Catering software has become one of the most popular ways to streamline operations among caterers, restaurants, hotels and event venues, and for good reason … because it enables venue and catering businesses to automate processes, create timesaving workflows and serve customers better with fewer staff.
As a provider of catering management software ourselves, we get asked quite frequently what are the other best catering software solutions on the market and how do they compare to our platform.
So we thought we’d provide a quick summary of the top event catering management systems for those of you shopping for a solution that best fits your needs.
Generally speaking, a solid catering software platform should offer lead and customer relationship management (CRM) and include functionality for tracking menu items, pricing, catering orders and online ordering; building banquet event orders (BEOs) and kitchen sheets; and managing food costing and kitchen production as well as invoicing and payments.
Many of the catering solutions below offer these functions as well as other valuable business and event management features for tracking event bookings; generating financial and profitability reports; viewing business data using real-time dashboards; and integrating with point-of-sale (POS) systems and accounting solutions like Quickbooks.
Note: This list is not intended to be a complete list of all catering software solutions. We compiled this information from resources available on the Internet and we encourage you to check out the websites of these solutions for additional, up-to-date details.
Every solution we review here is a software-as-a-service (SaaS), which is Web-based software for which you pay a subscription fee (usually monthly or annually). The big benefits of SaaS software solutions are:
- Your data are securely stored in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about losing your data if your computer hard drive crashes.
- You and your staff can access your account anytime, anywhere on any Web-enabled device (great for remote working).
- You don’t have to maintain the software on your local devices or pay for upgrades every time the core software tools are improved.
BTW – Are you looking to upgrade from using spreadsheets, e-calendars and email to run your catering business? Or not satisfied with your current catering software solution? Planning Pod is an all-in-one platform with 20+ easy-to-use tools that save catering professionals like you 62+ hours per month. Get started with Planning Pod today >>
Planning Pod is a top software choice for catering companies, restaurants, hotels and event venues because it integrates catering management, venue management and event management software tools into an all-in-one, user-friendly platform.
Whether you offer on-site or off-site catering, dropoff or pickup, Planning Pod’s comprehensive catering software solution is trusted by 20,000+ hospitality, food services and event professionals because it…
- Streamlines workflows and saves 62+ hours/month of busywork
- Simplifies serving customers and landing more leads
- Is easy to use and get up and running fast
- Simplifies collaboration among team members and vendors
Let’s unpack those one at a time.
Planning Pod streamlines workflows and saves 62+ hours/month of busywork
Most catering pros have better things to do than sort through lots of emails and spreadsheets and juggle multiple apps to manage your clients and catering orders.
Planning Pod’s intuitive platform offers 20+ tools for staying on top of event bookings, leads, clients and business details in one streamlined catering management solution.
By streamlining all those everyday tasks and making it easy to stay organized, we save our customers an average of 62+ hours per month of busywork (and some we save more than 100 hours/month).
Planning Pod simplifies serving customers and landing more leads
For starters, because event and hospitality professionals save time using Planning Pod, they then have more time to focus on serving customers and growing their business.
In addition, with tools for capturing leads online, managing your sales pipeline, sending custom emails from inside your account and interacting with clients via an online portal, our event management and catering system helps eliminate missed opportunities and lets you provide white-glove service to all customers, both small and large-scale.
Planning Pod is easy to get up and running fast
Catering business owners, hotel/restaurant managers and sales staff don’t have weeks or months to move their data over to another catering management software provider and to learn a new system.
Featuring a user-friendly interface, custom onboarding/training and data migration solutions, Planning Pod can have you up-and-running in a few hours, days or weeks, depending on your needs. And our platform is built to handle the needs of both small businesses and multi-location operations when it comes to onboarding and handling whatever volume of events and catering orders you may have.
Planning Pod simplifies collaboration among team members and vendors
Whether you run a small shop or large-scale operation, keeping your team in-the-know at all times regarding your catering orders and lead/customer communications is vital to the success of your business.
Planning Pod provides a centralized event and catering management solution for all your staff members, contractors and vendors to connect with each other and stay one the same page. Real-time dashboards, automated notifications and insightful reports are just a few of the tools catering and event professionals find essential in making sure that no detail or email is missed.
