up the software can be difficult and a bit time-consuming.
QuickBooks Desktop: Best Restaurant Accounting Software for POS Integration
QuickBooks Desktop software is used by millions of small businesses all around the world. It is ideal for most restaurants, coffee shops and food trucks that need a robust restaurant accounting solution. QuickBooks Desktop stands out from its competitors because they also have a QuickBooks POS system that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Desktop products, additional fees will apply.
QuickBooks Desktop Pricing and Features
QuickBooks Desktop comes in three editions that start at $299.95. You can manage all income and expenses for your food truck or restaurant easily with all three products. Unlike its competitors, which are cloud-based products, QuickBooks Desktop requires you to install software on your computer in order to use it. Both the Premier and Enterprise versions include a customized chart of accounts and reports for retail businesses.
QuickBooks Desktop Tiered Pricing & Features
QuickBooks Pro is the most affordable desktop product with a starting price of $299.95. QuickBooks Pro can perform all accounting basics, including manage accounts payable and accounts receivable, track inventory and it includes more than 100 detailed reports that you can run with just a few clicks.
QuickBooks Pro is ideal for any restaurant or food truck business with less than $1 million in annual revenue. Unlike QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise, QuickBooks Pro is not customized specifically for a restaurant business. However, if you can invest a bit more time during the setup process, you can customize the software to meet your needs easily.
QuickBooks Premier is next up in the desktop product line with a starting price of $499.95. In addition to the features included in Pro, you can choose the retail industry version, which includes a customized chart of accounts, products and services list and custom reports, so you don’t have to spend as much time during the setup process like you do with the Pro version.
QuickBooks Premier is ideal for any restaurant or food truck business that generates less than $1 million per year and wants software that requires very little set up time to hit the ground running.
QuickBooks Enterprise is the top-tier desktop product priced at $1,100 annually, which is $800 more than Pro and $600 more than Premier. Unlike Pro and Premier, the pricing structure is an annual subscription. Therefore, as long as you remain current, you get ongoing tech support for the year instead of just the first 30 days like Pro and Premier. In addition, you get the following additional features that are not included in Pro and Premier:
- Reporting for parent and subsidiary companies
- Granular user permissions
- Multiple location tracking & reporting
- Mobile Inventory bar code scanning
- Greater capacity of information (100,000 charts of accounts vs. 10,000 for Pro & Premier)
QuickBooks Enterprise is ideal for large-scale restaurants that generate more than $1 million annually and have between 20 to 250 employees. Whether you are a franchisee with multiple locations or a food truck business with multiple trucks you can keep track of all income and expenses for each location or truck easily and also run both individual and consolidated reports to see the overall health of each location as well as your entire operation.
What QuickBooks Desktop Is Missing
The primary issue with QuickBooks Desktop is that you can’t access your data 24/7/365 from any mobile device like you can with most of its competitors on this list. However, you can purchase hosting services for about $50 per month, per user. This will allow you to access your data from multiple computers as opposed to just the one where the software is installed.
QuickBooks Desktop User Reviews
Overall, user reviews are positive for QuickBooks Desktop products. Users like how robust the software is and how easy it is to use. In addition, customers like using software that they won’t outgrow in a year. Check out our QuickBooks Desktop user reviews page for more details.
QuickBooks Online: Best User-friendly Restaurant Accounting Software for Small Businesses
QuickBooks Online is what I call the non-accountants’ software because you don’t need any bookkeeping or accounting background to use the program. You can sign up for your QuickBooks Online account in a few short minutes and start using it right away. QuickBooks Online is ideal for any restaurant, bar or food truck business owner who is self-sufficient and wants to do their own books. If you get stuck, you can contact support any time since tech support is included in all three plans.
QuickBooks Online Pricing and Features
QuickBooks Online comes in three pricing plans between $20 to $60 per month. All three plans allow you to track income and sales, connect bank and credit card accounts and include prebuilt reports that you can run in a few minutes. The QuickBooks Online Plus plan is the most expensive at $60 per month but includes key features that you won’t find in Simple Start or Plus like inventory management, budgeting and the ability to track profitability for multiple locations.
