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QSR Managers: EXCEL is NOT your best friend

In practicing more years of accounting than I would like to divulge, I have continually advocated the “misuse” of excel spreadsheets. My team will tell you that I am always pushing them to use the system, and not “work around it by going to Excel”.

But, what if you believe your best system IS Excel?

I have encountered so many franchise owners and managers who live by the data they are plugging into their excel spreadsheets. As a matter of fact, I received an email a few weeks ago from a potential client with “our new and improved tool” for managing stores. You guessed it- it was an excel spreadsheet. And not just any old spreadsheet- lots of formulas, colors, calculations, links- it is very fancy. I went through the tabs and did my usual due- diligence, internally questioning why anyone would ever institute something like this as a daily tool or required practice for their restaurant store managers.

Picture for a minute as a store manager- you are in the middle of lunch rush hour and your DM is asking you if you filled out your sheets today. Let me give you some examples of data that should be input into these spreadsheets:

• Daily gross sales
• Sales tax
• Credit card sales
• Cash deposit
• Total deposit
• Cash over/ short
• Gift cards redeemed
• Invoice detail for food and supplies purchases
• Daily scheduled labor

You get the picture- this list could go on for eternal blog posts. Ummm.. isn’t this data already captured in the POS???? From my perspective, this spreadsheet is actually not providing any valuable information, but draining the organization of efficiency, accuracy, and resources that could be devoted to getting good information.

The goal of managing your store is to increase sales, decrease costs, and deliver great customer service, all while trying to turn a profit. Is transferring numbers from your POS or paper invoices to a spreadsheet really the best way to do that given today’s wealth of technology? The short answer is NO.

If you are one of these owners, store managers, or other that is still managing the operations of your stores using excel, you need to recognize there is a better way that produces far superior results than your excel spreadsheets.

It goes without saying the excel sheets are full of errors- even if one tab is right- statistics show that many of the next ( in this example 23!!) likely are not.  How can you expect someone to manually enter that much data in the middle of managing a store and get it right? Or not accidentally change a formula? Or wipe out a calculation cell?

By the time they are done, assuming it’s correct, and it gets to who it needs to be to make decisions, the crucial moment has passed.

The ultimate question you need to answer: What value is this spreadsheet bringing to you daily? Hourly? REAL-TIME? I can answer that for you- nothing comparable to a real-time solution that manages all of these metrics as well as your financial reporting for you.

If you are using excel to manage ANY part of your daily restaurant business, including daily deposits, let’s talk. We can make it go away.

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