Oh and Planning Pod offers a mobile web version so you can use it on any device – iPhones, iPads and Android devices – and there’s no mobile app to download or maintain.
FYI – If you have staffing challenges or simply run lean-and-mean, Planning Pod can enable you to run your venue or catering company on a paired-down staff so you and your team can deliver superior service with lower overhead.
Food-&-Beverage + Menu Management
Being able to easily add and modify menu items, build catering orders on-the-fly and track existing orders is vital when running a fast-paced catering and food service business. Planning Pod’s F&B and menu management tools let you manage all your catering services and details, including:
- Menu items and details, including pricing, descriptions, images, recipe building and ingredient lists
- Food-&-beverage packages, including timesaving templates plus easy-to-adjust quantities and pricing
- All F&B tools integrate directly with our proposals, invoicing and BEO tools
- Reporting for shopping lists, ingredient/food costing, sales, revenues and more
Kitchen and Team Management
Our kitchen production and staffing management tools keep your kitchen staff in sync with your front-of-house, delivery, sales and management teams and fully up to date on current orders. These features include:
- Banquet event orders that are pre-filled with catering and event details to avoid double entry
- BEO templates for different purposes, including kitchen production sheets, front-of-house BEOs and delivery manifests
- Electronic signature collection for clients on BEOs
- Reporting for downloadable PDFs and batch running BEOs
- Staff scheduling tools for assigning staff members to events
Lead and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Managing all your clients – from wedding and social event customers to business and corporate catering clients – is so much easier with a CRM and lead management solution that is built specifically for caterers and venues. Our system offers functions for:
- Collecting leads from your website and other online platforms (including social media)
- Managing your lead pipeline as well as holds
- Logging phone calls with leads and clients
- Sending and receiving emails via a shared inbox that integrates with existing email addresses of all your team members
- Using online client portals to easily share information, collect signatures/payments and collaborate with clients
Catering Order Management + Payments
Along with tracking all menu and customer details, you can also manage the entire proposal, invoicing and payment process with our catering order management tools, which include:
- Full-color, custom proposals and contracts with online signature capture
- Custom proposal and contract templates to save tons of time
- Electronic invoicing and automated payment reminders for installments
- Online ACH and credit card payment processing via PaySimple + integrations with Stripe, Square, Quickbooks Payments or with your current point-of-sale (POS) system using Authorize.net
- Secure payment method storage for saving client credit cards for future use (PCI compliant)
- Coming soon – online ordering for on- and off-site catering
Event Booking Management + Event Planning
Unique among catering systems, Planning Pod offers event management solutions for tracking your event booking calendar and many more event-related details. Our event planning and management tools enable you to manage any kind of event – from weddings, parties, galas and social events to meetings, luncheons and corporate events – and they include:
- Event booking and availability calendars to get a real-time, at-a-glance view of your bookings, holds, appointments, tours, to-do’s and more
- Task management for both staff and clients
- Drag-and-drop event floor plan creator for quickly building to-scale room setups
- Itinerary/timeline builder for detailed event schedules
- Form/survey builder for collecting input and feedback from clients
- File management + sharing features for clients
- Attendee and guest management tools, including event registration and ticketing modules
Workflows, Automations and Integrations
The best catering software doesn’t just keep all your client and order details organized and centralized … it also lets you customize the flow of that information to align with your business needs. Planning Pod’s catering management software makes this possible with:
- Workflows that let you effortlessly turn leads into holds into clients, proposals into contracts into invoices, food-and-beverage package templates into custom orders.
- Automations for emails, reminders, payments and more.
- At-a-glance dashboards and detailed reporting for leads, sales, event details, food-and-beverage orders, sales taxes and more
- Integrations with popular platforms like Quickbooks Online, Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs and Calendar, iCal, Stripe, Square and Quickbooks Payments as well as Salesforce, MailChimp, Constant Contact and hundreds of other applications via the Zapier integration platform.
One of the first online catering management software solutions, Caterease offers a wide complement of food and catering management tools for catering businesses.
