Restaurant event management software for private events and group sales

Streamline how you and your staff manage private dining and catering bookings with our online restaurant event software

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Consolidate all your restaurant’s event details in one convenient app and simplify collaboration between staff and clients

Planning Pod Tools List

Upgrade how you manage private events

Stop juggling spreadsheets, emails and pen-and-paper and move your banquet event management online with our cloud-based restaurant event management software ... 20+ tools, unlimited users, one easy-to-use application.

Planning Pod Calendar Tools

Automate processes and save time

From tracking event bookings and appointments to generating BEOs, setup layouts and staff assignments, our tools let you manage the entire event life cycle from end to end. And they help you create timesaving processes that extend from front-of-house to the kitchen.

Planning Pod E-Signature Tools

Boost your service and revenues

Impress your customers with timely communications and custom-branded documents and make sure you maximize revenues with business tools for managing leads, contracts, electronic signatures, invoices and online credit card payments.

PERFECT FOR RESTAURANTS, BARS AND EATERIES OF ALL TYPES

Manage any kind of event that you book

Banquets

Conferences

Corporate Outings

Fundraisers

Honors Celebrations

Luncheons

Meetings

Parties and Galas

Private Dinners

Receptions

Reunions

Watch Parties

Weddings

See why more restaurants and bars rely on our restaurant event management software

Planning pod Calendar View Options

 Simplify how you manage event bookings

Know the availability of every room instantly and never double-book your venue with our bar and restaurant booking system for events. Shareable, color-coded event scheduling calendars let you and your staff track event bookings, holds/reservations, tasting appointments and walkthroughs. Sync with other popular e-calendars (Google, Oulook, etc.). Includes "event mode" and "room/space mode" viewing options.

"An incredible asset ... It's streamlined our events process and ensures everyone is on the same page. And I can monitor revenues for our restaurant more accurately, which is huge!"
- Christine Wakelee, Collision Bend Brewery

- Christine Wakelee, Collision Bend Brewery

 Improve collaboration among staff

Our Web-based restaurant management software for events enables managers, chefs, kitchen staff, servers, event coordinators and other staff to easily share data and coordinate with each other and clients. Manage access and permissions of all your users. Assign tasks and set reminders and notifications plus share files, messages and notes. Keep everyone on the same page with overview dashboards and flexible reports for leads, customers, billing, etc.

Tanya Adams, Stoney's Rockin' Country Night Club

"We rely on Planning Pod to keep our event invoicing organized and allow customers to pay online ... and the floorplans tool is big timesaver."
- Tanya Adams, Stoney's Rockin' Country Night Club

Planning Pod Todos
Planning Pod Dashboard Tools

 Stay on top of every event order

Each booked event can have dozens or hundreds of critical details attached to it, and our restaurant event management software gives you an organized place to manage them all, including timelines, headcounts, menus, catering orders, budgets and more. Build BEOs for your staff that detail food-and-beverage and setup instructions. Create detailed event floor plans to wow clients and show staff where tables, chairs and equipment should be arranged.

 Manage sales and client billing

Starting with a comprehensive CRM tool, you can track every business and financial detail for every customer and event. Add webforms to your site to collect leads and manage them as they progress through your sales pipeline. Customize outbound documents with your logo and brand colors. Build colorful proposals for clients and collect electronic signatures on contracts. Create detailed invoices with line items, taxes, service charges and discounts. Manage deposits and collect online credit card payments.

Planning Pod Invoicing Tools
Planning Pod Integrations

 Easy to use ... anytime, on any device

We’ve simplified banquet management for the hospitality industry with our cloud-based tools that you can use via the Web browser on any device, including smartphones, tablets and computers. With our intuitive user interface and high-touch customer support and training, you will be up and running quickly. And our restaurant event software integrates with hundreds of other applications (like Quickbooks, Xero, Salesforce, Zoho CRM and Google Drive/Gmail) via the Zapier platform.


