The Problem(s) with Managing Restaurant Inventory in Spreadsheets
Using spreadsheets for restaurant inventory management is inaccurate, inefficient and unwise. Learn how poor inventory management could be making your managers crazy and hurting your business.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant manager who actually likes taking inventory. It’s complicated. It’s time-consuming. It often requires opening early or closing late. But good managers know the importance of a good restaurant inventory management process. The day-to-day decisions made on inventory impact the bottom line, and with food costs on the rise, the process is another major stressor on top of numerous existing operation headaches.
Consumer Price Index research indicates that food costs will rise another 3% in 2019, so you could understand why operators would be increasingly concerned. According to Hospitality Technology, 60% of operators say that food costs are a significant challenge, continuously eating away at their profits.
And yet, many restaurants still use spreadsheets to count their inventory.
Even when restaurant chains equip their managers with inventory management technology those systems tend to be antiquated and configured for the corporate office and accounting needs — not the operations team that depends on the tool daily.
Spreadsheets Breed Inaccuracy
When inventory is tracked manually, patterns of waste — or theft — can fly under the radar. Errors in formulas and data entry can go uncorrected for long periods of time, resulting in a string of bad decisions and unfortunate misses:
- Over- or under-ordering
- Increased food waste
- Undetected theft
- Bad accounting
F1F9 estimated that 88 percent of all spreadsheets have errors in them, while 50 percent of spreadsheets used by large companies have material defects.
That’s not exactly encouraging, especially when you consider that accuracy is a priority to above-store leaders. Plus, if your inventory is sloppily done, there’s no way of knowing what your food really is. But it’s not just an issue of accuracy…
Spreadsheets are Inefficient
Spreadsheet-based inventory management processes are cumbersome and, frankly, just take too long. They require double data entry so whether managers are jotting down numbers on a sheet of paper or mundanely plugging numbers into a computer, you’re unable to do anything else during the process.
Spreadsheets are Irritating
When mistakes and wasted time pile up, it’s a recipe for unhappy managers and increased turnover. Poor inventory management processes can cause your managers to look for other opportunities, and make no mistake — those opportunities are out there. TDn2K reports that 52% of restaurant companies say they’re understaffed for managers. With managers in shorter and shorter supply, it’s vital for operators to give managers the tools they need to succeed at their jobs.
Modern, mobile inventory management technology built with the manager in mind can increase productivity, accuracy and accountability within your company. It can also help lessen the stress and pressure on your managers and improve the quality of their work.