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7 Ways Your Bar Inventory Spreadsheet is Failing You

Manually updating restaurant inventory spreadsheet
Restaurant Inventory, Bar Inventory - November 30, 2021 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Spreadsheets are a seemingly simple tool for managing bar inventory – they can be organized by storage locations, data is easy to enter, the software does the math for you, and you can quickly produce charts and graphs to aid in decision making. Not only that, but they can be free to use as well. 

But spreadsheets also have a number of flaws that make your bar inventory inaccurate. Here are just seven of the most common reasons your bar inventory spreadsheet is failing your business. 

  • Your spreadsheet relies on manually entered formulas 

Sure, all inventory software depends on formulas, but software designed specifically for inventory management has the formulas hardwired in and they can’t be changed. 

For an inventory spreadsheet to function properly, the user must know how to properly set up formulas and which formulas to use - otherwise, there will be a lot of manual data entry. Once the formulas are set up, data entry is much simpler, but you must also be sure that the formulas aren’t accidentally changed, otherwise it could send your whole inventory calculation into disarray. 

  • Spreadsheets aren’t designed for your bar inventory

Spreadsheet software, like Excel or Google Docs, can be great tools but they are not specifically designed for bar inventory management. That means they are missing important features that bars and restaurants need to ensure they are properly managing bar and restaurant inventory. That’s why a large majority of bars now use bar inventory management software to take back control of their inventory management processes. 

  • No real-time data

Spreadsheets only update when you take the time to update them. That means that you won’t have a clear picture of your inventory unless you are constantly adjusting numbers as sales are made and new orders come in. This can be especially problematic when you need to forecast and reorder in a pinch, as data may not be up to date. 

Inventory management software is designed to integrate with other systems for real-time results (inventory counts permitting) - and that leads us to the next point. 

  • Spreadsheets do not integrate with other systems 

A key feature of inventory software is integration with other technologies such as point of sale, accounting, and barcoding software. Integration allows these different technologies to communicate with each other so that they all have current information. Excel cannot be integrated with these technologies, which means you will need to do manual reconciliations to make sure everything matches. 

  • They don’t scale well

When you are just starting out and trying to save money, spreadsheets can be an effective and inexpensive tool. But as products begin selling at faster rates and you begin to keep a higher quantity of inventory, you will find spreadsheets difficult and inefficient. They are hard to scale up as your business grows. 

  • They leave lots of room for human error

Because spreadsheets are designed and driven by the user, it’s significantly more common for human error to occur. Inventory software has the formulas built-in, which means the only point for error is in data entry, which can be easily avoided by double-checking entries as you go. 

  • It’s difficult to find errors in a spreadsheet

If there are errors in your spreadsheet, they can be hard to track down. This is especially true if you are using a complex spreadsheet with multiple sheets, formulas and rules. This leaves you with little visibility and a lack of control over your true inventory insights. 

If you are currently using spreadsheets but are looking for a more accurate and efficient way to track your bar inventory, contact us today for a free demo

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A Complete Buyer's Guide to Food & Beverage Inventory Management Systems

With around 25 to 35 percent of a restaurant’s operating budget dedicated to purchasing food (that’s not even taking into account beverage inventory costs for the bar), proper inventory management can significantly improve expected revenue.

To maximize profits you need to improve visibility and control over your restaurant or bar’s inventory. 

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