Managing inventory can be stressful and time-consuming, and let’s face it, traditional methods of tracking inventory stock aren’t very effective anymore. To help eliminate this stress and save your establishment money, we’ve collated the most common frustrating inventory challenges for restaurant owners and managers. You’ll be delighted to know that by simply adding a little bit of process and mixing a bit of technology can create the perfect recipe for overcoming them.
Monitoring inventory and stock takes
Using outdated methods to count inventory stock keeps managers from performing other duties. This inventory challenge poses a real problem as stocktakes are not performed as much as they should – or at all.
How to overcome: Rotating strategic spot checks
Ideally, managers should conduct a full inventory stock check once a week. On a daily basis, they can simply conduct rotating ‘spot checks’ on top sellers of perishables and the most expensive items, so physical numbers stack up against what has been ordered and sold.
This ensures that all essentials are actually in stock, so customers aren’t disappointed, and sales don’t take a hit with any unavailable items. With an inventory management solution complete with automated features allows managers to focus their time and attention on critical areas, reducing inaccurate orders, food waste and lost sales. In addition, an inventory management system can help minimise theft and pilferage by capturing any discrepancies in the stocktake once audit operation is run for food costs and the inventory available at the end of a given period. This way the staff stays accountable and any wastage can be reduced.
Many restaurant managers are professionals so they may have a good gut instinct about how much inventory to order for an average shift. The problem is there are few ‘average’ shifts as many factors can derail the best-laid gut instinct planning from weather, traffic to supplier stockouts.
How to overcome: Intelligent sales forecasts
Simple to use yet effective technology can help restaurant managers and owners integrate data from POS systems to ordering and receiving systems. Better inventory management systems help drive actionable insights that improve the accuracy of procurement, stocktake, receiving and more. This is the most powerful way to deliver consistency and decrease costs.
Recipe management and costing
Let’s take for example, that one of your chefs regularly puts three extra slices of roast lamb on a dish. Over time, these types of practices are going to negatively impact your inventory stock and your revenue.
How to overcome: Standardisation and recipe management
Every item in your restaurant has a recipe and an associated cost for that specific recipe. Ordering based on recipes helps curb food costs as they will be much more accurate, enabling waste to be reduced, and costs easier to control.
Tracking and waste reduction
Managing the shelf life of perishables is essential in managing waste reduction. Food wastage should be a primary concern for restaurant owners and managers. However, recent research shows that not even half of restaurant establishments are tracking food wastage. If you are not tracking this wastage then there’s no way to monitor this inventory challenge. This will lead to lost revenue, higher operating costs, and a bigger environmental footprint.
How to overcome: Smarter ordering, proactive monitoring and intelligent workflows
Ordering the right amount of food is the first step to reducing the cost of food waste. Advanced technologies can improve inventory management with three critical capabilities:
- Smarter forecasting capabilities should consider all relevant factors, including business rules, internal and external data to ensure more accurate ordering
- Proactive monitoring capabilities should send alerts based on available data
- Intelligent workflow capabilities should connect tasks, teams, processes, and data to provide actionable insights that remove the guesswork
Together, these functions help restaurants forecast sales and guide managers through monitoring stock, more accurate ordering.
Managing supplier payments
Managers typically juggle invoices from a wide variety of suppliers. This way of doing things tends to take up valuable time from managers’ schedules and creates a huge risk for invoicing and payment errors.
How to overcome: System integrations
Instead of manually reconciling individual invoices consider an inventory management solution that integrates backend accounting software so invoices and data from all suppliers are streamlined to one system for easy business visibility — making the process less prone to error and easier on the managers, freeing up time to spend on other areas of the restaurant.