Restaurant inventory management software systems are computer programs for foodservice businesses with full commercial kitchens. These systems help manage ingredient stock levels, purchase orders, recipes, and menu costs. The best restaurant inventory management software systems sync with or are built into POS systems and can cost between $50 and $100 per register, per month.
Top 6 Restaurant Inventory Management Software
|Restaurant Inventory Management Software||Best For:|
|(Best Overall) Restaurants wanting a feature-packed, affordable POS & inventory management system|
|Restaurants wanting a low-cost option for managing vendors, purchase orders, and ingredient tracking|
|Small restaurants wanting a top-rated iPad system with menu costing and ingredient-level tracking|
|Restaurants wanting a comprehensive inventory management and POS system with integrated purchase ordering|
|Restaurants wanting user-friendly inventory management & POS that minimizes food waste|
|Enterprise-level restaurants wanting standalone inventory management that provides push notifications with updates|
How We Evaluated Restaurant Inventory Management Systems
Restaurant inventory management software can save restaurant owners time by automating ingredient stock counts and purchase orders. Restaurant inventory management systems can also help restaurant owners financially by calculating menu item costs, monitoring food waste and portioning, and offering insights on what items are the most profitable. The best systems are affordable and either a part of the point-of-sale (POS) system or seamlessly integrated so data is calculated in real-time.
We evaluated restaurant inventory management software by:
- Price: We considered monthly software fees and any setup fees.
- Ingredient-level tracking: All of the systems on our list can tie individual ingredients to recipes and menu items for granular inventory tracking.
- Menu costing: We prioritized inventory systems that can connect prices to stock ingredients.
- Ease of use: Inventory management systems should be user-friendly.
- Order and supplier management: We looked at whether or not each system has features to compile and send purchase orders to different vendors within the software program.
- Integrations: A restaurant inventory management system should integrate with your POS system for accurate, real-time data.
- Customer support and reviews: We looked at customer ratings and reviews for each system, and every software we included has 24/7 customer support.
Based on the above criteria, Lavu is our top pick for restaurant inventory management software. It’s an affordable solution that’s easy to use, and includes more inventory management features than any other solution at that price point, such as ingredient-level tracking, menu costing, and low stock alerts.
Lavu: Best Inventory Management Software for Small Restaurants
Lavu is a restaurant management and POS system. Out of all the software systems we evaluated, Lavu is the only program that offers features like automated low stock alerts, recipe costing, and purchase order management at a competitive price of less than $80 per month, making Lavu the best inventory management system for restaurant owners.
Lavu is $69 per terminal, per month, making it one of the more affordable options on our list. The system operates on iPads, which can be purchased separately for under $400 each. Inventory reports can also be viewed on any smartphone with the Lavu Pilot app.
Lavu is a cloud-based software system. The POS features run on iPads, but the back-office management features, including inventory, can be accessed from any internet-connected device. With Lavu inventory, businesses can get real-time inventory updates based on sales, create purchase orders, see the value of inventory on hand, tie menu items together with ingredients, and see where you can cut back on wasteful spending. Lavu is one of the only restaurant POS and inventory management software systems that includes tools to manage vendor relationships directly within the platform.
Lavu Ingredient-level Tracking
With Lavu, you can keep track of stock by tying ingredient items and quantities to menu items, including modifiers. Lavu’s system keeps track of stock levels in real-time, and can alert servers when an ingredient or menu item is about to run out. Ingredient-level tracking is a crucial inventory management feature for restaurants, and all of the systems on our list have this capability.
Lavu Menu Management & Costing
Lavu takes ingredient-level inventory tracking to the next level by attaching costs to each ingredient. You can see how much each menu item costs to make in terms of ingredients, monitor changing food costs, and see the total value of your goods held in inventory. Lavu also offers restaurant owners total menu customization. You can create different menus, item categories, and recipes with optional ingredient modifiers.
Lavu Purchase Order & Vendor Management
Within Lavu, you can generate purchase orders based on real-time stock updates. You can also list vendor details within Lavu to manage your vendor relations in one place. Lavu lets you choose to update stock levels automatically by purchase order or by manually adjusting stock levels. Many restaurant inventory systems have tools for creating purchase orders, but most systems do not have the tools to manage vendors from within the software.
Lavu POS Compatibility & Integrations
Like many of the options on our list, Lavu is actually a POS system that has a robust restaurant inventory management system. So, in order to use Lavu’s inventory software, you would also need to use Lavu’s POS so that you can monitor inventory in real-time based on sales.
What Lavu Is Missing
Lavu does not have a tool specifically to monitor food or inventory waste, like Toast and MarketMan do. Lavu’s average customer review is also not as high as some of the other systems on our list, like TouchBistro, Upserve, and Toast.