QuickBooks Online Tiered Pricing & Features
|Track Profitability for Multiple Locations|
QuickBooks Online Simple Start is the least expensive plan at $20 per month or $240 per year. This plan is limited in the number of features compared to Essentials and Plus. You can only connect one bank or credit card account, you cannot track and pay bills, but you can keep track of all sales and access more than 20 reports with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to manage inventory or track profits by location or department like you can with QuickBooks Online Plus.
Due to the inability to pay bills, connect more than one bank account and the lack of inventory management, we do not recommend QuickBooks Online Simple Start. Instead, check out QuickBooks Online Essentials or Plus plans, which allow you to pay bills and connect unlimited bank accounts.
QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan
QuickBooks Online Essentials is the mid-tier plan, starting at $35 per month or $420 annually. In addition to zero limitations on paying bills and connecting bank or credit card accounts, you have twice the number of reports at 40 vs. 20 in Simple Start, and you can give access to more users at three compared to one with Simple Start. However, similar to Simple Start you cannot manage inventory with this plan.
QuickBooks Online Essentials is ideal for a restaurant that has another method of keeping track of inventory and needs a system that makes it easy to track and pay vendor bills, reconcile all bank and credit card accounts and allows you to give your certified public accountant (CPA) or bookkeeper access to your data.
QuickBooks Online Plus Plan
QuickBooks Online Plus is the top tier plan at a whopping $60 per month or $720 per year. This is three times the cost of Simple Start at $240 per year and $300 more than Essentials at $420 per year. For this hefty price, you get many more features; you can manage your inventory, create budgets and track profitability for multiple locations and departments like kitchen vs. bar. You also have access to more than 65 reports vs. more than 20 reports for Simple Start and 40 or more reports for Essentials.
QuickBooks Online Plus is ideal for any restaurant, bar or food truck business that wants a system that will allow you do break down income and expenses by location, by truck and by business segments like food vs. beverage vs. merchandise sales and profitability.
What QuickBooks Online Is Missing
The one shortcoming that QuickBooks Online has is the software is not customized for a restaurant business. Therefore, you will have to spend a bit more time up front during the setup process to personalize the software to meet your specific needs.
QuickBooks Online User Reviews
QuickBooks Online has an overall rating of four out of five stars. Users who gave QuickBooks a positive review like how easy the product is to set up and use. They also like the QuickBooks Online app, which allows them to access their data from any mobile device easily. A couple of users feel that the price is a bit steep but admit that the amount of features included is worth the extra cost. Visit our QuickBooks Online user reviews page for more customer insight.
Restaurant Solutions: Best Restaurant Accounting Software with Access to a Team of Industry Experts
Restaurant Solutions (RSI) is ideal for a restaurant owner who is not just looking for restaurant bookkeeping software but a company that will teach them how to manage their books. What makes them unique is its commitment to educating its restaurant clients by providing its clients with access to a team of industry-specific accountants, tax specialists and operations trainers who all have deep knowledge and experience in the restaurant industry.
Restaurant Solutions Pricing
The pricing for RSI is based on a number of factors like type of restaurant and number of employees. You will have to contact RSI directly and provide them with your specific needs to receive a pricing quote.
Restaurant Solutions Features
RSI includes all of the basic features that you need to manage the books for any restaurant or food truck. In addition to having access to experts in the industry, you can also purchase its payroll service and manage your employees all in one system.
RSI has a proprietary accounting system called Lester that their customers use to access their data. This system is cloud-based, which means that you can access your data at any time from any mobile device with an internet connection. Someone in your organization will be responsible for providing a secure login for each person that needs to access the system.
Similar to its competitor, RSI integrates with a number of POS systems like Toast. This means that all of your sales data will seamlessly move into the Lester system so that you can run detailed reports to gather sales by server, menu item or department like kitchen vs. bar. You can check out the complete list of POS partners for more information.
Staying on top of vendor bills along with other expenses is important to maintain good credit and lasting business relationships. RSI has partnered with a number of food and beverage vendors to integrate with their systems so that you can receive invoices directly into RSI and eliminate paper bills altogether. Check out the full list of vendors that they currently import from, if you don’t see a vendor on the list, submit a request to RSI, and they will contact the vendor.