Caterease offers both wizard-driven data entry functionality and custom document builders to simplify how you get information into and out of your account. In addition, it provides features beyond catering order management like:
- Staff scheduling and shift management
- Hotel guest room block management
- Equipment inventory tracking
- Online ordering and booking
Caterease delivers features you would expect of a top 10 catering CRM solution, including:
- Menu management, food costing and packing lists
- Customer CRM and portals
- Lead management and capture
- Invoicing and payments
- Event booking and task management
- Email communications
- Reporting and business metrics, including profitability and cost management
Foodstorm offers a unique approach among catering management solutions in that it has specific tools for managing pick-up and drop-off catering for grocery and retail chains as well as food service providers.
Foodstorm’s solutions for groceries and retail food services include walk-up, self-service kiosks for on-site food ordering and hosted websites for web-based online ordering. It also provides catering management tools for tracking onsite catering orders for multiple locations and clients.
Foodstorm delivers a wealth of order collection and management features as well as more common catering management features like:
- Online and on-site ordering technology
- Customer CRM for order tracking and easy manual order entry
- Menu, food item and pricing management
- Email communication portal
- Proposals, invoicing/quotes and online payment processing
- Integrations with external applications like Excel spreadsheets and MailChimp
- Reporting and dashboards (including for delivery and dispatch) plus report scheduling
Better Cater is a solid software suite for catering companies that want an intuitive solution that is easy to learn and get up and running quickly.
One thing that sets Better Cater apart from other solutions is that it offers recipes and sub-recipes for menu items that might require more detailed instructions. It also automates packing lists for orders to save time.
Better Cater offers features suitable for managing corporate catering and event catering as well as catering for restaurants and large-scale food service companies, including:
- Menu management and ingredient tracking/ordering
- Proposals with e-signatures, invoicing and payment processing
- BEOs and kitchen production reports
- Lead and client CRM database
- Booking calendar and venue manager
- Dashboards and reporting, including supplier reports
Originally developed for floral businesses, Curate has expanded their business and inventory management tools to help catering businesses manage their customers and orders.
Curate’s costing tools simplify the process for determining your costs and expenses for preparing food items, making it easier to price your menus and maximize profits.
Catering business management tools are front-and-center of the Curate platform and include functions for managing and automating:
- Lead and client CRM
- Proposals, invoices and payments
- Menu item management + shopping lists
- Online and on-premise food ordering with POS functionality
- Inventory and rentals, including equipment
- Multi-location management and tracking
- Reporting and documentation
Flex Catering provides a combination of catering order management and marketing tools for on- and off-site caterers to run their businesses and improve customer interactions and retention.
A key attribute of Flex Catering’s solution is their website builder with integrated online ordering and shopping cart – a streamlined way to present customers with your brand and menus as well as collect orders. It also offers subscription box ordering options as well as a kitchen display system (KDS) that streamlines how your kitchen staff can view and prepare orders.
The Flex Catering platform delivers a core of essential tools for tracking catering orders and clients from acquisition to delivery, and it includes features like:
- Lead CRM and customer management + customer portals
- Proposals and electronic signatures
- Invoicing and payments
- Menu and food production management, including prep sheets, ingredient lists, costing and supplier management
- Event booking calendars
- Delivery management with dispatch reporting and routing
- Integrations with applications like Quickbooks, Stripe and Square
- Full reporting and dashboards for at-a-glance insights
Total Party Planner
Built for the on-the-go caterer, Total Party Planner provides a set of essential catering software tools in an easy-to-use interface for streamlining kitchen operations and client management.
The proposal tool is a standout feature for Total Party Planner, enabling caterers and venues to create a full-color, multi-sheet presentation with full pricing and menus.
Total Party Planner offers a solid set of catering management tools along with built-in integrations to other popular platforms. Its features include:
- Menu management, including recipes, item costing and pricing
- Client CRM and integrated emailing
- Branded proposals and invoicing
- Booking calendar and task manager
- BEOs, prep sheets and back-of-house kitchen and operations reports
- Integrations with platforms like Microsoft, Google, MailChimp, Quickbooks, Constant Contact, iCal, Outlook and Google Maps
- Mobile friendly / mobile app
Designed with a focus on restaurants, hotels and unique venues, Tripleseat is a comprehensive toolkit with functionality that suits the growing venue, catering or hospitality business.
