The question sometimes arises whether it is better to have software specifically
written for an individual hospitality operation’s needs or to buy an alreadywritten
software package (known as canned software). Specifically, custom software
is far more expensive than canned programs. Also, most hospitality businesses
are generally small operations that do not have the resources necessary
to carry out a system analysis and undertake the design work necessary to develop
their own computer software.
Canned programs normally have been widely tested, and any errors (bugs
or glitches) in the program have been detected and corrected. Demonstrations
of canned software can usually be viewed before the purchase decision is made
because a number of vendors may carry comparable packages. The cost to buy,
install, and train employees can also vary between an operation, depending on
its needs and the software’s capabilities to adjust for those needs.
A successful canned software package represents a proven product that is
obtainable at a cost much lower than that for a custom-designed software package.
In addition, specialized canned software packages are readily available for
a hospitality operation in such areas as food and beverage cost control, payroll,
and generation of financial reports and ratio analysis. Obviously, the benefits of
using off-the-shelf software have to be considered against the disadvantages. A
software package written for broad hospitality requirements may not be as easy
to use, or as fast, as one that is custom-designed.