Managing a restaurant comes with numerous challenges. One of the toughest tasks is keeping track of the inventory.
Since the margins of restaurants are pretty slim, cost control is usually one of the biggest concerns. After labor, the cost of food is essentially the largest expense. As a result, many restaurants have tight inventory management policies.
Inventory management may sound boring and monotonous. However, it is a powerful tool that not only affects the profitability of the restaurant, but also the customers’ satisfaction. Here are 5 secrets that will bring your inventory process to whole new level.
5 Effective Ways to Boost Your Inventory Management Process
1. Plan Before You Execute
Inventory management is a concentrated and continuous process that should not be handled solely at the operations level.
A good inventory plan should involve the marketing, merchandise, and catalog departments. It should also use revenue records from previous years to prepare for seasonal spikes.
If your inventory is managed according to a master promotional calendar, the whole process will work out more smoothly. Your staff will know what supplies are needed, the purchasing team will know when and how much to buy, the store manager will know when to prepare for additional warehouse space, and so on.
2. Safeguard from Mistakes
Managing the restaurant’s inventory manually subjects you to recording errors. To eliminate this problem, assign at least two other staff members to check for inconsistencies and anomalies in the inventory.
To make the process run even more smoothly, structure your inventory sheet to match the layout of your restaurant’s kitchen and store. Your employees will have an easier time moving from one bin to another, recording the items as they go.
For a more accurate reporting, automated commercial kitchen display systems can help you monitor the use of food and other supplies.
Additionally, to avoid large erroneous year-end inventory records surrounding misplaced and lost stock, it is recommended to implement a daily cycle counting program. With cycle counting, your staff members can easily identify and correct errors before they escalate into more serious problems.
3. Make Reordering Easy
Most restaurants regularly reorder the same amount of products from specific suppliers. If you are searching for these items individually then placing an order each and every time, the whole process can be tiring and time-consuming.
What you need is a one-click reordering system. Newer tech solutions can automate the reordering process by triggering a product reorder once it hits a certain level. You will be able to see when your stock is getting low and avoid unnecessary shortages that may reduce sales and upset your customers.
The system also allows employees to focus on other important things in the restaurants like the quality of service, rather than keeping tabs on the inventory levels.
4. Enact First-In-First-Out (FIFO) Inventory Method
Does your inventory management system encourage older stock to be used first? Items that have a shelf life need to be rotated out of the store quicker than newer items.
You can significantly reduce the inventory obsolescence costs of your stock by using the FIFO method. An ERP system will help your staff easily track older stock that should be used up first during fulfillment.
5. Prevent Over-Ordering
Your backroom should not be a barren wasteland where your culinary dreams die.
However, knowing the quantity of beef you’ll need for the all-you-can-eat barbeque specials on Saturdays, is not so easy. You’ll be taking a risk every time you place orders for food and other supplies.
But with a weekly inventory management tool, you will know how much food is used, how much is left, and how much you’ll request for the coming week.
Grow Your Business with an Efficient Inventory Management Process
An efficient inventory management process is the defining line between a successful business and one that comes up short.
With the inventory management secrets above, your restaurant will be running smoothly for a long time to come. Some of the tips can be achieved through simple changes in your inventory process, while others may need you to invest in new management techniques.
Also, make sure that you are updated on the latest trends in restaurant inventory management systems.