Food inventory management is a critical part of your restaurant operations. It helps reduce food loss and the associated increase in the cost of goods sold.
It also provides insights into your supply levels, helps identify popular menu items and automates your ordering processes to mitigate food waste. Most importantly, it can lead to increased restaurant profits.
To help improve your restaurant inventory management strategy, consider these five tips:
- Use an inventory management system
While it is possible to manage inventory using a spreadsheet, this can be problematic and time-consuming, especially for larger operations. Spreadsheets increase the chance of erroneous numbers, take more time and require you to do your own calculations or set up formulas that can do the calculations for you.
By using inventory management software or an inventory management app, you can reduce the amount of time spent doing inventory, improve accuracy and draw more insights and information for decision making.
- Integrate your POS system with your inventory management system
Point of sale (POS) systems are used to input sales and process payments - but it’s a common myth that they’ll cover your restaurant’s food inventory management needs. However, they can be integrated with inventory management software to help improve inventory tracking and forecasting.
Each time your servers ring up a sale, the POS system will speak to your inventory management software and automatically adjust inventory levels. This will ensure your inventory is accurate and up to date, allowing you to better plan supply orders, generate reports and automate inventory processes.
- Conduct regular inventory counts
While inventory management software and POS systems can help automate inventory processes, it is still important to take physical counts to verify the accuracy of your data. At a restaurant, you will want to take inventory often, as the turnover for most items is high, whether due to sales or wastage.
Take inventory daily or weekly, before or after you close. Depending on the type of stock, you can take inventory of different items on different schedules. For example, highly perishable foods can be counted every day or two, while bulk non-perishables can be reviewed weekly.
- Monitor inventory data regularly
It isn’t enough to simply implement an inventory management system, you must also take the time to regularly review data to determine how quickly you are using food and ingredients, when you should place your next order and for how much, which items are performing well and which need a push. This will help you optimize profits by reducing waste and planning your menu around items that sell well.
- Keep inventory organized
When organizing your food inventory, make sure everything has a place and is easy to find. When using bins and boxes, make sure they are labeled and avoid placing one kind of food in front of another. And always place products that are closer to expiration at the front. This will make it easy to locate food when taking inventory (as well as when cooking with it) and can help reduce food wastage for perishable items.
For more information on optimizing your food inventory management or to help implement inventory management software, contact us today.