Unlike Restaurant365, RSI has a proprietary payroll system that you can purchase to manage all of your employees. In addition to cutting checks for hours worked, RSI Payroll Management system ensures that you are compliant with the most recent state and federal laws regarding sick time, overtime, paid time off, termination, new hire reporting and garnishments.
RSI Payroll services include the following benefits:
- Compliance & tax agent oversight and reporting: RSI will ensure that you are compliant with all federal and state laws regarding labor
- 100% web-based payroll management dashboard: You can access your payroll information using a secure login from any device with an internet connection
- Detailed payroll registers & reports: Access to detailed payroll reports and registers for all employees can be run with just a few clicks
- Employee checks in multiple payment forms: RSI allows you to pay employees with check, direct deposit or pay cards
- Payroll tax return preparation and payments: RSI tax specialists will prepare all city, state and federal payroll taxes for you
- ACA & ancillary payroll reporting: Safe Harbor and FTE Reporting is provided by the RSI team who will also guide you through the ACA process
- Benefit administration integration: RSI works with a number of benefit administration software companies, check out the partners’ page for more information
RSI is your one-stop shop for all sales, expenses and financial statement reports. With the integration of payroll and POS with the Lester accounting system, you can run detailed reports on sales, expenses and key financial statements such as Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statement.
What Restaurant Solutions is Missing
The one area where RSI could use improvement is the number of POS software products that they integrate with. Currently, it has a total of 14 POS partners vs. 40 POS partners that Restaurant365 has. However, it is still a very good accounting solution for any restaurant, caterer or food truck business.
Restaurant Solutions User Reviews
Unfortunately, we could not locate any online user reviews for RSI. If you have used RSI, please visit our RSI user reviews page to complete a review.
Xero: Best Restaurant Accounting Software with Payroll Processing
While Xero has not been around as long as some of its competitors, it is a great alternative to QuickBooks. We recommend Xero for any size restaurant with no more than 10 employees. When compared to other accounting software, Xero is the only product that automatically includes payroll processing as part of its standard packages. In addition to payroll processing, you can track all income and expenses, pay vendor bills and manage inventory with Xero.
Xero Pricing and Features
Xero has three pricing tiers that cost between $9 to $70 per month. All plans include unlimited users, detailed reports and the ability to track income and expenses. The Standard and Premium 10 plans include payroll processing for up to five or 10 employees respectively and the ability to track profitability for multiple locations and business segments like food, bar and merchandise.
Xero Tiered Pricing & Features
|Track Profitability for Multiple Locations|
Xero Starter Plan
The Xero Starter plan is the most budget-friendly at $9 per month or $108 per year. Similar to QuickBooks Simple Start, this plan is very limited; you can only pay five bills per month and invoice up to five customers monthly. In addition, you are limited to just one bank or credit card account, which cannot have more than 20 transactions to reconcile.
Similar to QuickBooks Simple Start, we do not recommend this plan because of its limitations in tracking and paying vendor bills and the limitations on connecting and reconciling bank or credit card accounts. Check out the Standard and the Premium 10 plans, which include more features than the Starter plan.
Xero Standard Plan
The Xero Standard plan is the middle tier plan, which starts at $30 per month or $360 per year, this is more than three times the cost of the Starter plan at $108 per year but does not have the same limitations. This plan allows you to track sales, pay all of your vendor bills and connect unlimited bank or credit card accounts. In addition, this plan also includes payroll processing for up to five employees at no additional cost.
Xero Standard is ideal for a restaurateur who wants an accounting software with an integrated payroll processing system so that they can keep payroll in-house. Full cycle payroll for up to five employees is included in this plan, and that means Xero will calculate payroll checks for you and you can also file and pay your payroll taxes electronically within the program.
Xero Premium 10 Plan
Xero Premium 10 is the top of the line plan that runs $70 per month or $840 per year. This is almost double the cost of the Standard plan or $360 per year. With this plan, you can process payroll for up to 10 employees, and you can manage sales and banking information in multiple currencies.
There are two features that would make Xero Premium 10 ideal over Xero Standard; if you have more than five employees that you need to pay or if you sell merchandise or purchase vendor supplies from overseas and you want to keep track of these transactions in a foreign currency. If neither of these situations exist, you should save the extra money and go with the Xero Standard plan.
