Recipe Viewer Software: What It Does & Why You Need It
This article was originally published on September 13, 2018. We’ve updated it for relevance!
What’s the key element to keep diners coming to your restaurant? To most, it’s the quality and consistency of the food you serve. Of course, service is important too, but the food you serve heavily influences the guest experience.
With the restaurant industry having one of the highest employee turnover rates, quality control is difficult to maintain when you’re constantly retraining a new employee. Not only is onboarding employees expensive, but it’s also time-consuming for the trainee. For example, manually training on kitchen prep instructions, recipes, and procedures takes weeks, even months.
How you maintain your recipes also ties into quality control too. How often do paper copy recipes get misplaced? If you own multiple sites, how do you communicate new or updates to recipes? This is tough to manage through a paperback recipe book.
There’s a way to automate this whole process and guarantee the quality of your food is never jeopardized – recipe viewer software. We’ll introduce you to how it works, the benefits, and what restaurant concepts need them.
What is Recipe Viewer Software?
A recipe viewer takes the place of recipe books in your restaurant. It is a centralized portal to hold all your restaurant’s recipes, prep instructions, and procedures so that dishes are prepared accurately and efficiently. They also include graphics, allowing your kitchen staff to see exactly how they should present your restaurant’s dishes.
These are the features that a robust recipe viewer should offer:
Central Data Location
Save time by easily updating recipes for multiple sites from one centralized recipe viewer portal. Whether you’re adding recipes for regional sites or making changes across the board, the portal should be your one-stop-shop.
Nutrition and Allergen Information
Restaurant recipe software should allow calling attention to nutrition and allergen information. This helps your staff – BOH and FOH – understand how to accommodate guests who may have allergies to ingredients used in your recipes.
Quickly search for any recipe in your system with search functionality.
An easy implementation to KDS
Integrating with a kitchen display system (KDS) helps you begin automating your BOH right away. For example, when you integrate your recipe management software with your KDS, you’ll be able to select a menu item from the viewscreen, and the recipe will easily display. Integrating the software will also allow you to use multiple images for a recipe, such as preparation and plating images.
As an item hits the kitchen station from the POS, a team member can select that item, use the recipe button on the station and view just that one item. Otherwise, it’s browser-based, and they can view the entire recipe book but not individually as they are displayed on the kitchen station.
What are the Benefits of Recipe Viewer Software?
Implementing recipe software in your restaurant means creating consistent quality menu items, no matter who is preparing them and what location you’re at. Adding a recipe viewer to your restaurant saves numerous resources and has plenty of benefits. Here are a few of the most important:
Consistent Food Quality
Recipe viewers can eliminate inconsistency with your food quality. You can expect every dish to look and taste the same every time.
Diners want the same quality dishes every time they visit, regardless of how many sites you have. A recipe database system helps guarantee this.
Lower Training Costs
New hires will receive specific instructions on how to prepare each dish on a centralized, digital hub. This makes training more efficient and eliminates the need to have other employees train new staff – especially during peak hours.
Less Employee Turnover
Recipe viewer software helps build overall job satisfaction and confidence. In addition, this helps reduce stress and guesswork, allowing kitchen staff to replicate the same quality dishes every time easily.
Food Cost & Inventory Control
Since the same ingredients and quantities are used each time, you can make sure you always have enough ingredients for each dish. You’ll now have more control over food costs and waste.
Efficient Purchasing Procedures
Buying ingredients is more efficient because you will know the exact quantity you’ll need. This helps ensure that you’re serving the freshest food to your guests and that spending is getting maximized.
Cost of Printing/Laminating vs. Displaying Digitally
Each time a recipe changes or is added, you’ll need to print and laminate a new recipe card for each of your restaurant sites. This wastes time and money. A recipe viewer eliminates this task by organizing all recipes digitally.
Speed of Updates
A major perk of having a recipe viewer system over a paper recipe book is the speed of updates. Recipe viewers eliminate the need to physically visit each site to make updates to recipe books manually. Some recipe viewers will show updates in your recipe viewer portal in as little as 60 seconds. Within 30 minutes, the updates will be available across recipe viewers at all of your sites.
Accurate Nutrient Information
Accurate nutrient information is arguably one of the most important benefits of recipe viewer software. On May 7, 2018, a new federal menu-labeling rule was put into effect that impacts many chain restaurants and similar retail establishments.
According to FoodSafety Magazine, “Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which amended Sections 403(q)(5) and 403A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requires disclosure of calorie and other nutrition information by restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of chains with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items (covered establishments)”.
FoodSafety also mentioned that the specific information required on menus and menu boards at covered established includes calorie information and a statement on suggested daily caloric intake. It is also required that a statement with written nutrition information is available upon request.
Restaurants with 20 or more stores must have a tool that will provide consistent nutrient content. Calorie and nutrition information can be easily added and maintained within a recipe viewer.
What Type of Restaurants Need a Recipe Viewer?
A recipe viewer is handy for small to large chain restaurants. With the ability to manage all of your sites’ recipes from a centralized portal and considering the new menu-labeling laws, a recipe viewer is essential for operators of chains – ranging from small to large. As a result, creating consistency across all of your stores has never been easier.
For independent operators, recipe management software can help reduce training time and allows management to focus on running their operations. It can also be imperative for adding new seasonal dishes that may depend on local ingredients and regional preferences during certain times of the year.
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About the Author
Emily Elder was a Content & Social Media Specialist at QSR Automations. Emily was born and raised in Louisville but considers herself a die-hard University of Kentucky fan. For college, Emily attended Indiana University Southeast and obtained a degree in Communications with a track in Advertising. In her free time, Emily enjoys just about every water related activity, but she is partial to kayaking and whitewater rafting.