Inventory control plays a key role in your ability to perform demand planning, order inventory (maybe even avoiding backorder problems), and maximize your bar or restaurant profit margin. The cost to open a bar is high enough, finding ways to spend less is always a good idea.
Unfortunately, many restaurant and bar owners are still manually performing a regular physical count of inventory as their only means of inventory control. Attempting to perform all the activities above using these numbers may not be very accurate and certainly won't give you the best chance to grow profits. To avoid this, you can use a barcode scanner to automatically update your perpetual inventory system.
Keep reading to learn what a barcode scanner is, the apps you can use, and how they help with inventory control.
What Is a Barcode Scanner?
A barcode scanner or scanner app is a tool that reads barcodes, decodes the data contained in them, and sends the data automatically to another system. These scanners are a vital part of many businesses to help them keep track of inventory sell through, shrinkage, par level, sales trends, and calculating optimal reorder points. These scanners ensure your data is as accurate as possible, so you can make informed decisions to grow your business (and boost bar profitability).
Best Barcode Scanner iPhone | Best Barcode Scanner Android
There are many barcode scanner apps on the market, but they don't all offer the same value. You should balance cost and value when looking at barcode scanner apps and make sure the data can easily and automatically be sent to your wine cellar tracking app or wine tracker program.
With that in mind, here are the five best barcodes scanners available on both iPhone and Android:
We're not just blowing smoke here, our very own BinScan inventory scanning app. It was built by the hospitality industry for the hospitality industry and can save you hours of inventory counting. This is hospitality software at its finest. It's free for all BinWise Pro customers and lets you scan bottles from your phone to automatically update your inventory database. Even better, it can be seamlessly paired with the Socket Scan S740 handheld scanner for increased efficiency. This scanner is easy-to-use and can take your scanning from 10 bottles per minute to more than 150 bottles per minute.
2. BarCloud Pro
Another barcode scanning app designed for inventory management and tracking, BarCloud Pro is a cloud-based app available to BarCloud customers. It allows you to view inventory levels across multiple locations in real-time and update levels with the touch of a button. However, there is a price tag attached on top of the fee you have to pay for your BarCloud account. It also isn't designed with a single industry in mind, so you may not get the tailored experience you're looking for.
3. Scan to Spreadsheet
If you don't have a dedicated inventory tracking system, but don't want to manually check off inventory levels, this might be the right scanner app for you. Scan to Spreadsheet lets you create and update spreadsheets right through the app. These can be used for full counts, cycle counts, demand planning, and more. However, this type of inventory control should only be performed if you have a relatively small inventory as the risk of human error still exists. It can even be paired with a Google sheets inventory template.
4. Inventory Control
Unsurprisingly, Inventory Control is an app built with business users in mind. It lets you customize your data by taking and uploading photos of your products with each scan and categorizing them by department, color, and more. You can also scan by UPC code, SKU number, serial number, part number, and more. The main drawback is that the user experience is definitely not the easiest to navigate, and it may not be able to be integrated with any existing tracking software you use.
5. QR Code Reader
If you're just looking for a basic scanner app that will give you information about the products you're scanning--whether wholesale products or finished goods--this is the one for you. It lets you scan barcodes, QR codes, PDFs, bar business cards, and more. You can even create a custom QR code in the app. However, that's all the app does, so it's not particularly valuable for inventory tracking or updating your stock levels.
Barcode Stock Control App
If you're looking for a barcode app specifically for stock control, you need to stick with an app aimed at professionals. To make this a little easier, here are a few tips on finding the right app:
- Avoid standalone apps. An app that doesn't send data anywhere else when scanning won't be particularly helpful to anyone else. Your staff won't have insight into inventory levels unless you share with them, so they won't be getting the most out of their work. This also includes the free apps that are usually little more than a tool for finding more information about a single barcode.
- Look for expertise. Your inventory control plays a major role in your ability to make sales and grow your business. You should only go with apps from trusted companies with a track record, so you know the app can grow with you. These may cost more, but they'll set you up for sustainable, long-term growth.
- Focus on the user experience. If a barcode scanning app is difficult to use or navigate, it's only going to hinder your operations. Try to get a demo or trial of any app you're interested in before making an investment. BinWise and BinScan have been meticulously designed with the end-user in mind, so you don’t have to worry. Book a demo, and we’ll show you all the bells and whistles!
Frequently Asked Questions About Barcode Scanner App for Inventory
Beyond this general breakdown, there are a few other questions you may have about barcode scanner apps and everything that goes along with them. Some of those common questions are:
Is There A Free Barcode Inventory App?
Though there are quite a few barcode inventory apps available to you, very few of them are free. If you're in the restaurant or bar industry, your best option is to invest in BinWise Pro restaurant inventory software. It's the most comprehensive all-in-one platform that can help you streamline everything from taking inventory to purchasing and invoicing. It will also give you access to our BinScan app for free, so you can start scanning your bottles and updating your inventory database immediately. Even better, you can manually adjust the percentage of each open bottle's remaining volume as well as track the number of bottles left in your inventory, so you'll always stay on top of your actual remaining inventory levels.
Best Barcode Scanner iPhone or Best Barcode Scanner Android: Is There A Best Choice?
A lot of the mobile world is torn between Apple and Android devices. While there are differences between the phones, and the choices there are all about personal preference, there are plenty of mobile barcode scanner apps that work for both. Basically, that means you don't have to choose! Whether you prefer iPhones or Androids, the best bar inventory app options will work for you.
When Should I Get A Barcode Scanner App?
Technically, you really won't need a barcode scanner app until you've got inventory to count. That said, if you're looking into starting a bar or restaurant, or you want to change up your current inventory practice, there's never a bad time to get familiar with the barcode scanner apps available.
Scan You Dig It?
Scanning and tracking inventory has never been easier. All you need is a phone, and you can start scanning your liquor bottle display and inventory and get greater insight into your inventory levels. This will let you grow your business and increase sales with confidence.