MarginEdge Review: Features, Pricing & Alternatives 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
MarginEdge is a cloud-based application that combines paperless invoice processing with point-of-sale (POS) and accounting integration for restaurant management. It allows you to obtain a real-time understanding of food and recipe costs, view actual usage vs theoretical usage, and generate a daily controllable profit and loss (P&L) statement. It’s the best restaurant accounting software for QuickBooks integration, and we highly recommend this integration for stronger accounting features combined with restaurant management. MarginEdge plus QuickBooks Online costs $385 per location per month.
What We Like
- Supports over 45 popular POS systems
- Integrates with all versions of QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Sage Intacct, and Xero for general bookkeeping
- Unlimited free electronic bill payments and tech support
- All-inclusive and fixed pricing
- Improved and revamped mobile app
- Inventory and recipe costs stay up-to-date when a product is purchased from a new vendor
- Not a standalone bookkeeping system
- Requires 7shifts integration for employee scheduling
- No forecasting features
- Existing QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage Intacct users: It integrates with all versions of QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and Xero for general bookkeeping.
- Midsized and large restaurants: Recipes are updated with daily food costs, which is especially useful for larger operations.
- Food waste and spoilage reduction: Its reports compare actual food usage to what should have been used given recipes and sales, helping you control costs and eliminate food waste.
- Restaurants looking for an all-in-one restaurant software: While MarginEdge has comprehensive features, it doesn’t include a bookkeeping system. For this, we suggest Restaurant365, which provides many of the same restaurant features as MarginEdge and includes bookkeeping in one comprehensive software.
- Small caterers: With a lower volume of food, small caterers probably don’t need the advanced features of MarginEdge. QuickBooks Online, even without an integration, provides good inventory management, project tracking, and invoicing that will work well for small caterers and restaurants.
- Food trucks and food delivery: Because MarginEdge lacks food distribution software, Food Service Ace is a better choice since it has great mobile apps that assist you with scheduling, preparing, and routing order deliveries to your customers.
If you would like to consider general bookkeeping software for your restaurant, check out our evaluation of the best small business accounting software.
MarginEdge Deciding Factors
Restaurants looking for a more affordable restaurant accounting software
Flat fee of $300 per month, per location
Restaurants looking for a more affordable restaurant accounting software
Requires bookkeeping software integration, such as QuickBooks Online
Self-help library, email, phone
2023 Features & Enhancements
- Improved mobile app: MarginEdge’s mobile app can now do more. Users can see sales data, use biometric sign-in, track and count inventory, and auto-convert measurements, such as from grams to ounces.
- More POS integration: MarginEdge has expanded its POS integration to Upserve, Revel, and Clover.
- Invoicing optimizations: Users can now export a comma-separated values (CSV) file of order details at the invoice level and delete or update invoice images on closed orders. Invoicing between restaurants is now possible as well.
- AutoPay: With AutoPay, you can now set up automatic and recurring payments in MarginEdge so that you won’t miss or forget a payment accidentally. You can set AutoPay per invoice or vendor several days before it’s due.
- Multiuser management: The platform now allows account administrators to invite users from different locations to streamline processes and make user management easier.
- Employee scheduling: With its recent integration with 7shifts, users can now import labor data from the employee scheduling tool. They can also integrate labor costs with restaurant costs to give managers a full view of materials, labor, and overhead information.
Best for: Food service businesses that don’t need specialized restaurant management features
Best for: All-in-one bookkeeping and restaurant management
Best for: Mobile restaurants and food delivery
Cost: Starts at $85 per month for project tracking
Cost: Starts at $444 per month, per location
Cost: Quote-based, depending on number of locations and services
MarginEdge vs Competitors
We compared MarginEdge with Restaurant365, a restaurant management system similar to MarginEdge, and QuickBooks Online, a general purpose accounting software.
MarginEdge vs Competitors
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MarginEdge + QBO Starts at $385 per location, per month
Restaurant365 Starts at $444 per location, per month
Food Service Ace Customed Price
In our MarginEdge review, we evaluated the software with a QuickBooks Online integration. The annual cost of MarginEdge plus QuickBooks Online is $4,620 per year ($385 per month). Compared with Restaurant365, MarginEdge plus QuickBooks Online is still more affordable, considering that we used entry-level pricing for Restaurant365. MarginEdge plus QuickBooks Online is a great buy—if pricing alone is your consideration.
