The Best Restaurant Accounting Software: Top 10 Compared for 2024

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The best restaurant accounting software offers features like inventory tracking, invoicing, and integration with POS systems tailored to the restaurant industry. However, every restaurant is unique and has different needs and priorities.

That’s why we’ve carefully reviewed and selected the top restaurant accounting software options to help you make the best decision for your business needs.

FreshBooks - Best accounting software for small businesses

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Zoho Books - Cost-effective accounting for SMBs

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Xero - Feature rich accounting for established businesses

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QuickBooks - Most popular one-stop-shop solution

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Wave - Free easy-to-use accounting platform

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Restaurant365 - Exclusively made for the restaurant business

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Bonsai - Simple financial management for creatives

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Melio - Free iOS payment management system

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The Best Accounting Software for Restaurants

  1. FreshBooksBest for Managing Customer Tabs
  2. Zoho BooksBest for Food Trucks with Mileage Tracking
  3. XeroBest for Record Keeping
  4. QuickBooksBest for Small Restaurant Business
  5. WaveBest Free Accounting Software for Restaurants
  6. Restaurant365Best for Restaurant Financial Management
  7. BonsaiBest for Catering and VIP Dining
  8. MelioBest for New Restaurants
  9. Sage – Best For Comprehensive Accounting
  10. NetSuite – Best for Restaurants with Multiple Locations

The Best Accounting Systems for Restaurants Reviewed

Eager to learn more about the best accounting system for your restaurant? Dig in as we explore each of our top recommendations in detail below, including their best features, pros, cons, and pricing.

1. Freshbooks – Best for Managing Customer Tabs

FreshBooks Logo

Best For Managing customer tabs
Free Trial Yes. 30-day free trial
Price From Starting from $19/month (50% Off for first 6 Months)
Top 3 Features Payroll Management, Inventory Tracking, Expense Tracking
Why We Picked It

FreshBooks is the best restaurant accounting software for managing customer tabs due to its user-friendly features tailored to the hospitality industry.

With FreshBooks, you can effortlessly track advance payments, overpayments, and credit notes for regular customers.

Features
  • Inventory Tracking: Stock quantities are automatically updated when items are invoiced, making it a more efficient and accurate restaurant accounting solution for managing inventory across multiple platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, BarCloud, and 2Ship.
  • Invoicing: Create professional invoices, send them to clients, and accept online payments. The system tracks when clients view invoices, simplifying payment follow-ups. FreshBooks also integrates with payment gateways like PayPal for seamless online payments.
  • Late Payment Reminders: For large bookings and restaurant buyouts, you can automate late payment reminders. Customize your messages, set a schedule, and let FreshBooks handle the rest.
  • Expense Tracking: Log and categorize expenses in your restaurant. It automatically imports expenses from bank accounts or credit cards, simplifying tracking. Plus, you can categorize tax expenses and attach receipts for organized financial records.
Pricing Plans

FreshBooks offers four main pricing plans:

Plan Lite Plus Premium Select
1 month $19/month $33/month $60/month Quote-based
1 year $228/year $396/year $720/year Quote-based
  • Lite: The FreshBooks Lite plan is best for small restaurant businesses. It includes unlimited invoicing, estimates, and time tracking for accurate billing.
  • Plus: The Plus Plan allows you to automatically capture receipt data, invite your professional accountant, and run financial and accounting reports.
  • Premium: The FreshBooks Premium Plan is ideal for growing restaurants. It offers unlimited clients and recurring invoices for managing regular deliveries and subscriptions.
  • Select: FreshBooks Select caters to established restaurants seeking more control over finances. It offers lower credit card processing fees and capped bank transfer charges, reducing operational costs. It also has a dedicated account manager who provides personalized support, ensuring your restaurant’s needs are met.

FreshBooks charges extra fees on top of their monthly subscription plans. These include fees for each credit card payment and possible charges if you make more than a certain number of monthly bank transfers.

Who's It Best For?

FreshBooks accounting software is best suited for small to mid-sized restaurants with the ability to save customer cards for easy customer tab management.