What Users Think About Lavu
Users like that Lavu is easy to learn and use. The interface is customizable, which users like. Some negative reviews report efficiency and helpfulness issues with customer service.
Loyverse: Best Low-cost Restaurant Inventory Management Software
Loyverse is a free POS system with an add-on feature for advanced restaurant inventory management. At $25 per month, Loyverse is by far the least expensive option on our list, but still includes sophisticated features like ingredient-level tracking, vendor management, and automated low-stock alerts, making Loyverse the best budget option for restaurant inventory management.
Loyverse inventory management is just $25 per month, which is a huge savings compared to the other systems on our list that have starting costs ranging from $69 to $249 per month. Loyverse POS operates on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, but the back-office and inventory features can be accessed from any internet browser.
Loyverse is a free, cloud-based POS system with an Advanced Inventory feature that costs $25 per month. Loyverse Advanced Inventory has tools to plan purchases, manage vendor relationships, automatically track stock levels down to the recipe ingredients, and view your on-hand inventory value (including potential profits). Overall, Loyverse has the essential inventory management tools restaurants need to manage their stock at a granular level.
Loyverse Ingredient-level Tracking
Like all of the other systems on our list, Loyverse has tools to track inventory levels down to specific recipe ingredients. Restaurants can adjust stock levels manually, or let Loyverse track them automatically based on sales. You can also create custom low-stock alerts for different ingredients and receive push notifications when they are running low.
Loyverse Menu Management & Costing
Loyverse has tools to customize different menus, note how items are prepared, and attach specific ingredient amounts to each menu item. Restaurants can also add modifier options to menu items, such as toppings on burgers. The biggest feature that Loyverse is missing is the ability to price out specific menu items based on ingredients. There is no menu or recipe costing feature, like Lavu, TouchBistro, and Toast have.
Loyverse Purchase Order & Vendor Management
Loyverse has tools to plan purchases, export purchase orders, track supply receipts, and to manage vendor contact details. The purchase orders can’t be sent directly through Loyverse, but rather created in Loyverse and then manually sent to vendors.
Loyverse POS Compatibility & Integrations
Like Lavu and most of the other solutions on our list, Loyverse is a POS system that has detailed inventory management tools. In order to make the most out of Loyverse Advanced Inventory, you need to use Loyverse POS so that the sales and ingredient levels are tracked in real-time.
What Loyverse Is Missing
Loyverse does not have menu costing features or tools to track food waste. These tools help restaurants accurately price menu items and save costs by not over-portioning dishes. If these tools are on your wish list, Toast or Upserve may be better options for you.
What Users Think About Loyverse
Overall, reviews for Loyverse are very positive. Of course, users like the price, which is significantly below industry standard. The system is also easy to learn, and Loyverse offers friendly and helpful customer service. Some reviewers say that the back-end features and reporting tools are not very flexible.
TouchBistro: Best Restaurant Inventory Management Software for Menu Costing
TouchBistro is a top-rated iPad POS system with tools to tools to track food costs and measure profit margins for individual menu items. Starting at just $69 per month, TouchBistro is an affordably priced option for small restaurants that want sophisticated inventory management features.
TouchBistro starts at $69 per terminal, per month. TouchBistro is the only solution on our list that is not entirely cloud-based, so you will likely need to purchase an Apple Mac Mini to serve as the “brain,” or server, for your software system. Mac Minis cost around $800 and each iPad is under $400.
TouchBistro has almost all of the inventory management tools on our wish list packed into a user-friendly POS system. TouchBistro has features for creating detailed ingredients and menu item reports, including customizable inventory countdowns and low-stock alerts. Restaurants can manage unlimited ingredients, including wholesale costs, retail pricing, and unit measure for each.
TouchBistro Ingredient-level Tracking
Like all of the solutions on our list, TouchBistro lets restaurants tie specific ingredients and quantities to specific recipes and menu items for detailed supply tracking. Restaurants can set up custom low-stock alerts for each ingredient or menu item and set them to provide prompts at specific stock counts.
TouchBistro Menu Management & Costing
Like Lavu and Toast, TouchBistro takes ingredient-level tracking a step further by assigning specific wholesale and retail costs to ingredients. Restaurants can see exactly how much each menu item will cost to make, and what the potential profits are. This tool can be used to determine which menu items have the highest profit margin, or to tweak recipes to improve profit margins.
TouchBistro Purchase Order & Vendor Management
Purchase ordering and vendor management is one area where TouchBistro falls behind solutions like Upserve and MarketMan. With TouchBistro, restaurants can see on-hand quantities of ingredients and export data to create purchase orders. However, there are no tools for building purchase orders or managing vendor contact information.
