Still using spreadsheets to track stock?

Spreadsheets are great. Since their debut in the 1970s they have become an indispensable part of business and a ubiquitous tool for analysing data, informing decisions, and getting work done.

I use spreadsheets for all sorts of things and over 90% of Bars & Restaurants I talk to use spreadsheets to help manage their stock. Afterall, spreadsheets are free and flexible and can really help to get a handle on things when starting out. As businesses grow, however, spreadsheets often fall short and can inhibit progress.

In this post, I drill into the subtle hidden disadvantages of using spreadsheets and the advantages of using a purpose designed cloud-based platform like Barsumo for managing stock in Bars & Restaurants. I have used bullet-points so you can speed through the article and get the gist and dig deeper if interested.

First, let’s recap on the advantages of spreadsheets

  • Free
  • Fast
  • Flexible: unlimited columns & rows!
  • Familiar: not much training required, however, this can be a double edged sword
  • Ubiquitous
  • Great tool for adding structure and keeping track of things when starting out

Subtle hidden disadvantages of spreadsheets

  • Too flexible: unlimited column & rows!
  • Formulas & macros can get complicated and are prone to error
  • Difficult to tie things together and track trends/anomalies
  • Difficult to collaborate with multiple users (albeit Google Sheets and other online spreadsheets are changing this)
  • Difficult to keep track of different versions & backups
  • Prone to fat finger mistakes: too easy to edit or delete a cell without knowing and almost impossible to detect
  • Not designed for a particular task and don’t scale very well

Benefits of cloud-based apps

At Barsumo, we have been focused on making stock control easier for Bars & Restaurants. Our tools can help analyze and visualize data and automate tasks such as ordering, stocktakes, and calculating usage/COGS and profitability.

With a dedicated platform such as Barsumo, you can benefit from the following:

  • Streamlined back-of-house operations
  • Advanced analytics e.g. seasonal demand
  • Smart PARs & smart ordering: no more stock outs or over/under-ordering!
  • Identification and tracking of price changes, excess stock, fast movers, slow movers, etc.
  • Automated Accounts Payable (integrated with your accounting system)
  • Full backup history and audit trail, available anytime
  • Role based access so you can control what users have access

… all provided through an easy-to-use interface. The net effects are saved time, reduced errors, and streamlined operations. If you aren’t convinced, get in touch at or download our free stocktake app to get started.