Learn more about our venue management software for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other dining establishments


RECENT POST
Jeff Kear · Owner, Planning Pod

12 top restaurant management software tools for managing private events


Any experienced restaurateur or hospitality expert knows that there are two sides to running a successful joint: your regular reservation/foot-traffic patrons and your special event or private event sales. And with average annual profits for restaurants running somewhere around 5%, you have to maximize profits from both these revenue streams in order to stay in the black for the year.

One great way to create efficiencies and boost your productivity is to employ technology to help you and your team save time and streamline your processes. Most establishments have installed restaurant POS systems like Toast POS, Breadcrumb, TouchBistro or Revel prior to opening their doors, while others also employ restaurant reservation systems like OpenTable, Eveve, Yelp Reservations, Tripleseat or Reserve to boost reservation bookings.

However, more than a few dining establishments still use spreadsheets and pad-and-pen to manage all the details for their private dining and group sales business, which can limit your capacity and result in missed opportunities and lost data simply because nothing is automated, there is no centralized place to store or access information, and there is no "safety net" (like backups, reminders, notifications, etc.) in case something goes wrong.

There are many choices available when it comes to restaurant event management software, and fortunately many of the available options work well whether you run an independent restaurant, a multi-location restaurant chain/franchise or a restaurant located in a hotel or B&B. In addition, many platforms are also suited for managing on-premise private group dining as well as off-premise catering.

With that said, there are definitely key tools and features that you should look for when considering software to manage your banquet business ... here are 12 of them.

1. Booking Calendar

Tracking your booked events and availability from a centralized event calendar is probably the biggest asset that a software application for events can offer you. However, most restaurant booking software tools don’t stop there and also provide the ability to track lead date information (such as appointments, walkthroughs, tastings, potential events or held dates/rooms) as well as to view bookings by room or space.

It’s assumed that you are probably already using an electronic calendar to track reservations or appointments, so it’s helpful if your private event calendar is syncable with other electronic calendars, and it’s also helpful if you can run reports based on booked dates to get a sense of your facility usage. Being able to duplicate events or add recurring events is another helpful feature.

2. Event and Catering Order Tracking

Instead of writing down all your customer’s requests on a notepad and then transcribing that to a spreadsheet or document, wouldn’t it be easier to just enter it into an online form or let customers do it online themselves ... and then have all that information populate into calendars, proposals, etc., when you need it to? This is where restaurant catering systems for events can start saving you loads of time.

For starters, it’s a huge asset to have an easy-to-access online portal for you and your staff to be able to enter, view and edit things like menu items, headcounts, rentals and equipment allocations, vendor and supplier assignments, event timelines, and setup and teardown instructions. But it’s also great to be able to take this information and generate things like banquet event orders on the fly to provide to staff members prior to events.

3. Sales and Marketing Tools

The key to a successful private events business is to keep the pipeline full, and any decent restaurant event management software solution gives you a suite of lead and marketing tools to help you convert prospects into customers. This starts with tools like website embed forms to collect leads from your site and put them into your pipeline so you can create tasks, manage communications and collect more information via online forms.

A comprehensive CRM tool for storing contact information for your leads and clients as well as for viewing past orders and communications is another great asset to have, as are tools for building detailed proposals that you can send to your leads and electronic contracts for which you can collect signatures online. Some platforms may also include email marketing tools for reaching out to your database as well as social media marketing tools for posting to your online profiles; however, apps like MailChimp and Hootsuite are also more than adequate for handling these functions.

4. Billing and Payments Management

Needless to say, none of this other stuff counts unless you get paid. So it’s vital that the system you choose delivers up invoicing and payments tools that simplify how you bill your customer and accelerates how you receive payments.

Many companies in the hospitality sector bill in advance and in installments and require lots of custom elements, so you should look for restaurant management software that lets you create invoices directly from proposals and track deposits plus gives you the ability to add unlimited line items and packages as well as taxes, markups, discounts, service fees, gratuities, delivery charges and setup/teardown fees.

