The Best Catering Software for Small Business

Best Catering Software for Small Business

Product: RCS Catering Softwarebest-catering-software-for-small-business

Price: $129/month

Trial: 30 day FREE Trial

Rating: 9/10

Restaurant Catering Systems Description

Today I wanted to tell you why this is truly the best catering software for small business. We have used Restaurant Catering Systems since 2012 and ever since our catering operation has been soaring!

This software has everything you need for customer relationship management, online ordering, accounting and marketing. RCS is easy to use and your staff will love it.

Customer Relationship Management

The customer relationship module in this software is excellent. When you first click on a customer’s profile you get a quick snapshot including items like:

  • Contact info
  • The date they first ordered
  • The date of their most recent order
  • How many times they have ordered
  • Lifetime sales
  • Highlighted notes for the customer

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There are a number of other options you can edit as well, many having to deal with their marketing module which I will get into later. Besides the quick stats, there is also a row of shortcut icons so you can quickly access areas like:

  • Customer notes
  • Customer To-Do list
  • Schedule phone calls, mail, meetings or events
  • View orders
  • View quotes
  • View invoices
  • View credit cards
  • View deposits
  • View saved delivery addresses

This software can really store all the information you would need for any given customer.  Being able to schedule reminders for the customer is crucial, especially as you start to grow. This is a big help in staying organized with all of your catering orders.

Another feature I like about this software is you can assign customers to groups or if they belong to a company you can enter their industry information and company size. This comes in handy for their marketing module.

Navigating to a customer’s profile is a breeze as well. Simply start typing the customers name, email or company name in the search bar and the results will pre-populate as you type. This allows you to find a customer in just seconds while you are talking with them on the phone.

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You also have the ability to import contacts from an excel file which will be useful as you start to build your database.

If you have not used software before to organize your contacts you will be so glad you started once you see how well this keeps everything organized. If you currently use software now and are looking for a change I encourage you to sign up for their free trial and see how easy it is to use for yourself.

Online Ordering

There are two parts to the online order feature of the software. One is for your customers and one is for you or your staff.

I cannot tell you how many times a customer would call before we started using this software and ask “can we get the same order as last time?” What do you think our response was? “Sure, can you remind me what that was?”

Being able to instantly view previous orders for a customer was a lifesaver. It also makes your level of appearance seem much more professional. Within just a couple months we started getting compliments about how organized we were.

If they only knew!

Entering in a new order can be done in less than 60 seconds. Simply click on “start new order” link in the customer’s profile and it will take you to the order entry screen.

From there you can fill in the event details, time, date, address, whether it is a full service catering or self service catering. Then to enter menu items simple start typing what they are called and you will see the options start pre-populating. Once you have an item selected you can make any additional option choices you need to and update the quantity.

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When you have entered all the details you can either place the order or create a quote. You also have the option to automatically send the customer a confirmation when you place the order.

Once you place the order and have your catering software setup properly you will have access to a bunch of information just from the order confirmation screen. There is a drop down on the actual order with links to:

  • Place the order again (for when you get those calls I mentioned above!)
  • Print the order
  • Print a catering ticket for the customers (looks nicer and has your logo vs. printing the order)
  • Get delivery directions
  • Supplier Report (you can setup inventory items to tell you how much you need to product you need to get for this order)
  • Food prep report (tells your kitchen staff quantities of food for the order)
  • Show credit card info (by default this info is encrypted)
  • Edit the order
  • Schedule reminders
  • View Invoice (will show any payments made and remaining balance)

Once you have your software setup correctly, you will everything you need to produce the order in about 60 seconds. Imagine if you had to calculate the items above by hand for every order…Did I mention I think this is the best catering software for small business?

RCS also has a calendar view so you can quickly see what you have coming up.  The calendar is color coded so you quickly decipher what are actual orders, which ones are quotes and which are notifications (follow up reminders, notes, etc.)

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There are several filters and preference choices as well so you can really get a good look at exactly what you want. You can also drill down by week or day to see even more detail on busier days/weeks.

Another useful tool is the Overview page, which is the default landing page when you sign in. It defaults to the current week and quickly shows the orders you coming up with most of the details for that order.

One thing Chris and I like to do is subtotal the orders for the current year by sales rep so we can see who’s booked more sales! We are rooting for the company overall to book caterings but this is still a fun, harmless way to compete.

Online Ordering for Customers

Your customers will not see all the bells and whistles that you have access to but they will be able to place their own orders nonetheless.

They will be able to login with their email and create their own password. From their, they can place new orders from your menu as well as view past orders and place them again.

You can add pictures to menu items which is a nice touch. You can also create upsell items for certain menu items.

For example, whenever a customer orders one of our family packs online when they click to check out it asks them if they would like to add paper packs to their orders. These all add up!