Pros pros

  • Easily integrates with common reservation systems
  • Saves customer card details for easy auto-payments
  • Provides personal assistance for onboarding new clients
  • Simplifies tip management

Cons cons

  • Limited payroll management in lower plans
  • Scaling user access can be costly for restaurants with larger teams.

Read our full FreshBooks review

2. Zoho Accounting – Best for Food Trucks with Mileage Tracking

Zoho Books Logo

Best For Food trucks with mileage tracking
Free Trial Yes, 14-day free trial and a forever-free plan
Price From Starting from $15/month
Top 3 Features Mileage Tracking, Delivery Management, Targeted Marketing
Why We Picked It

Zoho Books is our best pick for food truck businesses due to its mileage tracking feature. This feature is great for food owners handling their own deliveries. If you use delivery agents, it lets you easily reimburse them for their gas and time spent.

Features
  • Inventory Management: Track ingredients, automate purchase orders, manage recipe costing, streamline inventory control, and reduce waste.
  • Mileage Tracking: Simplify tracking mileage for expense reports through GPS tracking via the mobile app, manual entry, and inputting starting and ending odometer readings for company vehicle trips.
  • Delivery Management (RouteIQ): Zoho integrates with RouteIQ to optimize delivery routes, consider real-time traffic conditions, and provide mobile apps for drivers.
  • Reporting & Analytics: Generate customizable reports to track sales performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions about your restaurant business.
Pricing Plans

Zoho offers four paid plans with various features and a free plan perfect for businesses that are just getting started.

Plan Free Standard Professional Premium Elite Ultimate
1 month $0/month $20/month $50/month $70/month $150/month $270/month
1 year $0/month $15/month $40/month $60/month $120/month $240/month
  • Free: Forever free, this plan is perfect for startups and cafes with basic accounting needs. It allows for creating and sending invoices, managing bills, and tracking expenses.
  • Standard: The Standard plan builds on the Free plan with features like purchase orders, customer credit limits, and basic inventory management.
  • Professional: This is for established restaurants requiring advanced inventory management features like recipe costing and low-stock alerts. It also offers project tracking to analyze profitability by menu item or event.
  • Premium: Designed for restaurant chains seeking advanced features like multi-location management, consolidated reporting, and advanced automation tools.
  • Elite: The Elite plan is designed for enterprise-level food businesses requiring advanced business intelligence and integration capabilities. It offers in-depth data analysis, custom dashboards, and seamless integration with other Zoho and third-party applications.
  • Ultimate: Caters to the complex accounting and operational needs of large, multi-faceted food businesses. It includes advanced budgeting, custom modules, and workflow automation.
Who's It Best For?

Zoho accounting is ideal for restaurants or food trucks that require mileage tracking at an affordable price point.

Pros pros

  • Offers integrations with popular hospitality POS systems
  • Supports multilingual invoices
  • Multi-currency support
  • Integrated CRM for customer relations

Cons cons

  • Addons are not supported in the free plan
  • No built-in payroll
  • Advanced features come at a fee

Read our full Zoho Books review

3. Xero – Best for Record Keeping

Xero logo

Best For Record keeping
Free Trial Yes, 30-day free trial
Price From Starting from $15/month
Top 3 Features Menu Pricing, Payroll Processing, Record Keeping
Why We Picked It

We chose Xero as the best restaurant accounting software for record-keeping because it automates many accounting tasks, such as bill payments and tax calculations, and integrates seamlessly with popular restaurant apps like Growyze.

Features
  • Real-Time Cash Flow Monitoring: Get a real-time overview of your restaurant’s financial health, including income, expenses, and cash flow.
  • Simplified Record Keeping: Automate tasks such as bill payments, tax calculations, and invoice creation to minimize manual data entry.
  • Integrated Payroll Management: Process payroll directly using Xero. It calculates taxes, deductions, and leave entitlements, saving you time and ensuring accuracy.
  • Seamless Integrations: Xero connects with over 1000 hospitality apps, including inventory management, point-of-sale systems, and delivery platforms.
Pricing Plans

Xero offers tiered pricing plans to suit businesses of various sizes.