In addition, it’s critical to have access to online credit card processing so you can receive invoice payments in expedited fashion, but just make sure that the merchant processor you use has security protocols in place and meets PCI compliance standards.

5. Integrations With Other Applications

As discussed before, it is highly unlikely any restaurant will be using a single, all-in-one software application for everything, as most hospitality venues typically use between 5 and 15 different applications, including a restaurant point-of-sale system, reservation software, staff scheduling software and inventory tracking application as well as accounting and marketing software tools.

Because of this, the restaurant event management software you choose should be able to integrate and share data with other applications (at the least your accounting and CRM applications). Some applications have direct integrations with other programs while others connect via an integrations platform (called integration platforms-as-a-service or iPaaS) like Zapier or MuleSoft.

6. Reporting and Data Insights

Not only does your restaurant event management software need to make it easy to store and access information, but it also needs to deliver data to you in a compiled or overview fashion so you can see trends and quickly make well-informed decisions about your business.

Customizable reports can provide just this kind of business intelligence with compiled data on sales, revenues/profits, costs, facility usage and events that not only show past performance but allow you to make accurate forecasts. And overview dashboards can provide daily snapshots of where you stand with monthly revenues and open invoices as well as things like upcoming and overdue tasks.

7. Document Management

Any busy event group sales and business development team is always sending out electronic documents like proposals, contracts and invoices for client review and approval. These documents are not only transactional but also are marketing opportunities where you have the opportunity to build your brand each time you reach out.

So these documents 1) need to be accurate and 2) need to look professional and convey your brand image in a memorable way. In addition, the system you use should allow you to email these documents from inside the system and also provide a history of when documents were sent as well as if there are different versions of such documents (like different versions of proposals).

8. Communications Tracking

Staying in touch with your team, clients, vendors and suppliers is critical in making sure there are no surprises in managing your events. But it’s also important to allow those people to communicate with each other and to keep a record of all those communications in case of confusion or misunderstandings.

Many restaurant catering systems for events include some type of message board tool or even integrations with platforms like Gmail or Outlook so you can manage all your email communications from inside the application. Also, be aware that more and more platforms are integrating text messaging into their communications platform (as this is often a preferred mode of communication for many younger clients).

9. Layout and Event Setup Diagrams

Having a clean, professional event floor plan diagram for each event can pay dividends for two reasons: 1) it will impress clients and show them exactly how their event will look, and 2) it lets you show your staff exactly what furniture and equipment needs to be set up and where. Some restaurant management software systems include space/room layout tools as part of the packages they offer, and these tend to be easy-to-use, drag-and-drop style tools where you can place elements like tables, chairs, walls, etc., into the layout.

10. Customer Support and Training

You should always make sure that whatever application you are looking at provides help resources like a help portal and videos and email and/or phone support. In addition, some platforms also provide training (either included or for an additional fee), so make sure to inquire about this.

11. Web-Based / Cloud-Based

Most software applications have been moved online (and this includes most restaurant management software offerings), and for good reason.

First, any updates that are made to the application are typically included in the price of the software (as opposed to software you have to install on your computer, which often charge for upgrades). Second, you don’t have to maintain the software on your machine. Third, your data is backed up in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about your hard drive crashing and losing all your data (although you should make sure that your provider has security measures in place to protect against data loss or breaches).

In addition, Web-based solutions are also more likely to be mobile-friendly and can be used on iPhones, iPads and Android devices as well as Macs and PCs, so if you and your staff tend to be on-the-go, this is a must-have option.

12. Attendee Management

For some restaurants and banquet facilities, this may not be a requirement, but for those that plan and manage their own events for the public (either free or paid), having restaurant event management software that offers tools to market your events as well as collect registrations and sell tickets is a big plus. Bonus features here include the ability to build custom event websites for each event; create registration forms with custom questions/surveys; send marketing emails to prospective attendees; and access to a check-in app so you can scan attendees’ tickets at the door.


Learn more about our venue management software for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other dining establishments