However, we give the crown to Restaurant365 for restaurant management features. Restaurant365 has workflow features to streamline transactions and prevent errors through multilevel approvals. Moreover, Restaurant365 also has Franchise Management, a useful tool for franchisors to track royalties from franchisees. Overall, MarginEdge misses features that adapt to business growth.
Food Service Ace is more compatible with food businesses on the go like food deliveries and food carts. If your restaurant business model is geared toward food delivery and mobile locations, we recommend Food Service Ace because of its flexibility.
MarginEdge charges a flat fee of $300 per location, per month. You have the option of annual billing for a 10% discount or $3,240 (approximately $270 per month). This price includes access to all of the features, such as invoice processing, bill pay, and recipe costing.
However, MarginEdge isn’t intended as a standalone bookkeeping system, and you’ll need to sign up for bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks Online Plus, which costs $85 per month for unlimited locations and up to five users.
MarginEdge scored high in this area because we evaluated it with a QuickBooks Online integration. But without the integration, MarginEdge’s score will be lower than Restaurant365. However, we believe that MarginEdge plus QuickBooks Online is a good combination.
MarginEdge automates the bill payment process, eliminating time spent doing data entry. By using the mobile app, you or your team can take pictures not only of invoices but also credit memos, service bills, and petty cash receipts. Also, if a vendor emails you a PDF file, you can forward it to MarginEdge, and it’ll process it for you. There’s no limit to the number of bills you can pay each month.
Once you sign up, it generally takes seven to 10 business days to process your invoices. After that, the standard processing time is one to two days. You’ll be able to view the different statuses of your invoice—from preprocessing to closed—as it makes its way through the approval process before being sent to your accounting system.
The Bill Pay feature is included in the cost of MarginEdge, and it allows for unlimited payments, either electronically or by check. You can view all of your invoices on one screen and sort them by vendor, due date, or payment status. Multilocation restaurants can also view and pay invoices across locations from a single screen.
Once you have selected the payments you want to make, MarginEdge will send the payment as scheduled. All payments are synced with your accounting system. With Bill Pay, you can pay bills in one payment. There’s no need to pay bills by location, which is a great timesaver for restaurants with multiple branches.
Labor Expense Management
MarginEdge collects labor data automatically from your POS system so that you can view wage data on your P&L and budgets. You can also add salaried employee data for a more complete picture of your labor costs. However, MarginEdge doesn’t have a payroll integration.
This feature is only available for the following POS systems: Toast, Revel, MobileBytes, POSitouch, Upserve, Aldelo Express, Silverware, TouchBistro, Aloha, Brink, NCR Silver, CBS Northstar, Grubbrr, Sapphire, and MICROS.
MarginEdge scored above average in this criterion. While it has the essential restaurant features, it’s lagging behind its competitors. We have reviewed the product release notes of MarginEdge and have noticed new feature releases with every update. Hence, we’re seeing a positive outlook for MarginEdge and are confident to get more features in future releases.
Recipe Management System
With this, you can manage all of your recipes in one place and always know the plate costs for everything you serve. You can also enter and price recipes, keep them organized, and print them with photos to display within the kitchen.
Creating a recipe is one of the central components in tracking the theoretical usage of products, which provides you with valuable data regarding your restaurant’s profit margin. You can also add equipment that will be used in your recipes and indicate whether a product has any allergens.
MarginEdge connects directly to your POS system to gather everything that you sold and import wage data. By adding pictures of invoices and sales from your POS, you’ll have real-time access to useful data like recipe pricing, updated inventories, and budgets.
Inventory & Purchasing
With MarginEdge, you can decide which products to inventory and how to count them easily. You can also create and print one or multiple count sheets to use when performing manual inventory counts to update MarginEdge. As invoices are processed, the platform will update product prices as needed automatically.
For multiple locations, you can control product names, units, and how they’re coded centrally. Once the inventory has been updated and management has approved it, you can export the data to your accounting system.
Prime Cost Data
MarginEdge provides you with the tools to determine your restaurant’s prime cost or the total sum of your labor costs and COGS. This should guide how you manage your day-to-day revenue to ensure a good profit margin for your restaurant.
Some of the available reports are:
MarginEdge has unlimited tech support available, which can be accessed by completing a support request form on the website. There’s also a help page with several useful resources, including weekly interactive training sessions, video tutorials, product release notes, and articles.
MarginEdge is highly intuitive and fairly easy to use, with a dashboard that’s simple to navigate. All of the data that you need to access is right at your fingertips, and it can be customized to suit the needs of your restaurant.
When you log in to MarginEdge, you’ll land on the Home dashboard, and the navigation bar on the left side of the screen enables you to access other sections, which are described below:
- Home: This displays sales numbers with period-to-date and year-to-date summaries, along with budget data.
- Orders: View all of your invoices, place orders, and upload and approve invoices in this section.
- Performance: This is where all of your reports can be found. There are eight total: Budget, Category Report, Controllable P&L, Food Usage Report, Sales, Price Alerts, Price Movers, and Theoretical Usage.
- Vendors: Edit vendors here, as well as view orders by vendor, and edit their settings.
- Products: View a list of products already entered in MarginEdge’s system here, as well as add and edit a product’s category, unit of measure, or vendor item association.
- Recipes: Access MarginEdge’s powerful recipe management system here, which you can use for recipe organization, staff instructions, dynamic recipe pricing, and kitchen display of recipes for the team to reference easily.
- Inventory: This is where you can enter products into inventory and determine how to count them. You can also create and print multiple count sheets to use when taking inventory in the restaurant.
- Labor: This feature is now live, and all labor data from your POS is displayed here, which includes wage data. You can also map job titles to labor categories for more detailed report data.
- Bill Pay: Pay your bills directly from within MarginEdge, which allows for both check and electronic payments.
- Accounting: All activities related to accounting can be accessed here. This includes reconciliation, sales entries, setting up budgets, and closing the books.
- Setup: All of MarginEdge’s settings can be configured here, including users, integrations, and point of sale.
- Central: This section gathers data from all restaurant locations―if more than one―and allows for customization based on time period.
- Sales: This report shows daily sales data and compares it to the prior week and prior year, with period-to-date and year-to-date summaries.
- Budget: View your budgeted vs actual costs for different categories, such as COGS and restaurant supplies.
Many users like MarginEdge because it can provide useful insights into restaurant operations. A particular review from an accounting specialist mentioned that MarginEdge has been helping in managing multiple restaurants and that its seamless integration with QuickBooks improved costing and time management. Cons about MarginEdge seem to focus on the software’s lacking features that are present in competitors.
Here are the MarginEdge review scores across popular review sites.
- Featured Customers: 4.8 out of 5 stars based on around 600 reviews
- GetApp: 4.9 out of 5 stars based on around 20 reviews
- G2: 5 out of 5 stars based on around 10 reviews
How We Evaluated Restaurant Accounting Software
Our evaluation of restaurant accounting software included factors that we deem as important in making a decision. These factors include:
- Pricing: The cost of the software, the number of users, capacity, and flexibility are the subcriteria we used in evaluating the pricing.
- Accounting features: In this criterion, we looked at the general accounting features to facilitate easy accounting. These features include but aren’t limited to double-entry bookkeeping, inventory tracking, payroll, accounts receivable (A/R) and accounts payable (A/P) management, and project accounting.
- Restaurant features: Aside from general accounting, we also took into consideration restaurant-specific features, such as POS system integration, employee scheduling and tracking, forecasting, and other restaurant features that directly relate to managing restaurant operations.
- Ease of use: An easy-to-use software is a big plus for small business’s accounting since not all businesses can afford to hire an in-house bookkeeper or certified public accountant (CPA). However, we also considered options that improve ease of use such as assisted bookkeeping, customer service, and cost-free integrations.
- User reviews: We also considered first-hand reviews from actual software users. We adopted the user review score from the website with the greatest number of reviews.
- Expert score: Our expert score is an overall rating for the software’s features as a whole.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does MarginEdge offer training?
Yes, MarginEdge conducts weekly training sessions to help users understand how the platform works and how to fully utilize it.
Can you use MarginEdge without QuickBooks?
Yes, you can, as MarginEdge is useful in helping manage your restaurant, even without QuickBooks. However, it needs to be integrated with bookkeeping software, like QuickBooks, if you need a full accounting system to produce financial statements.
MarginEdge provides you with a real-time view of food and labor costs, so your restaurant can be more efficient and profitable. By submitting vendor invoices via the mobile app and email or by connecting with your vendors directly, MarginEdge will import the data down to the line item detail. It connects to your POS to provide daily reports, which allows you to monitor your labor expenses, sales, and COGS.
You also can set and monitor budgets for a variety of categories and monitor inventory levels to identify waste. The recipe management tool allows you to manage recipes from one central cloud-based system and control your margins in real-time. Because of these capabilities, we recommend MarginEdge as a powerful supplement to your bookkeeping software.