What Xero Is Missing
Similar to QuickBooks Online, Xero is not customized for a restaurant business. However, it is a great option if you are willing to invest the time to make the required tweaks to the program to make it work for you.
Xero User Reviews
Xero has an overall rating of five out of five which means they have a lot of satisfied customers. Users shared that the program is very intuitive and user-friendly. A couple of negative reviews did express that the program is very basic and, if it doesn’t do something, you have to purchase an add-on which drives up the monthly cost. Head over to our Xero user reviews page to read all of the reviews.
Sage 50cloud Accounting: Best Restaurant Accounting Software for Small Businesses with an Accountant
Sage 50cloud Accounting is what I would call an accountant/bookkeepers software. If you have any bookkeeping or accounting knowledge, then you will have no problem using Sage 50cloud Accounting. Similar to QuickBooks, Sage has been around for at least a couple of decades and is more than capable of managing income and expenses for any size food truck, restaurant or catering business.
Sage 50cloud Accounting Pricing and Features
Similar to QuickBooks Online and Xero, Sage 50cloud Accounting offers three pricing tiers that start at $44.97 per month. All three tiers include the ability to do the accounting basics like manage bills and track sales. The ability to integrate with Microsoft Office 365 so you can access and share data from Outlook, Excel and Word is available for all three plans for an additional $12.50 per month.
Sage 50cloud Accounting Tiered Pricing & Features
|Microsoft Office 365 Integration|
|Track Profitability for Multiple Locations|
Sage 50 cloud Pro is the least expensive plan at $44.97 per month or $539.64 per year. This plan includes the essentials of accounting like paying bills, tracking sales, inventory management and the ability to generate detailed reports by location or department like merchandise or catering.
Sage 50cloud Pro is ideal for a small cafe or restaurant that does not need to give other users access to their data and relies on their POS or another system to keep track of inventory. If you do need to track inventory or give other users access to your data, then take a look at Sage 50cloud Premium.
Sage 50cloud Premium Accounting Plan
Sage 50cloud Premium is the mid-tier plan that runs $69.62 per month or $835.44 annually, which is almost $300 more than the Pro plan. For the additional cost, you can add up to a maximum of five users vs. a single user in Pro, for an additional fee. You can also keep track of inventory and run detailed reports by item to review quantities, cost and other pertinent details.
Sage 50cloud Premium is ideal for a food truck or restaurant business that needs to give access to more than one user and needs a system that will allow them to track food costs and quantities.
Sage 50cloud Quantum Accounting Plan
Sage 50cloud Quantum is the top tier plan at $175.87 per month or $2,110.44 per year, which is more than double the cost of Premium and almost four times the cost of the Pro plan. This plan processes transactions much faster than the Pro and Premium plans and includes a total of three users with an option to add up to a maximum of 40 users for an additional fee.
Sage 50cloud Quantum is ideal for larger restaurants and franchisees that have enterprise level accounting needs so they can keep track of an unlimited number of transactions across multiple locations and business units easily.
What Sage 50Cloud Accounting Is Missing
One downside to using Sage 50cloud Accounting is that you can’t record sales in summary for a day or the week easily. The only way to do this is to enter a journal entry which is not ideal when it comes to reporting. In addition, if you don’t have a bookkeeper on staff or any accounting knowledge the learning curve may be a bit steep.
Sage 50Cloud Accounting User Reviews
Overall user reviews are mixed for Sage 50cloud Accounting. Users who gave the software a positive review said that it works well for people with a basic background in accounting. Users of older versions of Sage 50 complained that support was terminated too soon after the newer version was released. As a result, integrated services like payroll processing no longer work, and they were forced to upgrade to continue to use the product.
Visit our Sage 50cloud Accounting user reviews page for more details.
The Bottom Line
Now that we have provided you with a range of options, its decision time. Our recommended best restaurant accounting solution is Restaurant365. It is your one-stop shop for both your back office accounting and restaurant operations needs.
To get started with Restaurant365, visit their website to complete a short form that will require basic information about your business as well as your contact information. Someone will contact you to schedule a free product demonstration and answer any questions that you may have.