Top Picks: Best Catering Software for Small Business 2024

By Jason McIntosh

The catering business is booming. But along with delicious food and exceptional service comes the need for organization and efficiency. This is where the best catering software solutions for small businesses come in. Choosing the right software can streamline your business operations, free up valuable time by eliminating manual work, and ultimately help your business thrive.

Finding the best catering software for your small business can feel overwhelming with so many options available. In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down the essential features to consider and highlight some top contenders in the catering software world.

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Best Catering Software for Small Business

Running a catering business, especially a small one, is more than just delicious food and flawless service. You need to juggle crafting enticing proposals, scheduling staff, tracking inventory, and managing catering invoices.

This is where the best catering software for small businesses comes in.

Curate

Curate
Curate is an advanced CRM that is specifically equipped with features needed to automate and streamline your business. It features a centralized client database, a custom proposal builder with e-signature capabilities, project management tools, reporting & analytics, among others.

Unlike any software, Curate is a platform that is specifically designed for caterers. It is a very easy-to-use CRM that provides all the tools you need in the catering industry and more importantly, makes your business a lot easier to manage. Another item that makes Curate unique is that caterers who have rentals and design arms of their business can also take advantage of features to make these areas efficient.

Curate is the only tool that has integrations for both Nowsta and Galley.

Top Features

  • Pipeline management
  • Customized proposals
  • Event Calendar
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integration
  • SAVE 9 HOURS A WEEK!

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Flex Catering

Flex Catering
Flex Catering is a user-friendly event catering management software with built-in CRM functionality. It streamlines your operations with features like an event management system and scheduling, delivery tracker, and more.

Flex Catering also offers a client portal where customers can view their order history, make payments, and even place new orders online. This self-service feature can greatly reduce your administrative workload.

Top Features

  • Event manager
  • Client portal
  • Custom website

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FoodStorm Catering

Food Storm
FoodStorm is an all-in-one catering software that combines CRM tools, order management, and production planning. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to access customer information and manage orders. Online ordering is also possible via their custom e-commerce platform.

Other notable features of FoodStorm include POS integration, reports to keep you updated on how your business is doing, and a robust communication system that enhances the client experience by giving customers updates on their orders via email. 

Top Features

  • Order management
  • E-commerce platform
  • Marketing tools
  • Integration

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Caterease

Caterease
Caterease is a comprehensive software solution suited for caterers and event planners that offers a plethora of necessary tools including a booking management system for upcoming events, a flexible reporting system, and integrated payment.

Caterease also provides a robust events calendar that gives you greater control over your catering operations.

Top Features

  • Booking management
  • Payment processing
  • Event calendar
  • Flexible reporting

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CaterZen

Cater Zen
CaterZen is a catering management software that simplifies your entire management process. With features like kitchen production reports and delivery manager, it will streamline your workflow from start to finish.

Additionally, CaterZen's CRM capabilities allow you to store customer information, track interactions, and manage menu items. Its reporting tools provide valuable real time insights into your sales trends and customer behavior.

Top Features

  • Delivery manager
  • Kitchen production reporting
  • Contact management

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Total Party Planner (Acquired in 2021)

Total Party Planner
Total Party Planner is an all-in-one catering and event management software that helps you streamline your operations from start to finish. With features like client management, an event calendar, and a centralized online payment solution, it's a comprehensive solution for busy caterers.

Another standout feature of Total Party Planner is its customizable templates for proposals and 3rd party app integration. These tools save you time and ensure consistency across your events.

Top Features

  • Customer management
  • Event calendar
  • Integration
  • Reporting

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Planning Pod

Planning Pod
Planning Pod is a cloud-based software that offers a suite of tools for catering businesses, including a robust CRM system. With Planning Pod, you have access to essential features that let you manage clients and files, and process payments in this all-in-one business software.

What sets Planning Pod apart is its ease of use works well even on mobile devices and offers extensive customization options. You can tailor the software to fit your unique workflows and branding.

Top Features

  • Guest management
  • File management
  • Event timelines
  • Payment processing

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Better Cater

Better Cater

Better Cater is a game-changer for those in the catering services industry. This simple yet powerful software streamlines your entire catering operation, from online ordering to payment processing. Keep track of events using their built-in calendar that also lets you sync your Google calendar for maximum efficiency.

Better Cater is also a cloud-based software that enables you to view order histories and manage your customer database practically everywhere.

Top Features

  • Calendar management
  • Customer database
  • Planning and scheduling automation
  • Invoice management

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Why You Need Catering Software

Running a catering business is no easy feat. You're juggling menus, orders, invoices, staff, and a million other details. This is where the best catering software for small businesses can truly shine, streamlining those daily operations and helping you reclaim valuable time to focus on what matters most – creating delicious food and exceeding your client’s expectations.

