Total Party Planner is a web-based catering and banquet management solution for small, medium and large catering businesses. The software helps companies to organize and book events, set task reminders, and run reports. Users can estimate the total cost of an event, from ingredients to rental equipment, to labor, which helps in quoting more accurately.
Total Party Planner includes tools for invoice and custom proposal creation, client tracking, staff hiring, recipe building, payment tracking, profit analysis, and much more. It provides pre-defined report templates, pack lists, proposals, and emails which help a business to maintain consistency.
Users can access event data from anywhere with Total Party Planner's featured security and technical support. A centralized information storage facility enables users to view all past notes and email conversations.
Total Party Planner’s task dashboard provides details of events such as the menu, schedule waitstaff, inventory reports, checklists and more. An integrated calendar can be exported to Google Calendar.
Users can also access the software from anywhere via dedicated mobile apps available for both – iOS and Android. Total Party Planner also provides integration with other existing software such as Google Maps, Google Calendar, SocailTables, Microsoft Outlook, StaffMate, QuickBooks, and more.
I was you, 1 year ago. My restaurant was running me, requests for catering were pouring in and we had just put our catering food truck on the road. I was stressed to the max, drowning in Excel Catering Event Order spreadsheets and missing catering pick-up orders and panicking my kitchen.
I know.. you assume that I'm a newbie, and that's sweet.
I'm in my 30th year of cooking for a living, and at the age of 43 own one of the top restaurants in my industry category in our Province. We staff 40 plus people for a 15 table full-service restaurant that turns 10 to 11 times a day from Thursday to Sunday - every week. That doesn't include six figures per year in take-out and six figures in Catering now a year later. Add to that, I'm no slouch on the computer and can code in Excel like it's second nature.
Why do you need to know this? It gives you context for this review.
Without Total Party Planner to take away the headaches of searching for pricing, building proposals, databasing clients and providing seamless continuity for all of our communication, we wouldn't be able to grow like we have.
Yes... evaluate how much the software costs, and look at your business and determine if you can afford it - it's not cheap. However, bear in mind this one caveat.
- How much is your time worth?
- How much are you spending in repairing your credibility with clients, when you miss a detail?
- How much are you losing when you forget to add a detail to an order and have to take it at a
- Are your skills being utilized in the right facet? I'm a chef, not an event planner and certainly not an accountant. TPP assists me to be a better business person. I could have designed a database in MS Access, or continued in Excel - but why? My results would not have produced the package that TPP offers.
I know what you're thinking... this reads too good to be true, and in fact, there is one thing that needs to be cleared up.
This program came easy to me, it all made sense from a Culinary perspective and the types of information required to utilize the program to its fullest were familiar to me. There, I said it, this is a professional level program. Not that it's just for enterprise level clients, but, hospitality professionals. Just be prepared. The learning curve here is quite steep for the uninitiated.
But.... Their customer service is outstanding... really... they care - a lot. I use 8 different subscription business services, and TPP is the best!
This software allows hospitality professionals and entrepreneurs who own small to medium sized operations present themselves in a polished and consistent way
The steep learning curve would be a con for those who aren't computer savvy. This was not my case, but teaching other staff members has presented these challenges. With proper coaching, which TPP does so very well, and which I have modelled my internal training on, you can be up and running in a fairly short time.
Be prepared though, no matter which software suite you choose, there is a ton of hard data that needs to be inputed. TPP handles this really well, and after using it for a year, I can navigate around and produce proposals and maintain my financials with ease.
Chef Steven, thank you for such a detailed and informative review! In addition, thank you for your business. I'm glad we were able to help relieve some of the stress that comes with restaurant catering. We are always working to make the software easier for new clients to learn. In fact, we will be releasing a brand new interface in 2017 that streamlines the entire event building process. We are super excited about it! If there is anything we can do for Memphis Fire barbeque Company please let us know.
-- John Cohen
I work for a mid-sized off-site catering company. We have used Total Party Planner (TPP) for more than a decade, so we have lots of experience in using this product, over 25,000 events. We started off on the stand-alone version and ran it for about 8.5 years, then switched over to the web-based version more than a year ago.
Before we purchased TPP, I tried 3 or 4 other pieces of event planning software over several months. TPP was clearly the best: The most organized, and the easiest to use. And the web-version is easier and faster to use than was the stand-alone version.
TPP is an excellent piece of software. It is stable, and just plain works well. You can tell that the people who designed the software have a background in catering, because it does the things you need it to do to help automate the process.
Many of our sales people (5) are not what I would call 'computer people', and one in particular took some time getting used to TPP, but now they are all lost without it.
One thing we do that is somewhat unusual (for a catering company) is we do a fair number of deliveries where the food is delivered in disposable containers, with no servers, mostly business lunches. We use a different report for these to make clear to the kitchen at a glance that this is a delivery and not a full-service event, and the people at TPP helped us to 'tweak' that report to include everything we needed in it. That was hugely important to us, and TPP was glad to help modify the report.
To be fair, I cannot comment on a couple of features. We don't use the room reservation system, as we have no rooms to manage. I also cannot comment on the recipe section of the software, as we used different recipe software before TPP came along and have stuck with it, because the kitchen people know how to use it.
The best part of TPP may be their Tech Support. It's simply the best I have ever used, for any software. 95% of the time when we call them, a real person answers the phone, and our issue is generally resolved in 5-10 minutes. On the very rare occasion when we get the answering machine, we always receive a call back within 10-15 minutes.
No software is perfect, and TPP is no exception. Occasionally it feels like there is an extra mouse click or two required to do some simple thing, but at least the program is consistent about that from section to section.
For event planning, it would be hard to improve upon Total Party Planner.
Great Customer Support. Consistency from section to section. Ease of use. Speed of screen updating.