TouchBistro POS Compatibility & Integrations
Like Lavu, Loyverse, and Toast, TouchBistro is a POS system that has specific inventory tools for restaurants. There is no way to use TouchBistro’s inventory tools without the POS, as they are one program.
What TouchBistro Is Missing
TouchBistro’s biggest flaw is that it does not have tools for creating or managing purchase orders and vendor relations. If that is something you want to manage within your inventory software, MarketMan or Upserve may be the better choice for you.
What Users Think About TouchBistro
Overall, TouchBistro has fantastic reviews. It’s a top-rated POS app on the Apple app store. TouchBistro is also the software program featured on Gordon Ramsey’s TV show “24 Hours to Hell and Back.” TouchBistro users like that the system is easy to use, the customer service is fast and helpful, and that the software program itself is very reliable. Some reviewers say they wish the interface was more customizable, such as larger icons or a zoom feature.
Visit our TouchBistro review page for more information.
Upserve: Best Comprehensive Restaurant Inventory Management Software
Upserve is a cloud-based restaurant management software that has the most inventory features out of any system on our list, including hard-to-find features like one-click purchase ordering. Upserve is also the priciest solution on our list, so it is a great option for businesses willing to pay for a comprehensive management system.
Upserve is the most expensive restaurant inventory management system on our list. The software has three pricing tiers starting at $119 per month. To get all of the inventory management features, you would need to choose the second tier plan, which starts at $249 per month. Like many of the other solutions on our list, Upserve is a POS system and has features for processing sales, managing employees, and marketing solutions.
Upserve Pricing & Features Chart
|Sales & product reporting|
|Low inventory alerts|
|Customer loyalty & marketing|
Like many of the solutions on our list, Upserve software runs on iPads, which can be purchased separately for under $400 each. Through Upserve, you can purchase iPad stands, receipt printers, and more.
Upserve may be the priciest option, but in this case you get what you pay for. Upserve has every feature on our inventory management wish list, including standard features like ingredient-level tracking and menu costing, and more advanced features like food waste tracking and the ability to submit purchase orders to vendors through the Upserve platform with a single click.
Upserve Ingredient-level Tracking
Like the other solutions on our list, Upserve has ingredient-level inventory tracking. Restaurants can enter recipes into the software and attach specific ingredients by quantity or weight.
Upserve Menu Management & Costing
Like Lavu, Toast, TouchBistro, and MarketMan, Upserve can also attach a price to each ingredient to price out menu items. Upserve can also track profits for each menu item and account for ingredient price fluctuations. The menu costing features are included in the Upserve Pro and Pro Plus plans.
Upserve Purchase Order & Vendor Management
With Upserve, restaurants can manage all of their vendor information right inside the software program. Upserve and MarketMan are the only solutions on our list that allow restaurants to submit purchase orders to vendors within the software program. Upserve purchase order and vendor management features include one-click purchase orders, and are available with the Pro and Pro Plus plans.
Upserve POS Compatibility & Integrations
Like most of the other solutions on our list, Upserve has a built-in POS system that works together with the restaurant inventory management software. In addition to POS features, Upserve has online order management, customer data management, marketing, and loyalty program features.
What Upserve Is Missing
The main drawback of Upserve is the price tag. It has all of the features we looked for in a restaurant inventory management system, but at almost four times the monthly price of other systems on our list like Lavu and TouchBistro, and $225 per month more than Loyverse.
What Users Think About Upserve
Upserve has excellent online reviews. Users like that it is chock-full of features and easy to use. Reviewers also say that Upserve’s customer service is helpful and responsive. The negative reviews mention some glitches with POS functions, but the reviews for inventory features are positive.
Toast: Best Restaurant Inventory Management Tool for Minimizing Waste
Toast is a cloud-based restaurant management software system with POS and inventory tools. Toast is slightly on the pricier side, but comes with hard-to-find features for reducing food waste, making it a great fit for restaurants that want to drill down on inventory and portioning control.
Toast POS starts at $79 per terminal, per month. Inventory management features are an additional quoted monthly fee. Most of the systems on our list run on iPads, but Toast has proprietary hardware. Bundles start at $899 with a one-time installation fee that starts at $499. Toast offers 0% financing for hardware in some markets.
Toast restaurant inventory management software has all the standard features, like ingredient-level tracking, low-stock alerts, and menu costing. It also has inventory valuation reports, tools to measure actual food profits against theoretical profits, and analytics for reducing food waste through over-buying and over-portioning.
