Restaurant accounting

Ugh. Numbers.

Unless you’re an accountant, one thing guaranteed to send any business owner’s enthusiasm plummeting towards the ground is the thought of dealing with ‘the accounts’.

As a restauranteur, you want to be doing the stuff that tempted you into this sector in the first place. Creating exciting menus, recruiting brilliant staff, mixing with loyal customers… but dealing with purchase orders and supplier invoices?

No thanks.

Few independent restaurant businesses have full-time accounts teams. If you’re in that world, the likelihood is you’ll have an external accountant, but the day-to-day financial tasks that you simply can’t afford to farm out will still have to be undertaken in-house.

So, having to deal with the numbers is unavoidable, but we’ve got some good news. In this post, we’ve picked out five fantastic ways you can simplify your restaurant’s accounting regime. And they really do work!

1. Reduce the number of suppliers

As alluded to above, dealing with purchase invoices is a real pain – there’s no two ways about it. Quite often, however, this stems from restaurants falling into the trap of working with too many suppliers.

The maths (in this case) are simple: the more suppliers you have, the more invoices and purchase documentation you’ll have to deal with.

Take some time to list your suppliers and look for opportunities to consolidate them. Why have you got two beer suppliers listed? Do you really need that second butcher? It’ll involve some tough choices if you’ve built relations with the suppliers in question, but this is business, and you need to keep both your costs and accountancy requirements in check.

2. Do weekly reports

How often do you monitor staff overtime, spoilage and stock levels? The more regularly you scrutinise your business, the more opportunities you’ll spot to streamline the operation, and a streamlined operation usually requires far less accounting.

3. Develop a standard process for multi-locations

If you own two or more restaurants, make sure they all adhere to the same accounting processes. Depending on the make-up of your company, there’s a good chance they all report back to you, and if you’re dealing with different methods for working with the numbers at each site, you’ll forever have a tough, frustrating task on your hands.

Set a standard and ensure every manager lives by it.

4. Use a web-based accounting system

Still dealing with multiple spreadsheets and Word documents you can never locate? Switch to a web-based accounting system, instead.

Thankfully, there’s now a huge number of these systems on the market, many of which are priced very favourably. For a modest monthly outlay, you can get your hands on a package that will help you streamline your accounting process and enable you to access ‘the books’ no matter where you are or which device you have to hand.

5. Seek help

No – not a cry for help, just an experienced shoulder on which to lean whenever you encounter a numbers-based conundrum.

The restaurant community is a very inclusive one, and if you’re experiencing accountancy woes, there’s a very good chance a peer within your industry will have been there before. Only, they may well have found a solution, and all you have to do is ask for their help.


Don’t fear the numbers! Our handy tips above will have you running through those accounting tasks in no time.

Have we forgotten something? If you’ve stumbled upon a technique or tool that has made the accountancy part of your restaurant business an unexpected dream to undertake, do let us know in the comments section below!

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