Plan Early Growing Established
1 month $15/month $42/month $78/month
  • Early: The early plan is ideal for small restaurants and cafes just starting. It comes with basic features like invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting for up to 20 invoices and 5 bills per month.
  • Growing: Suitable for small to medium-sized restaurants, catering companies, and food production businesses that require more advanced features like multi-user access, repeating invoices, and integrations with popular restaurant POS systems and HR software.
  • Established: The Xero Established plan is designed for larger, more complex food businesses such as multi-location restaurant groups, food distributors, and manufacturers.
Who's It Best For?

Xero is great for restaurant management because it’s easy to use, can automate many tasks, and works well with other restaurant apps.

Pros pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Integrated payroll management
  • Unlimited users for collaboration
  • Customizable invoicing and quotes for catering businesses
  • Easy sales tax calculations

Cons cons

  • No built-in menu pricing
  • Not suitable for large food businesses exceeding 2,000 transactions
  • Limited user permissions on the early plan
  • Pricing can be high for advanced features

Read our full Xero review

4. QuickBooks – Best for Small Restaurant Business

QuickBooks Logo

Best For Small restaurant business
Free Trial Yes, 30-day free trial
Price From Starting from $18/month
Top 3 Features Cash-flow Management, Reporting, Mileage Tracking
Why We Picked It

QuickBooks is ideal for small businesses, especially for restaurant bookkeeping beginners, because it offers a free guided setup with an expert, free training, and 24/7 support on every plan. That means you can get started quickly without wasting much time figuring out the software.

Features
  • Cash-flow Management: Powerful cash-flow management tools allow food businesses to track income, expenses, and outstanding invoices in real-time.
  • Reporting: QuickBooks provides various customizable reports, including profit and loss statements, sales reports, and inventory reports.
  • Mileage Tracking: Automatically capture business trips and errands, such as delivering orders or picking up supplies. It uses GPS to track mileage and provides tips on choosing the best deduction method.
  • Inventory Management: Automatic inventory tracking regulates cash flow, allowing food businesses to know what’s going out, coming in, and when supplies are running low.
  • Project Profitability Tracking: Track costs and revenue associated with specific projects or events, such as catering services or product launches, which helps you monitor your profits and make better business decisions.
  • Invoicing and Payment Processing: Create and send professional invoices, accept online payments, and track invoice status for efficient billing and cash collection
Pricing Plans

QuickBooks offers four subscription plans tailored to different restaurant businesses.

Plan Simple Start Essentials Plus Advanced
1 month $18/month $27/month $38/month $76/month
1 year $194/year $291/year $720/year $820/year
  • Simple Start: This plan is ideal for brand-new restaurants or cafes with basic accounting needs. It is best suited for sole proprietorships or single-location startups with a single sales channel, such as in-person dining.
  • Essentials: This plan accommodates up to 3 users and connects to multiple sales channels, including in-person, online ordering platforms, and delivery services.
  • Plus: Designed for growing food businesses that require inventory management, project profitability tracking, and budgeting. This plan connects all sales channels and includes 5 users.
  • Advanced: The Advanced plan is perfect for larger food businesses needing advanced reporting, workflow automation, and dedicated support. It supports up to 25 users.

You can try QuickBooks for free for 30 days. Its current promotion allows users to save 90% for the first six months.

Who's It Best For?

QuickBooks is best for small restaurant businesses looking for basic accounting features to handle their accounting needs.

Pros pros

  • Mobile app for expense tracking
  • Multiple user permissions
  • Automated invoicing
  • User-friendly interface

Cons cons

  • Basic inventory customization
  • QuickBooks online payroll is available at an extra free
  • Limited industry-specific features

Read our full QuickBooks review

5. Wave – Best Free Restaurant Accounting Software

Wave Logo

Best For Free accounting software
Free Trial Free plan
Price From Starting from $16/month
Top 3 Features Invoicing, Double-Entry Accounting, Expense Tracking
Why We Picked It

Wave is the best free accounting software for restaurants looking to manage their taxes efficiently. The free plan includes professional invoicing, automatic payment reminders, unlimited users, and real-time financial reporting.

This provides restaurants with a clear view of their financial health, making it a more budget-friendly option for new and small restaurants.

Features
  • Tax Capabilities: Wave supports automated sales tax calculations and guides tax filings and payments. It also generates W2 and 1099 tax forms for employees and contractors, simplifying the tax preparation process.
  • Mobile App Invoicing: Create invoices with the Wave mobile app and send them directly to clients from your phone or tablet, ensuring efficient invoice processing.
  • Automated Bank Feeds: Seamlessly connect to business bank accounts and credit cards. This automatically imports transactions and eliminates the need for manual data entry.
  • Double-Entry Accounting: Wave uses double-entry accounting, which is preferred by accountants and beneficial for tax purposes. This method ensures accurate financial records and provides a comprehensive view of a business’s financial health.
  • Invoicing: The robust invoicing tool that allows users to create professional, customizable invoices and send them to clients via email. It supports recurring billing, payment tracking, and automatic late payment reminders, streamlining the invoicing process.
Pricing Plans

Wave offers two plans, a free plan and a pro plan with added functionalities.

Plan Starter Pro
1 month $0/month $16/month
1 year $0/year $170/year
  • Starter: This plan is ideal for absolute beginners or restaurants on a tight budget. It allows you to create and manage invoices, bills, and essential bookkeeping records for free.
  • Pro: The Pro plan is ideal for restaurants looking to simplify their financial processes. You get everything in the Starter plan plus valuable features like accepting online payments at a discounted rate, automatic bank transaction importing and categorization, and the ability to digitally capture receipts.

Wave’s pricing plans are budget-friendly, with a forever-free Starter plan ideal for absolute beginners.

Who's It Best For?

Wave accounting software is best suited for small-scale food businesses due to its superb free plan that offers basic features for restaurant operations.

Pros pros

  • Free tax management
  • Budget-friendly for small businesses
  • Unlimited users for expanding teams
  • User-friendly for basic restaurant bookkeeping

Cons cons

  • Lacks extensive reporting capabilities
  • Insufficient payroll services for larger operations
  • Lacks in-depth restaurant-specific tools

Read our full Wave review

6. Restaurant365 – Best for Overall Restaurant Financial Management

Restaurant365 Logo

Best For Restaurant financial management
Free Trial Free Demo
Price From Starting from $469/month
Top 3 Features Customer Relationship Management, Fixed Assets Tracking, Contract Verification
Why We Picked It

We chose Restaurant365 as the best choice for restaurant financial management because of its comprehensive features designed for restaurant businesses.

Restaurant365 goes beyond basic accounting with functionalities like theoretical vs. actual cost tracking, vendor contract verification, and bundled service plans, including POS and store management.

Features
  • Inventory Management: Track inventory levels, manage recipes, and calculate both theoretical and actual food costs to identify areas for cost optimization and improve profitability.
  • Vendor Contract Verification: Reduce payment errors with automatic invoice verification against pre-defined vendor contracts, ensuring you only pay the agreed-upon prices.
  • Integrated Accounting: Manage all your restaurant’s financial operations within a single platform, including accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, and financial reporting.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Build customer profiles, track loyalty points, and manage marketing campaigns to strengthen customer relationships and boost sales.
Pricing Plans

Restaurant365 provides three pricing tiers:

Plan Essential Professional Custom
1 month $469/month $689/month Quote-based
  • Essential: Ideal for new restaurants, this plan offers core accounting features, inventory management, and POS integration to centralize finances and operations.
  • Professional: Suitable for growing restaurants, this plan adds features like vendor contract verification and CRM tools to strengthen customer relationships and optimize costs.
  • Custom: Restaurant365’s Custom plan offers tailored solutions with add-ons for specific business needs, allowing restaurants to customize their package further based on unique requirements and scale of operations

Restaurant365’s pricing plans may not be the most budget-friendly option compared to Zoho or QuickBooks.

Who's It Best For?

