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Why upgrading your accounting software could be the key to a resilient restaurant business

Between customers paying closer attention to what they eat to new “on-demand culture” influences on the restaurant trade, the expectations of today’s customers are dramatically different than those of just a few years ago, let alone a decade ago.

If your business is to stay afloat and continue to grow in these ever-evolving times, it’s imperative that you also evolve and adapt to deliver more of what your customers want.

While some may dive into revamping their menus or upping their marketing efforts, many in the food industry overlook what a big difference a seemingly small task like switching accounting software can make in empowering them to meet the needs of modern customers.

Below, we explore four ways that upgrading your old, outdated software to QuickBooks® Online Advanced can help your business survive and thrive in these changing times.

Improving accountability with real-time data access

It’s no secret that today’s customers pay far more attention to the foods they eat than they ever have before, demanding healthier alternatives, as well as menu items that are both safe and ethically sourced.

This is partly a byproduct of the age we live in, with socially aware consumers buying into the growing trend of vegan-based lifestyles, ethical eating, and a desire to protect the planet. And, for many consumers today, their menu choices are increasingly influenced by a genuine concern for their own well-being and a desire to protect themselves.

In the United States, alone, some 32 million people (including 11 percent of the entire adult population) suffer from some kind of food-related allergy or intolerance, with the number of reported cases increasing by 50 percent over the past decade. Meanwhile, 34.2 million (10.5 perent of the total US population) had diabetes, with the National Diabetes Statistics Report reporting a significant increase in confirmed diabetes cases over the past 20 years.

This largely explains the growing demand for gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free products, not to mention the rise in the number of customers preferring organic, nutrient-rich foods over traditional junk food.

What does this have to do with your accounting software?

In short, quite a lot.

Meeting the demand of health-conscious customers is a major challenge for many mid-sized food and drink businesses, but it’s one that QuickBooks Online Advanced is well equipped to help with. Integrating an inventory management solution into your accounting setup can provide flexible, real-time access to data about every product or menu item you offer, including an individual breakdown of ingredients.

This can prove particularly invaluable when it comes to those customers with complex dietary requirements, allowing you to take a comprehensive look at what’s in stock and make smarter, on-the-fly decisions about what to serve them.

It can also play an important role in appeasing those stakeholders and investors who demand greater accountability, or who simply want proof that you’re moving with the times towards a health-conscious customer offer. With the custom reporting features inside Advanced, you can generate a comprehensive overview of your entire supply chain, identifying any points that unethical suppliers may come into the equation, or where cross-contamination may be an issue.  

Minimizing waste and controlling costs

While meeting the expectations of increasingly health-savvy consumers will play a key role in the long-term growth of your business, that isn’t the only benefit to be gained by accessing real-time data about your inventory, supply chain, and other essential business elements. It can also be very beneficial in eliminating waste, a process that is more important today than it’s ever been.

First of all, there are the obvious cost benefits of reducing waste in your business. If you’re spending money on product that you’re not using, and paying a higher price to import goods from further afield than you’d spend if you bought locally, or otherwise failing to run an efficient enterprise, then that’s all money down the proverbial drain.

With QuickBooks Online Advanced, your custom reports can help you identify those areas of your business where waste is taking a bite out of your profit margins, as well as analyzing ways that this waste can be reduced, if not completely eliminated.

Of course, there may also be occasions when waste is costing you more than money.

In this eco-conscious age, waste also has environmental and social implications that could have a negative impact on your company’s reputation. By taking steps to reduce this waste – and having the data to prove it – you’re doing your part to protect the planet and meet any environmental targets you may have.

All in all, a low-waste, environmentally-friendly business not only appeals to customers, but also goes a long way to meeting eco-friendly business practice guidelines that may be in place in your state.

Adapting to new ways of working

As we explained in our recent guide to shifting to a delivery-based business model, QuickBooks Online Advanced can play a big part in that, helping to do everything from streamlining your delivery menu to managing overhead costs and improving the efficiency of your online ordering system.

Manage on the move

Finally, one of the biggest advantages of QuickBooks Online is that it’s cloud-based, meaning you can take complete control of your accounting no matter whether you’re in the office, at home, or even on the move.

As long as you have an internet-capable device and a strong, secure, Wi-Fi connection, you can log on, access reports, or carry out any number of accounting tasks.

While this certainly makes life easier, it can also be beneficial in terms of growing your business.

On your way to meet key investors, but haven’t had time to put your financial reports together? Using QuickBooks Online Advanced means you can do all of that while traveling.

Managing multiple locations? Even the best business owners in the world can’t be in two places at once, but you can use Advanced to see data for all of your business locations through one intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard.

Could your outdated accounting software be getting in the way of your business growth?

Meeting the expectations of health-conscious consumers, eliminating waste, and adapting to delivery and takeout models are all major challenges that countless restaurants and food-based businesses can identify with.

If your business is one of them and you find yourself struggling to overcome those challenges, now may be the best time to ask yourself some important questions about whether your accounting software is the one obstacle standing in your way:

  • Are you able to access real-time data at the click of a button, so that you can make smarter, faster decisions?
  • Are you able to gain deep insights into your inventory and supply chain, so that you can eliminate waste, a process that will help you not only take control of costs, but also take one step closer to appealing to eco-conscious consumers?
  • Can your accounting software be effortlessly integrated with an online ordering system and inventory management to help you thrive in today’s on-demand culture?

If you answered no to any of those questions, then QuickBooks Online Advanced is for you. Advanced is an accounting solution that can do all of those things and may prove to be a worthwhile investment.

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