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The view is also a different view then what you see in the admin section. It is more branded with your logos and pictures of your food.

Customers can also simply login and view the menu or create quotes. Anytime a customer places an order or quote you instantly get an email in your inbox of the order. This way you won’t miss any that come thru.

We don’t have a ton of customers that use the online orders but the ones who do love it. They know what they want and don’t have to pick up a phone.

One of our most important customers like to use it…she keeps us busy and puts all the orders in herself!

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Accounting with RCS

Another added bonus to the RCS software is the accounting module. You can setup each customer to have a house account.

You can also setup each order from a house account to automatically create invoices. Your bookkeeper will love you now that you can quickly go back through last week’s or last month’s order and see who still owes you money.

You can also track deposits or payments on orders. We use this feature a lot when we book weddings 6 or 12 months out. The systems will keep track of the dates, amounts and payment types of any deposits made leading up to the event.

Marketing with RCS

Last but certainly not least I wanted to talk about the marketing module in RCS. You will instantly improve your operations with the CRM and online ordering features but this is what makes RCS the best catering software for small business.

The marketing module is going to help you grow your sales and many of these features will be on autopilot!

The support team will use your logos and pictures and design direct mail pieces that go out to your customers automatically. All you do is pay for postage and printing for each piece.

Included in their module are:

  • Loyalty/referral program (all you have to do is activate customers, RCS calculates the return and automatically mails out gift certificates once the bonus reaches the set threshold determined by you)
  • Thank you campaign (automatically sends thank you letters with your signatures asking for feedback)
  • Customer reactivation (I really like this one, if a customer doesn’t order for a set period of time they will automatically receive coupons for their next order)
  • Lighthearted lunches postcard (if you don’t feel like creating your own postcards to stay in front of your database this is a good option)
  • Postcard campaigns (can create your own campaign and upload your own images)
  • Email Marketing (write and send your own emails to your contacts)
  • Four Step Prospecting Campaign (the bread and butter)

I wanted to talk about this last module in more detail. They call it “Sales Tempo”, it is a pretty neat feature. As you start marketing your catering one of the things you will need to do is lead generation.

One of the ways they teach is to buy a list of potential business in your area. Call them and find out how many times they order and how frequently. This will give you potential catering customers that you can import into the sales tempo module.

The system will do all of the following until the customer responds to your offer and you take them out of sales tempo:

  • Send out 3 postcards in 2 week increments
  • Schedule a follow up phone call 7 days after the last postcard has been sent
  • Schedule a reminder to connect with the customer on LinkedIn 7 days after the phone
  • Schedule a cookie drop 7 days after you connect with them on LinkedIn

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There is a reason they call this sales tempo. The quicker you can work through your list the more benefit you will see from this program.

The best way to get new customers is to let them try your product for free. You won’t convert all of these prospects into lifelong customers but I guarantee you will do a lot better than placing a radio or TV ad and then wait for your phone to ring.

If you sign up for their premium level you will also gain access to a website called Restaurant Profit Point. This website has hundreds of ideas for postcards, flyers, and other marketing campaigns.

It is well worth the additional payment, we have used many ideas from this website over and over again. It also takes the guesswork out of trying to always come up with fresh content.

Restaurant Catering Systems Cons

I didn’t write a “pros” section as I see all of the items I mentioned in the description as a plus. There isn’t really much included in the software that we don’t use. Besides a report here and there we pretty much use all of the features that come with this software so I feel like it is fairly priced for what you get out of it.

That being said, in the beginning it can feel like information overload. It did for us as well, but you just have to start with one item at a time. Work it for a few weeks or a month, when it becomes a habit add something new to the mix.

Start with mastering the CRM and online ordering features. Let the RCS support team setup the automatic marketing pieces. Then as you get more comfortable and the pace starts to slow down you can start implementing the other marketing modules.

When you are really ready to take it up a notch I recommend diving head first into the sales tempo module. This will really help you spread the word about your catering services.

Conclusion

Besides being a little overwhelming at first, I can’t think of many other cons for this software. It keeps you more organized, provides a better experience for your customers, helps you promote your catering and helps you keep track of the money.

It is for these reasons I truly believe this is the best catering software for small business. Are you customer of RCS? Let me know if you agree in the comments below!

50 thoughts on “The Best Catering Software for Small Business”

  1. Wow, that was a very in-depth review of this software and from what you have said I think it is perfect for anyone who wants to go online with their catering business. But I think the price is a bit high, however looking at the features I think it would be a good investment.

    1. Thanks for the comments Hari, the price may seem high initially, but when you see how many hours a week you will save and the sales growth potential it is well worth the price.

  2. Thank you for a great and complex review, the information are really usefull. The price seems to be quite high, but on the other hand if someone wants to buy a high-quality software it is probably adequate.