Restaurant365 is a perfect fit for large restaurants, especially those growing or managing multiple locations that are prioritizing keeping accurate financial records.

Pros pros

  • Integrated platform for operations, accounting, and reporting in one
  • Tailored features like inventory tracking for restaurant needs
  • Seamless integration with POS systems and bank accounts
  • Accessible critical data from anywhere with the cloud-based platform

Cons cons

  • Even the lowest-tier plan is expensive
  • Steeper learning curve

7. Bonsai – Best for Catering and VIP Dining

Bonsai Logo

Best For Catering and VIP dining
Free Trial Yes, 7-day free trial
Price From Starting from $21/month
Top 3 Features Client Management, Accounts Payable, Contract Templates
Why We Picked It

We recommend Bonsai as the best fit for catering and VIP dining establishments due to its unique focus on client management. Unlike Zoho or Wave, which prioritize general accounting features, Bonsai offers a dedicated Client Portal for managing reservations, sharing documents, and facilitating secure electronic signatures.

Features
  • Automated Payment Reminders: Set up automated email or SMS reminders for overdue payments, ensuring timely fee collection from your VIP clientele.
  • Accounts Payable: Bonsai includes tools for managing accounts payable, enabling users to track and pay bills, and automating payment reminders.
  • Client Management: Comprehensive client management system that streamlines client workflow, including CRM, proposals, contracts, and retainers.
  • Automated Appointment Scheduling: Integrate your Bonsai calendar with your website, allowing VIP clients to book reservations based on your availability conveniently.
  • Contract Management with Templates: Access a library of pre-designed contract templates to customize service agreements, membership terms, or event catering proposals.
Pricing Plans

Bonsai offers a 7-day free trial to test the software.

If you’re satisfied with its features, you can subscribe to one of the three paid plans below:

Plan Starter Professional Business
1 month $25/month $39/month $79/month
1 year $21/month $32/month $66/month
  • Starter: Ideal for freelancers or solopreneurs dipping their toes into catering, this plan offers basic invoicing, expense tracking, and project management—perfect for managing finances for small-scale events.
  • Professional: Get additional features like client portals, contract templates, and automated appointment scheduling. It’s suitable for growing catering businesses.
  • Business: Advanced features like team collaboration tools and custom invoice branding. It’s perfect for established catering companies or VIP restaurants.

Optional add-ons:

  • Team Seats ($10/month per user) for collaborative work
  • Bonsai Tax ($10/month) to simplify tax preparation with expense tracking and write-off identification.
Who's It Best For?

Bonsai’s accounting software shines for businesses that prioritize exceptional client experiences. Catering companies and VIP restaurants benefit most from its strengths.

Pros pros

  • Comprehensive client management system
  • Reservations are easy to confirm using the automated booking system
  • Robust client CRM tools

Cons cons

  • Limited inventory management
  • Lacks recipe costing features
  • May not integrate with all POS systems

Read our full Bonsai review

8. Melio – Best for New Restaurants

Melio Logo

Best For New restaurants
Free Trial Free
Price From Transaction fees only
Top 3 Features Payment Tracking, Data Export, Bill Management
Why We Picked It

Melio is the perfect accounting solution for new restaurants because it focuses on cash flow management. The software also offers a free plan with core accounting features like bill management and payment tracking.

The game-changer is the Pay Over Time feature. This virtual credit line lets you pay vendors instantly while stretching your repayments over months, ensuring good supplier relationships without straining your cash flow.

Features
  • Payment Tracking: Robust payment tracking capabilities allow users to monitor payment statuses, track transaction history, and ensure timely payments to vendors and suppliers.
  • Pay Over Time: Spread vendor payments over 12 monthly or 30 bi-weekly installments, ensuring smooth cash flow management without compromising vendor relationships.
  • Free Bill Management: Organize and track all your bills in one place. You can simplify invoice management from various vendors, ensuring timely payments and avoiding late fees.
  • Accounts Receivable: Melio supports accounts receivable functionalities, enabling businesses to send invoices, track customer payments, and manage receivables effectively.
  • Payment Processing: Secure and convenient payment processing, offering multiple payment options, such as ACH transfers, credit/debit cards, and checks, to ensure flexibility and ease of transactions.
Pricing Plans

Melio keeps things simple with a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. You’ll only incur fees for specific transactions, with no monthly subscriptions or hidden costs. Here’s a breakdown of their charges:

  • Free: ACH bank transfers and check delivery (for the first two checks each month).