Catering Software for Small Business: The Game-Changer

Catering management software can be a game-changer for your business. Here's how:

  • Streamlined Ordering: Say goodbye to endless phone calls and confusing emails. Online ordering systems mean fewer errors, less back and forth, and make it easy for customers to view your offerings.
  • Automated Invoicing: Ditch the spreadsheets and tedious calculations. The best catering software lets you send out professional invoices in a flash and keeps track of payments. No more chasing after outstanding bills.
  • Inventory Control: Ever run out of key ingredients at the worst possible moment? Good catering management software lets you keep tabs on your inventory. You’ll be alerted to low stock before it disrupts your workflow, saving time, money, and major stress.
  • Happier Clients: Catering software benefits your customers just as much as your business. Easy online ordering, on-time deliveries, and a streamlined experience ensure customer satisfaction, and more likely to come back for more.

The bottom line? Implementing catering software isn't just a tech upgrade; it’s an investment that offers comprehensive solutions to your catering business's growth, efficiency, and profitability. And trust me, the payoff is enormous.

Software for Every Sized Plate: Key Features

Whether you're a one-person show or managing a growing team, specific catering software features can save you headaches. Here's what to consider:

Proposal Management

Imagine transforming your proposals from messy spreadsheets to beautiful, trackable documents. Good catering software lets you create templates, send them off for e-signatures, and even manage payment schedules.

No more lost invoices, and you'll be able to present a more professional image to potential clients. Plus, having everything in one place makes it easy to track your progress and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Event Management Tools

Think of it as one central hub for everything — event bookings, menus, staff, and even rental equipment. No more sticky notes with event details scattered everywhere.

This level of organization can be a game-changer for your small business. You'll be able to keep track of all your events in one place, which can help you stay on top of deadlines and avoid costly mistakes.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Knowing your client's specific needs is key to catering success. Having their contact details, order history, and even food preferences on hand is vital for repeat business. A CRM system can help you keep track of all of this information, making it easier to provide excellent customer service and build strong relationships with your clients.

Essential Catering Tools: More Than Just Menus

When researching the best catering software for a small business, owners often look for tools to help them work smarter, not harder. This includes:

Invoicing and Payments

Accepting credit card payments, sending automated invoices, and tracking payments should be easy. We're talking about features like custom payment schedules, deposit reminders, and seamless online payments. This all adds up to getting paid quicker and spending less time chasing down those late payments.

Scheduling Made Easy

Trying to wrangle staff schedules through a series of texts or emails is stressful. Catering software with scheduling tools allows for assigning team members to events, tracking their hours, and streamlining payroll.

This can save you a lot of time and hassle, and it can help you make sure that you always have enough staff on hand for your events. Plus, it eliminates any confusion or miscommunication about scheduling.

Ingredient and Inventory Tracking

No caterer wants to run out of shrimp at the eleventh hour. Look for features like ingredient calculators to help you purchase for larger events and minimize food waste. Robust inventory management and menu planning keep everything running like a well-oiled machine.

Keeping track of your food costs is essential for any catering business. The right software can make it easier to track your food costs, which can help you price your menus profitably.

Making the Choice: What's The Best Catering Software For Small Business?

While "best" depends entirely on your business needs and budget, there are popular options for specific niches. No matter the software you pick, remember these three golden rules:

  1. Try before you buy. Most platforms offer free trials so you can take them for a spin.
  2. User experience is everything. The interface should feel intuitive.
  3. Good customer support is priceless, especially during those high-pressure moments before a big event.

Choosing the right software isn't always easy. But investing in the best catering software for small businesses isn't just a business expense — it's an investment in sanity. And let's face it, when those big events roll around, we could all use a little extra of that.

FAQs About Best Catering Software for Small Businesses

What is Catering Management Software?

Catering management software refers to programs designed to streamline the operational efficiency of your catering operations. These platforms provide catering companies with tools that improve the organization and efficiency of their catering services.

Is Owning a Catering Business Profitable?

Yes. With good planning and strategy, owning a catering business can generate strong revenue. It is advisable to focus on managing costs effectively and building strong relationships with vendors to help boost your profit margin.

What is the Best Pricing Practice Used by Caterers?

Generally speaking, catering business owners use a per-person pricing structure that factors in ingredients, labor, and rentals. Many things can affect pricing such as the complexity of the menu and if the event requires wait staff or bartenders.

Conclusion

Finding the best catering software for a small catering business means understanding your priorities, exploring the options, and trusting your instincts. This will help you find a solution that truly fits your business.

By carefully analyzing your needs and prioritizing must-have features, you'll find the perfect software solution to support your growing business. Choosing the right software can help you manage operations, save time by automating tasks, track important data, improve customer service, and ultimately, increase revenue. Streamlining your processes with the best catering software for small businesses is a total game changer. You’ll spend less time in the weeds and more time delighting clients with delicious food.

Tags: business, catering

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Full Transcript Below

Ryan O'Neil: [00:00:00] Hey, everybody. Welcome to the next episode of the event driven podcast. It's a podcast delivered to event professionals who want to master different metrics that matter in their business. And we want to bring real world stories from professionals like florist and caters and industry experts.

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