August 12, 2019      4 min read

Controlling and monitoring inventory stock is an ongoing challenge for may restaurant owners. Properly managing your restaurant inventory is, however, crucial to the financial and operational functions of the restaurant from the perspective of waste reduction and controlling your food costs.

May restauranteurs find inventory stocktaking to be a time-consuming and tedious task but getting it right is essential to addressing the following challenges:

1.Tracking restaurant inventory

Keeping track of all stock is difficult because of the myriad of inventory items in restaurants that may have different purchase, selling and consumption units. POS software for restaurants will help overcome this challenge, integrating with inventory control to keep track of all inventory items, even if the purchasing and consumption units vary.

Less than half of all restaurants currently track food waste that leads to lost revenue, higher operating costs and contributing to environmental issues. Ordering the right amount of food and produce is the first step to reducing the cost of food waste. Cloud-based technologies can improve inventory control with smarter forecasting, proactive reporting and intelligent workflows.

2. Managing raw materials

Try to adopt a minimal stocking approach for your restaurant inventory, especially with regards to perishable items. Stock monitoring and rotation should be undertaken to use up older stock before it expires and to deplete current stock before buying in fresh goods and produce. Managing the shelf life of perishables is crucial.

Rotating spot checks can be conducted daily for top sellers, perishables and expensive items while a full inventory check should be completed once a week. Additionally, minimum and maximum quantities for each inventory item can be set so that the system alerts you when more stock is required.

3. Recipe management and costing

This requires standardisation and recipe management for proper inventory control to help minimise food costs. Each menu item in your restaurant has a recipe and every recipe has a cost. An intelligent inventory control system gives you the ability to conduct menu modelling to analyse the cost and profitability of various ingredients, quantities, and supplier sources.

Cloud-based inventory management software lets you manage recipes and protects against inventory shortage, waste and theft. When orders are placed, the inventory stock required in recipe preparation are automatically deducted. The result is producrement based on recipes with greater accuracy, waste reduction and easier to control costs.

4. Shrinkage and waste

Theft and pilferage are rife in the restaurant industry and can be difficult to control despite preventive measures. Additionally, the majority of restaurant inventory has a limited shelf-life or is perishable, requiring a system of shelf-life management to enable managers to keep abreast of inventory stock items and their specified shelf life. Restaurants also need to take care to avoid and to control contamination risks of stored inventory stock items and to manage the stock expiry dates.

5. Purchase management

Inventory purchases are yet another challenge of the inventory and stock management for restaurants. Without the right stock management tools, restaurants struggle to manage vendors, purchase orders and the ever-changing purchase price of inventory stock.

Inventory software solutions enable restauranteurs to manage purchases, vendor catalogues and purchase rates. Enabling comparisons for prior purchases, generating purchase orders and the handling of the entire purchase management process.

Inventory stocktakes

Conducting an audit of food items each morning against the previous day’s counts will ensure accurate counts are reflected in back-of-house systems. This will help to identify any discrepancies which can be addressed as they occur.

Routine inventory stocktakes will help restaurants to control food costs and minimise food waste. When you know how much of a given ingredient is on your shelves you lower the chance of over-ordering that product. Overstocking, particularly perishable food items is likely to result in food waste with ingredients being thrown out while understocking creates missed revenue opportunities or customer dissatisfaction.

Without an inventory stocktake, you won’t know what or how many supplies you have on hand or identify instances of theft of pilferage.

Learn how to conduct a stocktake

Inventory control for restaurant inventory

When choosing inventory control software and restaurant inventory tools for your business it is important to look for flexible solutions that consider how your kitchen and storage is set-up to effectively group products automatically and accurately update inventory values with recent purchase price data. Systems should also be scalable so they can grow with the business as it grows.

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