Transaction Fees:

  • Pay by card: 2.9%
  • Instant transfer (up to $50): 1.5%
  • Fast ACH bank transfer (up to $30): 1%
  • Fast check: $20
  • International payments: $20 flat fee
Who's It Best For?

Melio is perfect for startups and small restaurants on a tight budget.

Pros pros

  • Robust payment tracking capabilities
  • Melio integrates with popular accounting software like QuickBooks
  • Vendors can receive payments via ACH or check

Cons cons

  • Limited customer management
  • No payroll integration

Read our full Melio review

9. Sage – Best for Comprehensive Accounting

A logo of Sage

Best For Comprehensive accounting
Free Trial N/A
Price From Custom pricing
Top 3 Features Intelligent General Ledger with AI, Rich Dashboard and Reporting Insights, Automatic Order Management
Why We Picked It

We consider Sage the best accounting software for the complex accounting needs of restaurants, as it helps them improve efficiency and save time on data entry and spreadsheet inputs. Its robust reporting and dashboard display your business’s real-time data to make quick business decisions.

Beyond this, you can access over 150 report templates, which you can quickly adapt to your specific situation, saving you tons of hours building professional reports from scratch.

Features
  • Intelligent GL with AI: Swiftly improve your business strategy and operations without requiring manual input. This AI detection report works by analyzing several transactions in your restaurant to identify and indicate anomalies for specific activities, allowing you to audit your data continuously.
  • Rich Dashboard and Reporting Insights: View real-time data and provide vital insights into your business’s performance. One of the best features of this report is the ability to modify the dashboard to your restaurant’s preferences.
  • Automatic Order Management: The automated order management follows a single manual entry while every other output is generated automatically. Once you’ve inputted orders as they come in, Sage automatically categorizes the data, distributing them to order fulfillment, billing, revenue accounting, and all the other necessary places.
Pricing Plans

Sage offers a quote-based pricing option.

Once you sign up with Sage, you can access its member masterclass, community, and certifications to showcase your expertise in using Sage.

Although Sage doesn’t offer a free trial, you can have a product tour of each feature on the website to understand its working processes.

Who's It Best For?

Sage is highly recommended for restaurants looking for dependable, versatile, and innovative accounting software that will work flawlessly with their restaurant management systems.

Pros pros

  • It offers restaurant-specific accounting solutions
  • Its accounting features are scalable
  • Supports integration with other business tools
  • AI-generated reports, which facilitate quick decision-making

Cons cons

  • Lacks free plan/trial
  • Its multiple features may be confusing for beginners to navigate
  • Its overall pricing may be expensive
  • Its customer support response time could be better
  • The prepaid module UI needs a refresh to become more user-appealing

Read our full Sage review

10. NetSuite – Best for Restaurants with Multiple Locations

Oracle NetSuite Logo

Best For Restaurants with Multiple Locations
Free Trial N/A
Price From Custom pricing
Top 3 Features Multi-Location Management, Customer Relationship Management, Restaurant Inventory
Why We Picked It

NetSuite helps you consolidate multi-location finance data to present valuable insights to you, increase your staff productivity, and make quick business decisions.

Sage and NetSuite are well-known for their excellent accounting solutions, but NetSuite goes above and beyond with helpful restaurant management tools and insights for opening and managing new outlets.

