The 5 Best Ways to Manage Inventory
As competition continues to rocket within the dining industry, restaurants begin to realize the importance of inventory management as a potential difference between success and failure. Your customers should not be kept waiting for their main course as the kitchen staff struggles through a shortage of ingredients!
Many restaurants fail to realize the latent benefits of having an efficient inventory management system, that range from effective waste and expenditure control to retaining the existent clientele and attracting more customers. While the main purpose of a stock count is to measure the amount of supplies and products that your restaurant uses over time, analyzing the usage can be used to generate a cost, sales and profitability analysis, and make your restaurant reach its most optimal and cost effective level.
Read on to find out the top five ways to help you improve your restaurant’s inventory management system, and increase its operational results and growth prospects.
Cost saving is not only restricted to competitively bidding your suppliers. Your inventory management efforts should begin with training your staff on the topic. Train all staff, even if you don’t intend to use them to conduct the stock count, so that everyone is on the same page of this important procedure. Your past inventory results are not there to be filed! Review them to identify a stocking pattern, and to determine which products usually face backlogging issues or stay overstocked. Competent restaurant management systems, like those offered by eRestaurant, enable you to see such patterns by laying them all out, and thus allow strategic decisions to be made faster.
Imagine walking into your stock room only to find it in a post-cyclone aftermath! It is virtually impossible to take an accurate inventory when the stock room or walk-in is disorderly. Be sure all store rooms, shelves and refrigeration units are organized and clean, with all products placed in the correct boxes or containers for an easy visibility and count. Labels always come in handy for products that are hard to identify.
Mind Your Menu
Monitoring inventory may reveal a wasted or spoiled ingredient because of its infrequent usage. Refer to your inventory to revise certain recipes, and change menus in order to integrate such ingredients into multiple dishes. Not only will cross-utilization minimize waste, but also lower the number of items in stock. Another way to ensure an efficient usage of inventory is to make use of portion controls.
Keep Track Of Waste
It is completely normal if your server accidentally spilled a plate of food, or the chef burned several pieces of steak during dinner service. Regardless of how wastage happens, restaurant staff should always record all wasted items, to account for any missing inventory when analyzing usage. That being said, managers also need to identify the cause of wastage and formulate a solution to the problem. In certain circumstances, where the staff lacks the efficiency skills of food preparation, or demonstrate an irresponsible conduct, further training may get necessary.
Use the First-In, First-Out (FIFO) Method
An integral part of restaurant business, FIFO not only ensures that no expired ingredient gets plated, but also guarantees reduced expenditure on restocking the inventory. Poor food handling is a major contributor to depleted inventory. A rule of thumb to keep the ingredients fresh and visible would be to stick to a “Name it, date it, rotate it and consolidate it” policy in the kitchen. This way, your workers will know what to use and when. Proper first-in, first-out (FIFO) rotation is essential for reducing food spoilage, and save you from frequently buying newer items.