Some things feel like they require an extra mouse click to handle. The report on what has and has not sold over time needs some improvement.
First off I want to say that I am not being paid or compensated to write this review.
I have been using total party planner for over 20 years. As a professional chef In my career I have owned a banquet facilitiy, 3 restaurants and five catering companies. I have also consulted for many clients starting up new catering or banquet operations and seasoned veterans focusing on organizational management and culinary .
The things that I always look for when implementing a new organizational management piece of software or system is speed of integration and ease of use. Total party planner never fails. Ever.
Event bookings client management party planning culinary integration costing all done effortlessly. When the software was first introduced I had zero computer experience nothing. I booked my first party in 10 minutes without even doing a tutorial. The reason I mention this is to emphasize the ease of use. In this modern age of ultra simple apps and dumb down software many times we find ourselves sacrificing attention to detail or the ability to do something specific and unique to our business. This is another area that total party planner shines. The guy that invented the software is the son of a caterer and was probably working weekends in a professional kitchen when he was 10 years old . He knows all the little details and things that make our lives easier when doing a catering job or running a banquet. All the details like what items to pull for a party staffing and client special notes are integrated into a easy to follow format.
When I have consulted for clients either starting up or running a catering or banquet business the first thing I always notice is they have multiple salesman and secretaries handling all the paperwork and Client details. I have always been able to cut at least half of the office and sales staff by implementing total party planner. Yeah, do the math in your head, how much money would that save a year? LOL for solo operators the time savings alone is monumental. Allowing you to focus on the fun stuff like developing new recipes designing new menus or making a clients party extra special. No one wants to spend time doing paperwork this allows you to get back to what we all got into this business for, creating great events.
If you would like to chat with me about this software and how it works hit me with an email and I'll give you a ring.
Ease-of-use and speed of integration with little or no computer experience.
There's really nothing that I don't like about this software. It is designed by a food service guy for food service people so it really nails it on all levels.
Total party planner is awesome! We've had it for about 10 years and continue to grow and use it more and more! The biggest thing it has helped with is showing us when we are making money! I love the features and ability to plan and account for labor in the kitchen and at events. I LOVE that once I have my recipes in, it will generate for my staff exactly how much of each ingredient to use as well as PRINT ME OUT an ORDER list!! As we have grown over the years, this order list feature saves considerable time and the event production keeps our staff on proper useage. I also use it to run my sales tax report - SO FAST, better than adding all my events by hand. Creating proposals, checking accounts receivables, so many reports, and there are even reports and features that we have yet to take advantage of. We are able to take credit cards thru TPP. The site is never down, I use the webbased program so that myself and my staff can access and work from home or our phone or anywhere we can get online - creating a flexible and family friendly work environment for us!
In the catering industry, in international catering groups that I belong to, myself and a multitude of others are known as the tpp groupies! We are always promoting and singing TPP praises as the go to catering software program. I recommend them to everyone and have even suggested using this program in other industries to associates of mine. That the founder came from a catering family business background is evident in this success of this program.
That it is web based, no info is lost if my computer dies and is accessible from anywhere for myself and my staff thus creating a flexible family friendly workplace for us. I love all the reporting capabilities from sales tax to labor needs and projections, sales projections, order list, ingredient needs for recipes. I love that all my clients info is in TPP for life and I can find and copy previous events, that I can take credit cards through them, that they are always helpful and quick to respond to issues, and that they select update times during the middle of the night so that I don't have to worry about accessing the system due to updates . The system is always available to us while also being on the ball updating with improvements.
The only downside is that I am still realizing all the features. TPP has helped us to grow and we're so busy now, it's hard for me to find time to play with other features. We continue to notice features and realize new and helpful updated features.
I have been using Total Party Planner for my catering business the last four years and I can honestly say I don't know what we would do without the software. It is the lifeline to our business and helps to keep us organized in the office and in the kitchen! The value of time savings and the functionality of the software is invaluable. They are constantly adding new features and functions to make life easier for the end user. I can honestly say every person that uses the system and program learns quickly and is able to use the components of the software that apply to their job position very easily. I honestly recommend any one with a catering or food related business to check out Total Party Planner for their software solution. It has changed how we do business and has increased our revenue streams as a result of the added organization and time savings the program provides our company. From pack lists to recipe analysis to food cost tracking this software has it all! Highly recommend!
Ease of use, functionality, and professional presentation
The speed of the program. I wish some actions within the program had a faster loading time.
Brian, we have enjoyed serving you for the past 4 years. Congratulations on the new Venue and we hope that Total Party Planner will assist you in growing that venture. Our new screen designs (coming soon!) have all new optimizations that I think you will find very speedy. If you need anything, please feel free to reach out to myself or the team. --John Cohen
After a one-time activation fee of $499:
Additional users can be added for $30 each per month
• Total Party Planner analyzes food cost and profit margins helping users to save money and maximize profit from events.
• Users can export their Total Party Planner calendar to their Google account.
• Users can add a contact form to their website, through which leads can be captured.
• Total Party Planner's electronic signature facility allows users to process contracts quickly.
• Users can create custom branded reports which helps in making proposals look more professional.
Below are some frequently asked questions for Total Party Planner.
Total Party Planner offers the following pricing plans:
Starting from: $125/month
Pricing model: Subscription
Free Trial: Not Available
After a one-time activation fee of $499:
Additional users can be added for $30 each per month
Total Party Planner offers the following features:
Total Party Planner has the following typical customers:
Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Small Business
Total Party Planner supports the following languages:
Total Party Planner has the following pricing plans:
Total Party Planner supports the following devices:
Total Party Planner integrates with the following applications:
Authorize.net, Constant Contact, Constant Contact, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, QuickBooks
Total Party Planner offers the following support options:
FAQs, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials