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August 24, 2021

Are We a Fit: It’s Not You, It’s [me]


As past and current restaurant folks ourselves, we know how valuable your time is and we always make it a priority to be honest about whether or not we’re the right fit for your business.  We’re dedicated to making restaurateurs’ lives easier, not harder, which is why we want to be upfront with you about what types of businesses MarginEdge usually works best for.

In the spirit of honesty and because there really is no other tool out there like [me], we’ve written this blog to help explain where we are and are not a good fit, and why.

Are we a good fit?

The Sweet Spot

Fine Dining, Polished Casual, Fast Casual and Breweries

Our inventory modules tackle large menus like no other. We code by product, not vendor item, so reporting on how many whole chickens you ordered last week doesn’t matter who they were purchased from. Say you run a Michelin-starred restaurant and you only purchase poulet Bresse straight from the source. Our menu module can show you exact menu item margins (in dollars or percentages) with the current price of those high-cost items from your most recent invoice. Then with updated inventory counts, our Theoreticals module compares what you’ve purchased, with how much you’ve sold and what you’ve got left, to show if and where food waste is happening. Say goodbye to throwing poulet dans la poubelle!

Maybe you run a burger franchise like Burger 21 and want to track how much ground beef you go through and compare food cost performance between stores. No biggie. With MarginEdge, you’re able to monitor and compare multiple locations from the same platform. You can simplify inventories with prepopulated count sheets based on your invoices and sales data, pay your favorite vendors, track food costs, be alerted when your high-cost or high-volume items are getting pricier, and way more.

We can also be particularly helpful if you have an extensive wine list or beer menu. In fact, we helped Denizens Brewing Company save hours of manual labor on invoices and provide powerful insight like daily P&L reports to help guide their business decisions when the pandemic hit. Click the link to learn more.

Accounting Firms

Many restaurants use accounting partners to cover bookkeeping, invoice management, payroll, tax preparation, and a whole lot more. It’s a lot of work to do in house, and it’s a great way to make sure your books are being well kept by people who actually like doing math. In the same way that MarginEdge streamlines processes for restaurants, MarginEdge takes care of a lot of the manual data entry that restaurant accounting firms deal with too. Since restaurants can upload invoices using their phones with just a photo and MarginEdge inputs the invoice information in 24-48 hours, accounting firms do not have to race like mad to input the data all at once before the period ends. Firms can also view all of their clients at once from the same platform thanks to MarginEdge’s seamless integrations with 14 accounting systems and 54 POS systems. Did we mention you can also pay invoices directly from the platform with our Bill Pay module? This allows accounting firms to spend less time in the weeds without sacrificing accuracy, so they can spend more time providing high-value, professional services to their clients. Sounds pretty magical, right? We even helped CPA Raffi Yousefian grow and refine his tax and accounting firm, The Fork CPAs, which you can read more about here.

Where We’re Not Always a Great Fit

Ghost Kitchen Concepts

Ghost kitchen concepts are taking off faster than Bezos did in that post-divorce-fueled, phallic rocket. Especially with the pandemic forcing many kitchens to go delivery-only, ghost kitchens are an intelligent way to minimize spend and maximize profits. Unfortunately, because most ghost kitchens specialize in limited menus and tend to have fewer invoices, MarginEdge historically hasn’t been a great fit when you think about how few modules would still be meaningful with lower data volumes. There can always be exceptions, like if you’re a very high-volume operation, but in our experience we’re just not worth it for ghost kitchen concepts.

Food Trucks & Caterers

Man do we wish that we’d be a better fit for food trucks and caterers. Some of the best food we’ve ever eaten has come from a kitchen on wheels, but for similar reasons as ghost kitchens, we historically haven’t been a strong long term fit. Why not? Well, it has a lot to do with turning your inventory over very quickly. Because most food trucks and catering operations do not have the space to store tons and tons of inventory and hold onto it for longer than a day or two, we’ve been told our inventory module is not as useful as it is for restaurants. Similarly, there are fewer invoices, so our invoicing tools don’t help that much either. Many caterers also don’t use a POS, meaning we can’t automatically integrate sales data. We love food trucks and caterers, but this is a very good case where the whole, “It’s not you, it’s [me],” thing rings very true.

Home Chefs

The pandemic opened a lot of opportunities for people to start making and selling their specialties from home, and our taste buds are thankful for it. For the same reasons as food trucks, caterers, and ghost kitchen concepts, most home chefs will not need a restaurant tool like MarginEdge to help run their business. Once again, because of the low volume of invoices, most of MarginEdge’s bells and whistles just wouldn’t be of value to a home chef. In a home-based kitchen, most items are paid for by credit card or cash, so there are very few invoices to manage, and most do not have a POS, so we cannot automatically pull in your sales data to our system. Many home chefs we’ve talked to in the past have been interested in our recipe software to help figure out food costing. For leaner-running home businesses, there are other tools out there that can help like My Kitchen Calculator, which, from our view, might be a better long-term solution.