5 mins read

How to Create and Manage an Inventory Tracker Excel Template

how to create and manage an inventory system excel template
Daphne Blake

By Daphne Blake

Learn to manage your inventory system Excel template

Learning to create and manage your inventory tracker Excel template is a great way to cut costs, save time, and increase profits. Find out how with our easy to follow step-by-step tutorial on a basic spreadsheet set up.

Why use Excel for your inventory tracking?

Traditional inventory management methods use paper sheets and logbooks, pens and pencils, and a lot of man-hours to get the job done. None of that is efficient, and those methods don't improve your restaurant's bottom line. If you are like most restaurant managers and owners, you've been seeking ways to improve efficiency and increase your business' profits without adding more stress and more costs. Microsoft Excel is the perfect solution to all your inventory problems, and we're here to explain how.

If you are used to tracking inventory on paper and compiling all your information by hand, you know what a pain it can be to keep everything in order. One mistake can cause a cascade of issues ranging from minor annoyances to major roadblocks in keeping your restaurant open and running. Using an inventory tracker Excel template, you can reduce and even eliminate a lot of those issues with minimal effort up front. Microsoft Excel is the industry leader in spreadsheet creation, and restaurants all over are jumping onboard, harnessing the software's flexibility and power for use in everyday affairs.

Excel spreadsheets have built-in, advanced mathematical abilities and the option to organize and streamline many aspects of business, not just inventory systems. Once you know how to make an inventory tracker Excel template, it's easy to create a variety of spreadsheets to cover all your business needs. Use your new spreadsheets with the right apps, and you can instantly solve complicated math equations, group sheets by a variety of factors, filter search results in seconds, and get timely warnings when things aren't adding up as you expected. That adds up to a lot of saved time, saved money, and saved sanity.

Our simple inventory tracker Excel template

inventory system excel template 1

Excel is a very powerful and complicated piece of software, but for the industrious restaurateur, it's worth a little extra effort to learn the basics. If you learn just enough to create your Excel template for inventory tracking, you will be well on your way to mastering this time-saving tool. One template created the right way, can be copied and used over and over, for a variety of business uses. That's the same for any Excel template, so after you've followed this quick tutorial, feel free to try making a few of your own. Just remember to save each Excel template under a new name, so you don't accidentally overwrite the one we're showing you how to make now.

What about the math?

There are a lot of detailed tutorials online regarding the use of Excel and adding the right equations to run in the background, and we suggest taking the time to read one or two. The complicated equations and formulas are beyond the scope of this article, but the information is very easy to find online. For most restaurants, the formulas needed for an inventory system are fundamental and easy to apply.

For now, though, we'll teach you how to create a simple structure for an easy inventory tracker Excel template.

1. Open Excel
2. Click cell A1, which should be the first small box in the upper left corner of the blank spreadsheet.
3. Type 'Item' in the cell. This is column your label.
4. Click cell B1, which is the next cell over, right next to the cell you just typed in.
5. Type 'Amount,' which will be the label for that column.
6. Click cell C1
7. Type 'Cost.'

And that's it. In about ten minutes' time, you've started a very simple spreadsheet that can be adjusted and changed at any time. With no math equations or formulas set up, this inventory system won't be able to do the math for you yet. However, you can (and should) add the proper equations later to make full use of your new Excel template.

Using your inventory tracker to manage inventory

inventory system excel template 2

You can begin using this Excel template to fine-tune your inventory system and manage inventory right away. Even without the math formulas, this template is useful for listing everything in your store and getting a good count to start with. All you need to do is add each item name in the A column. When you're done, you should have a list of item names running down the left side of the Excel template.

Column B is for 'Amount', if you followed our quick tutorial, so you will want to put your inventory count for each item in the B column next to the item name in column A. Once you've listed the amounts of each item in column B, you can look at column C, labelled 'cost, and enter those values. This inventory system can't do math equations just yet, so you won't be able to add up total costs in this column automatically, but it's good to have this column pre-populated for when you do add the formulas to the spreadsheet.

Making changes to your inventory tracker template

As long as you saved a clean copy of your new inventory tracker template, you can go back to it at any time and add, subtract, or modify anything you like. Create a template for your recipe components, one for your maintenance and cleaning supplies, and even your employee schedules, if you're feeling adventurous. Just change the labels in row 1 (all along the top of the Excel template), and add the information in each column below. If you have information (such as ingredient lists) that are similar to multiple sheets, you need only copy and paste it, or drag and drop—no need to re-type it every time. You can't do that on a paper inventory sheet!

As you become more proficient using Excel, you'll soon see more areas you can improve efficiency and increase profits. Add some powerful apps to your inventory system, and you may be shocked how much time you can save by getting real-time error reports and the ability to check your inventory system anytime, anywhere. For more information on apps available to improve restaurant efficiency, check out this article here.

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