    1. Hi David, you get what you pay for. This software will pay for itself in the first month if you take advantage of all of the features. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Jeremey,

    Thanks for the indepth review. This software program sounds amazing! I have friends that are in the catering business but none of them are using a program like this – I don’t think they’re using a program at all!

    As someone who uses a database application everyday, I know how valuable this software must be to your business. The ordering online feature is awesome and being able to easily check to see what regular customers ordered previously is obviously a key feature of this software. And to be able to run marketing campaigns through this program is probably my favourite feature. I think one of the most important features of any database application like this, is it allows you to easily track your own performance and if necessary adjust the service you provide along the way.

    I didn’t think the price was expensive (I know the cost of good database application) in fact it only works out to be under $30 per week or $4.25 a day – money well spent!

  4. Hi, Jeremy

    I can see that you know the catering business pretty well. This post was extremely professional and detailed around this RCS software system. I was completely hooked. I totally believe that this system is the best software for catering.

    If I ever would start with a business like this I would use it for sure.
    Tove

  5. Hi Jeremy
    This is an excellent system for restaurant caterers and you’ve done a great review on it to highlight all the features of it. I think the price is pretty good as you get what you pay for; I use a cloud based accounting system at work which is quite expensive.

    It’s good this system has an accounting module with it, because as I was reading my way through the review I was asking myself that question and I thought that you would have to pay extra for it, but it’s all included. I don’t think restaurant caterers will find a better system than this.

  6. My word – but the restaurant business has come a long way!
    This is most impressive. (Forgive, I live in some little sticks on the dark continent where I’m lucky to have 1 restaurant 🙂 )

    An advantage of your system I can think of off the top of my head is…. you can use it to keep track of your customers’ food allergies… as well as how like they like their steak done.
    Great info – thanx!

    1. Hi Cat, yes you can write individual notes in each customer’s profile. This can be food allergies or any other special needs that customer might have. The customer relationship this software contains is great for small restaurant business owners. Even if it is your only restaurant!

  7. Hi Jeremy. Wow, this is such a detailed and thorough review of the RCS software. And your insights and personal experience in the business are very helpful and mind-opening as well. I think you could have titled your article, How to Succeed in the Restaurant Catering Business With Just One Click. And it still would have been pretty accurate. I would definitely recommend RCS to friends who’re in the restaurant business.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations John, this software was definitely crucial in getting our catering sales off the ground. When you sign up you also get access to a different marketing module website that has a ton of valuable information. It was where we learned a lot of the techniques we talk about on this site.

  8. Wow! The feature where it can remember the last customer purchase is a sure winner for me. Just like ordering with pizza, as a customer – you wouldn’t want to tell them all the toppings that you want all the time. If you could just say “the last order that I made” and BOOM! Done. That is a big deal and I am pretty sure that a lot of customers would appreciate this kind of feature.

    This is one awesome program. I agree with you on this one. But I would give a 10.

    1. Thanks Von, I’m glad you see the value in this catering software. We literally have customers call or email and say “same thing as last time” and they are getting an order confirmation within 60 seconds. You can also keep customer notes or special requests in their profile as well.

  9. Nice article about catering made easier for customers. Many people nowadays love to shop or buy things online. I don’t think I’ve heard of ordering from a catering company online that is amazing, I love it!

    1. Hi Aaliyah, this software is great for letting your customers place their own catering orders online. In fact, one of our customers who represents about 10% of our catering sales puts in all her own orders, she loves it!

  10. What a great information you have here.
    My friend opened a restaurant and there is a lot of mess in the beginning,
    I’m trying to help him out and gladly I found this page.
    I’m going to check RCS Catering Software,
    After I read what the capabilities of this software I believe it will make a great change in is businessץ
    I hope he will like it.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Efi, if you like what you see let you friend know about our eBook. It has a lot of great information about how to implement catering and direct marketing strategies for your restaurant.

  11. RCS sounds like an amazing computer program. It can do so much to keep you organized and the price is really good. This would be a plus for any catering business.

    1. Yes Wendy, this has been a great addition to our operation. It is also internet based catering software so you can access it from anywhere!

  12. Awesome software! Definitely sounds like an all in one software for anyone in the catering business! Great read with a lot of information too make a decision. Can never go wrong with the free trials too!

    1. That’s right Albert, even if you are on the fence about this catering software, that free trial let’s you see all of the details for free!

  13. This is a great review. The software sounds super effective and helpful. It sure would keep everything organized. And that would look very good for your company. When you are organized and know what your customer wants, it makes you look reliable and on top of things. I hate dealing with places that seem to be scattered. And the accounting features is nice. For sure that would come in handy for keeping track of who has paid what or what is still owing. If I ever have a company, I may need to buy this software!

