Effective inventory control is difficult in any enterprise, but especially so for the food and beverage (F&B) industry due to factors such as the limited shelf life of products, food safety compliance requirements and managing the complexities of recipe control.
The ability to determine and manage expiry dates is indispensable because of the limited shelf life F&B products have. It is essential that staff know when a product or the ingredients in that product need to be consumed by.
F&B inventory challenges
In addition to the obvious challenges of overstocking, spoilage and waste, F&B inventory is also predisposed to cross-contamination. In recent years with more consumers reporting allergies to certain food ingredients, cross-contamination gained significant attention and foods being handled, packed and stored in proximity to allergens is a frequent cause of product recall.
More importantly, F&B inventory is susceptible to the dangers of foodborne pathogens when not handled and stored hygienically or correctly. Foodborne bacteria and viruses can have drastic consequences for consumers and cause major damage to a company and its reputation.
How can inventory management software alleviate these problems?
Track and trace throughout the supply chain
The track and trace functionality of these systems allows food manufacturers and restaurant managers to track all ingredients back through the supply chain. This is especially useful in the event of a product recall, batch and serial number tracking make it easier for businesses to locate the stock in question.
A single source of truth
Recipe inventory control, ingredient quantity and costing comes in different formats and units of measure in F&B operations. An inventory management software can be the single point of truth for business operations. It can ensure that as an item in your business is sold, your stock levels reduce accordingly, and as stock is purchased your stock levels increase.
Determine true costs
Few tasks are more important in a restaurant business than performing physical inventory counts. By knowing the exact quantity and value of on-hand stock and the real usage of each stock item, managers can more accurately determine their restaurant’s food cost.
Managing food and beverage inventory can be complex, but they are controllable with the right business management solutions.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.