Spreadsheets versus technology! What are you using in your bar or restaurant?
With so many technology solutions available in today’s modern workplace, there might be an assumption that most hospitality businesses use cloud-based software for their day to day operations. But a surprising number of operators still use spreadsheets as their tried and tested form of data storage, which reflects estimates that as many as 81% of businesses as a whole regularly use Excel spreadsheets.
If you’re thinking of growing your business or it’s already expanding, you’ll know that data becomes increasingly complex with scale, giving operations and finance teams back of house a real headache. But people resist change and a surprising number of operators still rely on spreadsheets for daily tasks such as costing menu items, calculating the cost of sales, evaluating waste, recording and analysing stocktakes, scheduling and identifying trends – the list goes on.
The suggestion of moving away from spreadsheets towards technology triggers objections such as it costs too much; we’re a small operation; we don’t need anything complicated; we already have a system that works; we don’t have time for training and would never use the capabilities of a full-blown technology solution.
But that same familiarity, and maybe even a lack of ambition, breeds complacency and a misplaced sense of security amongst hospitality operators. Spreadsheets are prone to the very complications they many associate with technology and can make things more confusing, creating numerous problems that could cause their business to fail. Whilst 90% of users are convinced that their spreadsheets are error-free, there’s nothing to suggest that anything’s changed since a PWC study found that 90% of spreadsheets contain serious errors.
Spreadsheets are unreliable, time-consuming and susceptible to any number of errors, despite many people running their business with them for many years. Just a few of the issues you might identify with are:
1. Spreadsheets rely on human input and, no matter how careful we are, we don’t always get it right and do sometimes make errors
2. One bad cell can corrupt an entire spreadsheet and take a lot of time out of the business whilst it’s identified
3. Logic errors - where inappropriate formulae are created - generate misleading results
4. They’re quickly out of date
5. Data needs to be rekeyed, updated and checked regularly
6. There’s a high potential for miscommunication between employees, with opening, saving and working from different versions more common than you might think creating discrepancies that are difficult to unravel
7. With very few businesses password protecting spreadsheets, there’s a lack of security which is magnified because there’s no automatic lock out system after a period of inactivity
8. Anyone with access to a spreadsheet can share or duplicate it with ease, reducing its integrity and confidentiality
Faced with these limitations, operators may not even realise that technology, spearheaded by EPoS, can address these weaknesses and could just be the answer to their needs. It can make the difference between managing a business with spreadsheets and making one fly with technology.
Is there any wonder, therefore, that the most savvy and successful operators have ditched the spreadsheet and embraced technology? Despite some people’s misgivings, technology can match the capabilities of every spreadsheet you could ever dream of setting up, driving the most efficient business development tools you need to improve the bottom line.
Having transferred from spreadsheets to Access EPoS Jonny Findlay, Operations Director of Hubbox, highlighted the transformation moving to a tech solution made to their business:
“The reporting capabilities are incredible and the amount of visibility of data we have compared to a couple of years ago. I’ve easily saved myself two days per week on administrative tasks which has given me the freedom to work at a more strategic level focusing on improving business performance.”
If anyone is still unconvinced that technology would be victorious over spreadsheets, in a Top Trumps style data storage comparison, some key facts to consider about EPoS:
Data flow is automated - from taking a transaction to updating the finance system - without the need for any manual data entry
Live, meaningful data is available in real-time with integrity
Operators are often surprised by the wealth of information they can get from a tech solution and how they can use it to their advantage, including forecasting, menu costing, monitoring waste, scheduling employee shifts
Prevents users updating and viewing anything but the latest version
Cloud based EPoS systems are password protected, ensuring that sensitive information is encrypted and private
EPoS systems are designed to run themselves with minimum management required by the operator
With a suite of products to help you manage your business, Access Hospitality technology covers all aspects of front and back of house operations. Choose Access People for staff scheduling, Access EPoS for stock control and management, sales and payment control, Access Procure Wizard for purchase to pay and Access Collins for reservation and enquiries.