    1. I’m glad you see the value in this catering software Summerly. Like you mentioned it is a great tool for keeping your company organized, professional and keeping track of the money. It really is all inclusive!

  14. I must be sincere. I didn’t have clue about new techs in catering services. It all looked like a new world as I read your post. From customer profile to ordering, marketing and assessment, you really have the hang of it. To think that you’ve been in the business gives your post more authenticity. I’m please to have learned from you and I hope many people in the field will benefit from you too. Well done.
    Nnanna

  15. Hey Jeremy
    Thanks for this great informative review of this software. As a chef of 30 years or so (now retired from the trade) who had thought about opening a personal chef service, I did extensive research on software that would have done what this software does. It would have been a Godsend if I had of gone through with the idea but I didn’t.
    I don’t think the price is to high for such an invaluable tool such as this as well as a time saver.
    Good luck
    Kevin

    1. Thanks Kevin. Wow 30 years as a chef, that is dedication! You are absolutely right this catering software saves us hours upon hours over the course of a year.

    1. Hi Helen, if you know anyone in the restaurant or catering business please share this review with them. This catering software can really take their business to the next level!

  16. Awesome software and more important awesome review. I’m amazed how complex your review can be. Since catering service became more and more popular, I think that this software is a real must. Your article has plenty of information and I’m sure that someone can make the right call. Good job Jeremy!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my review of this catering software we use in our small business. It has been vital in helping us increase sales and stay organized.

  17. I used to be a business analyst and I really enjoyed reading this article. I can see how this software simplifies the life of a caterer and most important their customer’s. You said you’ve been using it since 2012. Are there new versions that came out since then? Is the customer support team reliable? Thanks for this great post!

    1. Yes it not only simplifies us as the owners but it makes it easy for us to train new staff to take new orders. Their customer support is very responsive, they usually get back to you within 30 minutes to an hour once you submit a ticket. Also, the software is internet based so they roll out updates a couple times a year. They are also good about taking customer feedback and incorporating suggestions into their updates.

  18. I’ve never heard of a software like this before. The amount of time and confusion this could save you is priceless. The key to staying on top of any good business is good Orginisation and this software seems to have it all. Fantastic post btw. Very detailed

    1. Yes Scott this catering software keeps you organized and your customers happy. I’m glad you see the value this software brings!

  19. Thanks for such an in-depth review, I do appreciate when reviewers include as much information as they can, and answer questions I never even thought of. Important if someone is going to rely on it as a basis for a purchase. Many, many years ago I worked in the banqueting department of a major hotel chain. We had nothing like this, but I can’t help but think how helpful it would have been, how much time would have been saved, and how even more professional we would have appeared to be. I’m sure many catering companies and related establishments will benefit from this informative post.

    1. I’m glad you see the benefits of this catering software. I agree, even the catering departments at hotel or even restaurant chains would benefit from this software. In fact if you go to their website you will see some of the testimonials are from national chain restaurants!

  20. A very interesting strategy Jeremy. This is very beneficial for other caterers that wish to see an increase in their business. If things like this where available sooner it would have been a huge benefit and boost.

    1. Hi Peter, this catering software has helped us increase our catering sales by over 30% per year for the last 4 years. And you are right, we wish we would have come across it years before that! Thanks for the feedback.

  21. Was doing some searching around for my brother-in-law that he could use to manage his growing business. Thanks for the post. I’ll recommend him take a look at this.

    1. Thanks James, please let your brother-in-law know about our eBook as well. It has a ton of great information that can help him grow his restaurant business even more by offering catering and direct marketing.

  22. As a customer, i love it when my shopping experience is a breeze. A comprehensive shopping experience tells me the company is reliable and doing well. I always thought that companies DIY their shopping platform. This post has taught me to look out for the RCS brand in online shops for greater assurance.

    1. Hey Regina, you are right, restaurants and catering companies that use the RCS catering software in their business are serious. They want to provide the best customer experience possible and this software allows them to do that.

      The user experience on the customers end is great. RCS makes it very easy to place your order and create hassle free catering events.

  23. This is just so amazing! It’s like having your own trusted, efficient, reliable Personal Assistant! Every single thing that I can think of is in this software and more. It’s on auto-pilot as well. I definitely do not own a restaurant but after reading this review, I suddenly want to open up a restaurant of my own knowing that all the support is there within this superb software! Reminders, follow ups, customer details as minute as the last order and they even have accounting to go with! How did you survive without this is the past? I like the review tremendously as it is very comprehensive. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I really do not know how we survived without it, dumb luck? It was embarrassing so many times when our customers asked, “do you know what I got last time?” the answer was almost always no until we got this software.

      Plus, the access to the marketing information is worth way more than what you pay for it.

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