Don’t just count your ingredients on paper. Learn to use an inventory tracking spreadsheet to boost profits and reduce waste. Stay ahead of the game with the proper tools.
Inventory tracking doesn't have to be hard
It’s no secret that most restaurant or retail employees hate inventory duties. At the same time, it’s no secret that inventory management is near the top of the list of important tasks for every retail business. Inventory tracking is usually hard, takes a long time, requires a lot of manpower, and is the perfect recipe for expensive mistakes. Whether it’s a miscount left unchecked, poor handwriting making the inventory sheet hard to read, or sloppy work by tired employees, those mistakes can end up costing your restaurant thousands of dollars each month.
But what if we told you that inventory management doesn’t have to be hard? It’s true! By making and using an inventory tracking spreadsheet, you can eliminate the headaches, the mistakes, and the expenses that often come along with old-style inventory control. Below, we’ll cover the details on adding this powerful tool to your business and how it can help your profits grow.
What is an inventory tracking spreadsheet?
Spreadsheets are digital documents arranged in a grid with rows and columns. The spreadsheet can be a simple list, or it can be programmed to do complicated calculations. For inventory tracking and management, it can be as simple as telling you how many bags of potatoes came in during the last delivery. It can also be used to track cost, profits, and waste.
Simply put, inventory tracking spreadsheets are a paper-free and hassle-free way to see at a glance what you have in your store at any given time.
How can an inventory tracking spreadsheet save my business money?
Before computers and mobile devices, and before the internet and cloud technology, there was paper, pens, and people. When it was time for inventory tracking, you grabbed your paper and pen and started counting, calculating in your head, and writing down the details. It was expensive—paper, pens, clipboards, and the manpower to get the job done—and it was boring. That boredom caused mistakes, and the mistakes caused stress and money loss. Any miscalculations that went unchecked could easily result in spoiled food or running out of a vital ingredient. Both situations always ended the same way: more money loss.
It’s not hard to see how messing up inventory tracking can cause significant issues for businesses. But that’s why inventory tracking spreadsheets are such a beautiful thing. Since the sheets are digital, there’s a long list of ways you’re going to save time and money, which means no more headaches and no more stress.
Digital Means: Easy-to-See - When you have an inventory tracking spreadsheet at your fingertips, you can quickly search for anything. Rather than slogging through piles of papers and pages of logbooks, you just tap or swipe and find what you need.
Digital Means: Easy-to-Update - An inventory tracking spreadsheet is stored on your device or in the cloud, which means it’s effortless to update and make changes or additions. If you were still using traditional inventory methods, you’d have to go through every page and every copy to be sure the changes were complete. With an inventory tracking spreadsheet, it’s a click, tap, or swipe, and you’re done. Real-time updates are deployed to every connected device, and nobody is left in the dark.
Errors are Easy to Fix - Spreadsheets make errors easy to spot. And if you happen to be using a mobile inventory app as well as your inventory tracking spreadsheet, you could even get on-the-spot error reports so mistakes can be handled before they turn into costly problems.
Sort by Location, Type, and More - An inventory tracking spreadsheet lets you choose whether to track by location, item type, or any other criteria that are important to your business. Add a mobile inventory app to the mix, and you can filter your sheets even further, making locating items even faster.
Track Trends - Aside from tracking inventory and costs associated with it, you can also keep an eye on trends in your restaurant. Seeing what customers buy most and what products are lost to spoilage before they can be used is a great way to focus your efforts and funds on the most popular items while reducing spending and waste on those that go ignored. This is another place inventory tracking spreadsheets can be made even more powerful by adding an inventory app. Detailed reports at a glance, and the ability to print only the things you need to reduces time spent compiling information and wasted resources on printed materials you don’t need.
Other tips for easy inventory control
Using an inventory tracking spreadsheet is just one of the ways you can save money and time while improving efficiency in your store. Thanks to advances in technology and the affordability of powerful software, you can improve your restaurant’s bottom line by adding any number of useful apps. Along with a mobile inventory app, you can find apps for task checklists, inventory ordering apps, and even online ordering apps for your customers. The list goes on from there. Even if you’re not familiar with software and apps, or you’re not used to using technology in your business, it’s easy to get started if you find the right company. Look for simple setup, great customer service, and free trials, so you’re not trapped in expensive and restrictive contracts. Your options for improving your restaurant’s efficiency, reputation, and bottom line are truly endless when you’re open to adding apps and mobile devices to the mix. For more ideas on how to excel in your management role, read more here.