Tripleseat’s marketing and food ordering tools are a big plus and include an online directory where you can list your business as well as an online ordering platform where customers can easily select menu and room booking options and order directly via the web. It also integrates with many software applications in the restaurant and hospitality sector, including Tock, TripAdvisor, DoorDash and Oracle Hospitality.
Whether your run a catering company or event venue (or even multiple locations), Tripleseat offers an array of catering and venue management software features to track your bookings and food-and-beverage orders, like:
- Client/lead CRM
- Proposals, contracts and e-signatures
- Invoicing and payments with integrations to Stripe and Square
- Lead webforms and management + online directory listings
- Event booking calendar management + tasks
- Client portals and email communications
- BEOs and kitchen sheets
- Branded documents and reporting, including food-and-beverage costing, leads, sales and booking trends
Event Temple offers a number of customer relationship management and business management tools built to streamline sales operations for independent hotels, event venues and hotel chains but that can also meet the needs of caterers as well.
Event Temple’s proposals tool generates full-color, multi-page proposals to help caterers and venue professionals close deals. In addition, they provide workflow functionality so you can automate actions like email sending and task assignments based on triggers within the application.
Strong in tools for hotel sales and venue management, Event Temple can also provide catering companies with a versatile set of tools for tracking leads, customers and other business data, including:
- Lead webforms and pipeline management
- Client CRM + email communications
- Proposals, e-signatures, invoicing and payments
- Hotel guest room block tracking + hotel chain management
- Workflows and automations for emails, phone calls and task assignments
- BEOs + reporting and analytics for event bookings
- Integrations with property management software (PMS) systems plus applications like Gmail and Outlook
Caterzen is built to maximize both customer acquisition and retention with a wealth of marketing and sales tools as well as back-of-house tools for streamlining kitchen operations.
Marketing is a big strength of the Caterzen application, providing bulk email marketing, drip email campaigns/sequences and VOIP phone call capabilities built into the platform. It also boasts the ability to set up loyalty and referral programs as well as online ordering.
Caterzen delivers a substantial set of sales, customer, business and kitchen management tools that would benefit caterers and event venues alike and include:
- Lead and customer management, including appointment setting
- Marketing tools for bulk emailing, email sequences, VOIP calling, loyalty/referral programs and Google Analytics integration
- Proposals, contracts and electronic signatures
- Menu management, including recipes, supplier ordering and costing
- Event booking calendar + venue management for room/space reservations
- Kitchen production reports, BEOs and delivery management functions
- Reporting and documentation
An outlier among the other catering and event management software platforms mentioned here, Restaurant 365 is an end-to-end business solution for restaurants and multi-unit food service operations, providing full accounting, inventory, reservation, staffing, payroll/HR and reporting functionality.
What sets Restaurant 365 apart from most catering systems is the fact that it provides full accounting features, inventory management, staff scheduling and payroll/human resources modules.
If you run a restaurant or multiple dining locations, Restaurant 365’s full set of business tools can serve as a solid all-in-one catering management system and includes:
- Accounting and bookkeeping tools, including ledger, budgets, receivables/payables
- Inventory management, including food costing, ordering, reservation tracking
- Menu management with prep details, shopping lists
- Proposals, invoicing and POS with credit card payment processing
- Staffing management including scheduling and employee portal
- Payroll and HR with hiring and benefits modules
- Reporting on financials, orders, BEOs, more
We have covered many of the most popular software platforms for managing catering services, but there are yet others like Catertrax, EventPro and Priava that you can also check out.
We recommend first coming up with a list of must-have features you need to run your business, then creating a list of catering management platforms that offer those. After that, you can start reaching out to those companies for live demos and trials to see their tools up close.
Whether you’re starting your catering software search or narrowing down the options, consider Planning Pod. Our all-in-one online platform has everything you need to manage your leads, clients, orders, payments, menus, layouts and more. Learn more >>