Features
  • Multi-Location Management: Quickly spot trends and financial performance of all your restaurant stores in just one place—the NetSuite reporting dashboard without paperwork or manual data entry.
  • Customer Relationship Management: NetSuite’s CRM tool is in-depth and broad, providing valuable insight into your customers’ behavior. The guest service dashboard lets you better understand your restaurant’s guest behavior.
  • Restaurant Inventory: Real-time monitoring of spending preserves your business’s profitability without waste. It tracks ingredient inventory from purchase to plate with various recipe types, multiple units of measure, transfers, and dashboard KPIs.
Pricing Plans

NetSuite only offers custom pricing due to its multitude of customization options. While there is no free plan, you can access its free product tour to understand its features in action without signing up.

Who's It Best For?

NetSuite is suitable for restaurants with multiple locations that need to gain valuable financial insight from their different stores through automation.

Pros pros

  • It offers scalable solutions to support business growth
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Quick data accessibility when building reports
  • High flexibility with report personalization

Cons cons

  • Lack of free plan or trial
  • Can become expensive
  • Lack of transparent pricing
  • Specialized knowledge is required to handle the software effectively

Read our full NetSuite review

The Best Restaurant Accounting Software Compared

Here’s a comparison of the leading accounting software options, focusing on their unique strengths and functionalities.

Accounting Software Best For Free Trial Starting Price Top Features
FreshBooks Managing Customer Tabs Yes $19/month Payroll Management, Inventory Tracking, Expense Tracking
Zoho Food Trucks with Mileage Tracking Yes $15/month MileageTracking, Delivery Management, Targeted Marketing
Xero Record Keeping Yes $15/month Menu Pricing, Payroll Processing, Record Keeping
QuickBooks Small Restaurant Business Yes $18/month Cash-flow Management, Reporting, Mileage Tracking
Wave Free Accounting Software Yes $16/month Invoicing, Double-Entry Accounting, Expense Tracking
Restaurant365 Restaurant Financial Management Free Demo $469/month Customer Relationship Management, Fixed Assets Tracking, Contract Verification
Bonsai Catering and VIP Dining Yes $21/month Client Management, Accounts Payable, Contract Templates
Melio New Restaurants Yes Transaction Fees Only Payment Tracking, Data Export, Bill Management
Sage Comprehensive Accounting No Quote-based Intelligent General Ledger with AI, Rich Dashboard and Reporting Insights, Automatic Order Management
NetSuite Restaurants with Multiple Locations No Quote-based Multi-Location Management, Customer Relationship Management, Restaurant Inventory
Methodology

How We Review and Test Accounting Products

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular accounting products on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Features: We examine the features of each accounting software to determine what capabilities are offered- such as creating, editing, and deleting transactions.
  • Compliance: We evaluate accounting software based on whether it offers local compliance when it comes to payroll, taxes, documentation, and more.
  • Bank Reconciliation: We test the reconciliation process to ensure transactions match bank statements accurately.
  • Multi-Currency Support: We verify the accuracy of currency conversions and transactions in multi-currency environments.
  • User Experience: We get hands-on with each product and act as a new user, testing each platform to gain understanding if the platform is easy to use or not.
  • Reporting and Documentation: We verify the accuracy of financial reports generated by the software such as balance sheets and income statements.
  • Integrations: We evaluate the integrations of each piece of software to determine how well it fits in with other key pieces in a business’s software stack, and whether its functionality can be expanded as required.
  • Audit Trails: We ensure the software maintains comprehensive audit trails for tracking changes made to financial data.

Do I Need Specific Accounting Software for a Restaurant?

While general accounting software can handle basic finances, restaurants benefit from specialized software. Restaurant-specific solutions offer features like menu costing, perishable inventory management, POS integration, and industry reports.

However, general accounting software excels at complex transactions and asset management, tasks that restaurant-specific software might struggle with. You likely need restaurant accounting software for daily operations and general accounting software for managing your annual books.

What Accounting Features Does a Restaurant Owner Need

As a restaurant owner, having the right accounting features is crucial for managing your finances effectively and making data-driven decisions to grow your business.

Here are the top 5 accounting features that every restaurant owner needs:

Accounts Receivable & Accounts Payable

Efficient management of money owed to and by your restaurant is crucial. Look for software that streamlines invoicing, tracks outstanding payments, and provides tools for vendor management. This feature ensures timely collection of receivables and prompt payment of payables, maintaining healthy cash flow.

