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Taking Inventory in Your Restaurant: 5 Essential Steps

August 29, 2016

Running into problems with food spoilage and costly grocery lists? Looks like you’re not taking inventory on a regular basis.

The ultimate goal is to have what your customers are ordering on hand without excess that results in waste (unnecessarily higher food cost). Efficient inventory management involves preparation and research. Restaurant owners can calculate the amount of food, supplies and other resources your restaurant uses over time. Solid information will provide an essential tool to increase your bottom line.

Simple guide to inventory management

Step 1: Crank out the numbers—Make a count of everything you have on hand (on your shelves, in your fridge, etc. etc.)

Step 2: Decide on an inventory management system that fits your restaurant. An effective system should work well with your recipe, ordering, and invoice systems so that you can monitor your cost of goods sold, inventory trends, and stock valuation.

Step 3: You will also need an appropriate management system, meaning you need to decide on a procedure your team will follow to manage and control your inventory. There should be a schedule indicating when things should be counted and how often. This way, you can make sure food is not rotting on your shelves or in your fridge, and a frequent physical count allows you to compare stock figures to your general ledger balance.

Step 4: Take time to train your team (even those that won’t be physically counting) so that everyone fully understands the process associated with this control element. For the individuals actually conducting the inventory count, make sure they are properly trained, because if your staff cannot execute an accurate and consistent inventory count, what is the point of having them do it in the first place?

Step 5: Keep past inventory results, and review where you can stand to save. What products should be purchased less? What do you need more of on a consistent basis? It will take some time to develop a sense of your inventory, but after a few weeks you’ll notice some emerging patterns. These patterns should help develop trends to compare how much you buy to what you actually use.

In order to effectively minimize product loss and develop a better ordering process, you need to develop an inventory management system, and keep up with it frequently. This is an integral part of your establishment’s success.

Contact our Hospitality Services Team for more information.

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