If you use spreadsheets to manage your restaurant inventory, keep financial records, organize and supervise employee shifts, control operating costs, and craft detailed reports, you know how tough and tedious it is. Is there a better solution?
Spreadsheets take hours to design and fill out. According to research by Ventana, employees typically spend 12 hours a month correcting, updating, and consolidating spreadsheets. Moreover, spreadsheets provide only raw data and don’t highlight or interpret anything. So each time you need to analyze data, it will take you hours. And the more data you have, the more time is required to read and process it.
With spreadsheets, your data can be vulnerable to security flaws. Even though Excel has built-in data security features including password protection and hidden sheets, these features can easily be bypassed.
Typically, data comes from multiple sources, so it requires a lot of manual effort to collect, process, and interpret data to generate a report. Also, there’s nothing automatic except for calculations. Therefore, it can take hours to create a single report.
Spreadsheets can become slow and are difficult to scale, especially if the file becomes big and you’re entering data in a single document. Another problem occurs if you break data into smaller files. These documents then become challenging to manage and process; plus, some information can even be lost or misplaced, which can lead to imprecise calculations.
Spreadsheets are vulnerable to errors. According to Pay Panko, a professor of IT management at the University of Hawai’i, around 90% of spreadsheets have errors in at least 1% of all formulas. Forbes says that 88% of spreadsheet documents have at least one error, including misspellings, formatting errors, and miscalculations.
Sometimes, small errors cost millions to fix. Take Barclays, a British services provider and investment bank, as an example. In 2008, a Barclays employee hid cells with unwanted contracts instead of deleting them. However, when the spreadsheet was converted to a PDF file, the hidden data became visible, which led to the creation of 179 unnecessary contracts. Another example occurred at the 2012 Summer Olympics. An employee responsible for inputting and managing data on tickets hit 2 instead of 1, specifying there were 20,000 tickets left instead of 10,000. This resulted in 10,000 extra tickets being sold by accident.
With spreadsheets, you don’t get historical data, which is a critical component of financial forecasting. In addition, you can’t see data in real time and can’t see the complete picture of what’s happening in order to make data-driven decisions.
If your restaurant has an accounting department managing multiple locations or several departments exchanging important data through spreadsheets, you’ll most likely have a collaboration issue. This is because Excel is designed for individuals and isn’t intended to be a collaboration tool.
The challenges are numerous, but there’s a way to face them! With a restaurant management system.
A restaurant management system is software that helps restaurants manage and automate various operations.
Using a restaurant management system, you’re able to:
- Know and manage stock levels in real time
- Control food costs
- Reduce food waste and inventory loss
- Minimize outages and prevent human error
- Eliminate paperwork
- Get data in real time and make quick data-driven decisions
- Manage employees effectively
- Understand your daily operations, performance, and finances
There are lots of features you can include in your restaurant management system. Your choice of functionality should depend on what operations you want to automate with your software.
This is one of the most important and necessary functionalities for a restaurant. An inventory management module can save you and your staff lots of time by automating operations such as taking inventory, calculating menu costs, and managing your supply chain. This module can also provide you with insights into which products are the least and most profitable.
Are your workflows getting chaotic? Is managing your employees’ schedules becoming unbearable? If so, consider adding an employee management module to your management solution! By doing so, you’ll be able to:
- Create work schedules
- Track employees’ time
- Manage vacations and sick leaves
- Go paperless
Revenue goes hand in hand with expenses (including operating costs and payroll). Let management software handle all this. Consider adding features such as:
- Expense records ― Get to know your expenses on raw ingredients, labor, and operations.
- Payroll ― Manage your employees’ salaries and deductions.
- Revenue statements ― Know your restaurant’s profits and losses over a period of time.
To increase your restaurant’s productivity and profitability, you need analytics. An analytics and reports module can help you get an accurate and thorough understanding of your finances, performance, and daily activities so you can make data-driven decisions to move your business forward.
So far, we’ve described restaurant management software module by module. Let’s see what an entire restaurant management system would look like if you developed the features we’ve sketched out.
We’ve outlined just several modules, but there can be many more. To understand what functionality you require, thoroughly define your restaurant’s needs.
If you’ve decided to switch to restaurant management software, we suggest you read our article on how to develop a restaurant inventory management system so you can learn the ins and outs of restaurant management software and be armed with all the knowledge you need to start development.