Toast Ingredient-level Tracking
Like the other solutions on our list, Toast has ingredient-level inventory tracking. Restaurants can create recipes and menu items in Toast, and assign specific ingredient amounts.
Toast Menu Management & Costing
Toast also has tools to attach wholesale and retail prices to individual ingredients, so restaurants can price out the costs and profits for different menu items. Toast has reports to monitor the difference between estimated menu item profits and actual profits, so businesses can identify over-portioning and other issues.
Toast Purchase Order & Vendor Management
Toast does not have any features to manage purchase orders or vendor contact details. Restaurants can run inventory reports to get on-hand stock levels or lists of low-stock ingredients, but those reports would need to be exported and made into a purchase order outside of the Toast software. If you want to manage purchase orders within your restaurant inventory system, consider using Upserve, MarketMan, or Lavu.
Toast POS Compatibility & Integrations
Like most of the solutions on our list, Toast is also one of the best restaurant POS systems. It has features built in to manage all of the day-to-day tasks of running a restaurant including online order management, payment processing, menu management, and analytics.
What Toast Is Missing
The biggest drawbacks with Toast are the lack of purchase order and vendor management features. Toast is also more expensive than many of the solutions on our list, and requires restaurants to purchase special hardware.
What Users Think About Toast
Toast has really high user reviews. It is easy to use and the system is constantly updating and improving. Toast is a relatively new company that is growing quickly. Some reviewers are happy with the customer service and support they have received, while others say that customer service has not been able to keep up with the company’s growth. Visit our Toast review page for more details.
MarketMan: Best Standalone Restaurant Inventory Management System
MarketMan is a cloud-based restaurant and inventory management software system. It’s the only standalone inventory software on our list that’s not attached to a POS. MarketMan is a good solution for large restaurants that want to manage all ordering in one place, and receive real-time email and push alerts on inventory and performance.
MarketMan starts at $149 per location, per month. Unlike the other solutions on our list, MarketMan is priced per restaurant, not per terminal, because it’s not a POS. But, keep in mind the MarketMan monthly fee will be in addition to your POS monthly fee, since they are not bundled. MarketMan integrates with many POS systems, and does not require any specific hardware or setup fees.
MarketMan includes standard features like ingredient-level tracking, low-stock alerts, and menu costing. It also has features that are less common, such as purchase order and vendor management, and analytics on actual versus theoretical food costs. Businesses can also set up custom notifications, including push notifications for low-stock alerts or emails with certain reports throughout the day.
MarketMan Ingredient-level Tracking
MarketMan has ingredient-level tracking like the other solutions on our list, so restaurants can assign particular stock items and quantities to menu items. MarketMan also has tools to manage and monitor real-time inventory levels across multiple restaurant locations.
MarketMan Menu Management & Costing
MarketMan is among Toast, TouchBistro, Lavu, and Upserve in offering menu costing features by tying wholesale costs of ingredients to recipes. Like Toast, MarketMan also has features to show the wholesale and retail price of ingredients, account for price fluctuations, and run reports that show projected profits versus actual profits.
MarketMan Purchase Order & Vendor Management
MarketMan and Upserve are the only solutions on our list that allow restaurants to actually submit purchase orders without having to leave the software program. MarketMan stores vendor contacts and information, and can be set up so chefs or store managers have permission to submit orders. Once submitted, you can track their status. When purchase orders arrive, you can mark them as received so the order items are automatically added to your stock counts.
MarketMan POS Compatibility & Integrations
MarketMan is the only solution on our list that is not also a POS system. However, MarketMan works with many popular POS systems, including Square, Lightspeed, Toast, Clover, Upserve, and more. MarketMan also integrates with accounting tools including QuickBooks and Xero.
What MarketMan Is Missing
The main drawback of MarketMan is the price. Paying $149 or more per month on top of POS costs may be too much for many small businesses, which is why we prioritized the more affordable solutions in this list.
What Users Think About MarketMan
MarketMan has decent online reviews. Users like that it is an all-in-one inventory management system for food costing and managing purchase orders. Reviewers also say that it integrates seamlessly with POS programs. Some reviewers wish that there was some kind of activity log or audit trail to see who was making changes in the system.
Restaurant inventory management systems help restaurant and food service businesses track on-hand ingredients, including automatically updating inventory levels as customers place orders, and notifying employees when certain ingredients are low. The best systems also calculate price and profits for individual recipes and manage purchase orders without breaking the bank.
Lavu is a restaurant POS system that is affordable for small businesses and offers sophisticated inventory features like menu costing and vendor management, in addition to standard features like ingredient-level tracking and low-stock alerts. The features are all packed into a user-friendly touch screen system with access to reports from any internet browser. Visit Lavu to schedule a demo.