Inventory Management

Given the perishable nature of restaurant ingredients, robust inventory management is essential. Choose a restaurant inventory management software solution that helps track inventory levels, generates reorder alerts, and integrates with suppliers for seamless restocking.

Payroll Management

Restaurant staff often have varied roles and compensation structures. Seek software that simplifies payroll calculations, manages tips and gratuities, and ensures compliance with labor laws and regulations. This feature reduces the risk of errors, ensures accurate compensation, and keeps you compliant with labor laws.

Reporting & Analytics

Detailed reporting capabilities provide insights into your restaurant’s financial health. You’ll want to ensure you can generate reports on sales, expenses, profitability by menu item, labor costs, and more. This feature allows you to identify trends, optimize pricing, control costs, and make informed decisions to improve profitability.

POS Integration

A seamless connection between the accounting software and POS systems is essential for accurate revenue tracking. Ensure the software integrates with your POS to reconcile sales data efficiently. This feature eliminates manual data entry, reduces errors, and provides real-time visibility into your restaurant’s performance.

What’s the Best Free Accounting Tools for Restaurants?

The best free accounting tool for restaurants is Wave, which offers a comprehensive suite of features, including expense tracking, invoicing, receipt scanning, and basic financial reporting. Wave’s free plans for invoicing and accounting provide unlimited income and expense tracking, collaborations, and more, making it ideal for small restaurant owners looking to manage their finances efficiently without attracting additional costs.

How to Choose a Restaurant Accounting System

Choosing the perfect restaurant accounting system requires careful consideration of several key factors to ensure it aligns with your unique needs. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials:

BudgetReporting PowerUser-Friendly InterfaceRestaurant-Specific FeaturesWeb-Based Accessibility

Budget: Be realistic about your financial resources. Free or budget-friendly options like Wave can be a great starting point for new restaurants. As your business grows, consider upgrading to a more comprehensive bookkeeping software with scalability. Remember, the goal is to find the best value for your money without overspending and hindering your cash flow.

Reporting Power: Strong financial reporting is the cornerstone of informed decision-making. Look for software that delivers clear insights into your restaurant’s performance. With this data, you can optimize your menu offerings, control costs, and pinpoint areas for improvement.

User-Friendly Interface: A user-friendly interface is key to navigating your finances easily. Opt for a system with a clear and intuitive dashboard that displays your chart of accounts, cash flow breakdowns, and other financial details in one centralized location. Complex interfaces can be time-consuming to learn and increase the risk of misinterpretations.

Restaurant-Specific Features: Not all accounting software is created equal. Generic solutions might not cater to the unique challenges of the restaurant industry. Look for features specifically designed for restaurants, such as:

  • Menu costing and analysis: Track food costs and optimize your menu pricing for profitability.
  • Integrated POS support: Eliminate data entry errors by seamlessly connecting your accounting software with your point-of-sale system.
  • In-depth reporting: Gain valuable insights tailored to the restaurant industry, like food cost percentages and labor costs.
  • Streamlined inventory management: Track your food and beverage inventory efficiently to avoid stockouts and waste.

These features will ensure smooth operations and empower you to make data-driven decisions that keep your restaurant running like a well-oiled machine.

Web-Based Accessibility: A web-based accounting system allows access to your financial data anytime, anywhere, on any device. Some systems even allow offline access for specific features. This way, you can analyze data and make informed decisions on the go, fostering collaboration with your staff, who can also access the information remotely.

You can choose a restaurant accounting system with the perfect blend of features, functionality, and affordability by carefully considering these factors.

FAQs

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John Iwuozor
Tech Writer
John Iwuozor
Tech Writer

John Iwuozor is a writer at Techopedia with over three years of experience and expertise covering topics on HR, business software, IT security, and finance for small and medium-sized businesses. His work has been featured on reputable platforms like Forbes Advisor and EsecurityPlanet. Leveraging his background in mathematics and data analysis, he specializes in delivering original and high-quality content with a keen eye for detail and accuracy.