Online or on smartphones, there really is an app for everything these days. Janie Stamford examines 10 of the best for hospitality operators
Purpose UK online restaurant booking service
Platforms Web, iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost for consumers Free
Cost for operators Free to sign up; commission charged on every cover sent by Toptable
Business benefits More than 3,000 restaurants currently feature on Toptable, which says it generated around £100m in revenue for the restaurant industry last year. The service has seated more than 12 million diners in the UK, making it the ‘go to' service for consumers looking to make a dinner reservation and 43% of users book at restaurants with an average spend per head of £35 or greater. Definitely a service to sign up to.
Purpose Dynamic wine price search system
Business benefits Aimed at the consumer, this app allows restaurant diners to compare wine list prices with the average retail cost, so worth bearing in mind when working out how much to mark up a bottle. For sommeliers, it can also work out gross profit.
Purpose Restaurant management and booking system
Platform Web and iPad
Cost £25 for initial set-up with varying price points depending on the services used
Business benefits A versatile marketing tool for restaurateurs that also acts as a reservation and table management system. It has real time interfaces with four customer-facing web portals and operators that sign up can also take live bookings, free of commission charges, from their own website and Facebook page, using a compact and customisable widget. The people behind this nifty little service say that not only can it help maximise the earning potential of every cover, RestaurantDiary also helps to optimise restaurant staff costs, manage kitchen flow and inform your business strategy.
MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool)
Purpose A simple five-step screening tool for adults in all care settings.
Business benefits The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition has converted its screening tool into an electronic version, creating a quick and accurate way of generating a malnutrition risk score. Health professionals and care caterers can use it to quickly identify issues and respond to the needs of individuals.
Great British Chefs
Purpose Recipes and tips from 12 of Britain's best chefs
Platform iPhone, iPad and web
Business benefits Aspirational professional cooks can access over 180 recipes by some of the most celebrated chefs working in the UK today, including Marcus Wareing, Nuno Mendes and Tom Kerridge. It includes voice control functionality - useful when you've got your hands full - ‘how to' films for tricky techniques and a shopping list function. And just in time for the season of goodwill, a new "Feastive" version of the app has been released with 60 recipes for fabulous party food and Christmas treats.
Purpose Front of house EPoS mobile app
Platform iTouch, iPad and tablets
Business benefits Allows restaurant staff to take orders on the move, connecting automatically and wirelessly with the main EPoS system to update the sales data and management database with the new order details. One of the main benefits is that it eliminates the need to invest in other hardware such as a new till or handheld ordering system.
Purpose Web-based meal pre-ordering software
Cost Tiered pricing, starting with the free Standard plan
Business benefits A simple way to collect and manage individual meal requirements for an event, Cenabo is aimed at all types and sizes of eating establishment. Guests can use the service to view various details regarding their event, as well as an interactive menu, online. As a result, caterers can improve staff efficiency and reduce food wastage, while at the same time capturing valuable customer data.
Eat Fish with Mitch Tonks
Purpose A comprehensive guide to fish featuring recipes, fish information and video and skill guides
Cost The ‘lite' version is free; full version (with more recipes) is £2.99
Business benefits The app is full of useful information about fish, when they're good to eat and how to eat them. A fantastic tool for chefs in training, but also welcomed by more experienced chefs. Mark Hix describes it as "a good fish directory to have at your fingertips. Great videos and tips from the man in the know".
Purpose Search tool for potential licensees to find Punch pub business opportunities nationwide
Platform iPhone, web
Business benefits Would-be retailers can access full details, including financial information, about a property online or from their iPhone. Searches can be done by chosen location, GPS and investment levels, with images and letting details available in real time. A handy tool for those looking to enter the pub trade or make a move.
Purpose Manage and monitor your energy account on the move
Platform iPhone and Android
Business benefits Meter readings can be submitted to ensure accurate bills and balances can be checked in real time to help forecast and manage cashflow. Consumption can also be monitored with the Energy Tracker feature. Useful if you're an Eon customer.