How To Calculate Reorder Points For Your Bar Or Restaurant

How To Calculate Reorder Points For Your Bar Or Restaurant
Inventory Management - November 01, 2023 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Effective inventory management is critical when it comes to operating a thriving bar or restaurant. There are many important elements that will help you master inventory management including forecasting from forecasting to ordering processes. 

But there’s one especially important element that many businesses often overlook and that is the reorder point. This metric plays a pivotal role in maintaining the delicate balance of your stock levels.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the concept of reorder points. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools to accurately calculate reorder points, ensuring that you never run out of supplies at critical moments. 

What is a Reorder Point? 

A reorder point is a predetermined inventory level at which a bar or restaurant decides it's time to reorder specific products or materials to ensure that they don't run out of stock. It serves as a strategic threshold, typically based on factors like historical sales data, lead times, and the desired level of safety stock. 

When the inventory level of a particular item reaches or falls below the reorder point, it signals the need to initiate a replenishment order to suppliers or distributors. This proactive approach prevents stockouts, helps maintain smooth operations, and ensures that essential items are readily available to meet customer demand. 

The reorder point is a fundamental concept in inventory management, enabling businesses to strike a balance between carrying enough inventory to meet demand while minimizing holding costs and avoiding excess stock.

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Why You Need to Calculate Reorder Points 

Calculating reorder points is a crucial aspect of effective inventory management for bars and restaurants, offering a multitude of benefits. 

Firstly, it ensures that your establishment always has an adequate supply of essential ingredients and products on hand. This prevents the risk of running out of key items during peak hours, which could result in dissatisfied customers and lost sales. This helps ensure smoother operations and allows staff to focus on delivering exceptional experiences rather than dealing with unexpected shortages.

In addition, maintaining optimal inventory levels helps reduce food and beverage wastage, by ensuring you don’t have more food than you can use. This is a significant cost-saving measure in the hospitality industry. 

Calculating reorder points also allows businesses to take advantage of bulk purchasing discounts and streamline their supply chain operations, ultimately enhancing profitability. In essence, by accurately determining when to reorder inventory, bars and restaurants can optimize their operations, minimize costs, and deliver consistent quality to their patrons.

How to Calculate Reorder Points

There are a few simple steps you need to follow in order to calculate your reorder points for your bar or restaurant. 

Step 1: Determine Your Demand Rate

The first step in calculating the reorder point is understanding your demand rate for a particular item. Your demand rate refers to how much of a specific product you use within a specific timeframe, be it a week or a month. To find this figure, review your sales records and calculate the average usage for your desired time frame. 

Step 2: Consider Your Lead Time

Lead time is the time it takes for your supplier to deliver the items after you place an order. It is a critical factor because you don't want to exhaust your supplies while awaiting a new shipment. 

Determine the average lead time for each of your suppliers, as this information is vital to the accuracy of your reorder point calculations.

For each supplier, subtract the date the order was placed from the date it was received. This will give you the lead time for that specific order. Once you have each order's lead time, add them together and divide the result by the number of orders. This will give you your average lead time. 

Step 3: Factor in Safety Stock

Running out of stock is something every business aims to avoid. To mitigate this risk, introduce the concept of "safety stock" into your inventory management strategy. 

Safety stock is an additional buffer of inventory that you maintain to account for unexpected surges in demand or delays in supplier deliveries. 

Generally, you want a safety factor between 20 to 50 percent. This means that you maintain 20 to 50 percent more stock than you need on average to avoid running out of product. When determining which percentage to use, you need to consider a few factors: 

  • Risk Tolerance - How worried are you about running out of food. If running out of stock isn’t a big issue for you, then you can have a lower safety stock. If you have a lower tolerance to the risk of stockouts, you may want to maintain more safety stock. 
  • Lead Time Deviation - If your supplier almost always turns orders around in the same amount of time, you can have a lower amount of safety stock. If their lead times vary greatly from one order to the next, you may want to have a higher level of safety stock. 
  • Variation in Demand - Similarly, if you have consistent demand, large safety stocks may not be as necessary. 
  • Availability of Capital - Inventory ties up capital. If you don’t have a lot of capital to spare, consider a smaller safety stock. 
  • Product Category - If the item has a long shelf life, you can have a larger safety stock without stressing about wastage. For perishables, you may want a smaller safety stock to avoid spoilage. 

Step 4: Applying the Formula

Now that you have all of the pieces, it’s time to put them together. The formula for calculating your reorder point is as follows:

Reorder Point = (Demand Rate x Lead Time) + Safety Stock

For example, if you determine that your weekly demand for a specific item is 50 units (Demand Rate), your supplier typically takes two weeks to deliver (Lead Time), and you wish to maintain a safety stock of 20 units, your reorder point would be:

Reorder Point = (50 x 2) + 20 = 120 units

When your inventory of this item diminishes to 120 units, it serves as a clear signal to initiate a new order.

Step 5: Continuous Monitoring and Adjustments

The world of business is ever-evolving, especially in the food and beverage industry. You need your inventory management strategy to reflect this reality. 

That’s why it’s imperative to continuously monitor your inventory levels and make necessary adjustments. As demand patterns, supplier lead times, and business conditions change, periodic reviews and recalibrations of your reorder points are essential to maintaining optimal inventory levels.

How Inventory Management Software Can Help With Reorder Points 

Inventory management software can significantly assist bars and restaurants in optimizing their reorder point calculations and overall inventory control in many different ways. 

  1. Automated Data Collection: Inventory management software can automatically collect and store data on your sales, purchases, and stock levels. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving time.

  2. Real-Time Inventory Tracking: Many software solutions offer real-time tracking of inventory levels. This means you always have up-to-the-minute information on your stock, allowing you to set more accurate reorder points.

  3. Demand Forecasting: Good quality software includes demand forecasting features that analyze historical sales data and predict future demand patterns. This helps in setting reorder points based on anticipated demand fluctuations.

  4. Lead Time Tracking: Inventory software can track lead times for different suppliers and products, helping you calculate reorder points that account for variations in delivery times.

  5. Safety Stock Calculation: Inventory systems have built-in algorithms for calculating safety stock based on statistical methods, taking into account demand variability and lead time variability.

  6. Customizable Alerts: You can set up customized alerts and notifications in the software to alert you when inventory levels reach the reorder point. This proactive approach ensures you reorder items at the right time.

  7. Analytics and Reporting: These software solutions often provide detailed analytics and reports that give insights into your inventory performance. You can analyze trends, identify slow-moving items, and make informed decisions about reorder points.

  8. Inventory Optimization: Over time, inventory management software can help you optimize your reorder points based on historical data, ensuring that you're carrying just the right amount of inventory to meet demand efficiently.

  9. User-Friendly Interfaces: Many inventory management systems are designed with user-friendly interfaces that make it easy for restaurant and bar staff to use. This facilitates efficient data entry and decision-making.

It’s Time To Start Calculating Your Reorder Points

While the concept of calculating reorder points may seem daunting, it is an indispensable practice in ensuring the seamless operation of your bar or restaurant. 

By understanding your demand rate, considering lead times, and incorporating safety stock into your inventory management plan, you can confidently navigate the complexities of inventory control. 

So, roll up your sleeves, and begin managing your inventory with precision and efficiency. Need a hand? Get in touch with Sculpture Hospitality's team of inventory management experts today.

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A Complete Buyer's Guide to Food & Beverage Inventory Management Systems

With around 25 to 35 percent of a restaurant’s operating budget dedicated to purchasing food (that’s not even taking into account beverage inventory costs for the bar), proper inventory management can significantly improve expected revenue.

To maximize profits you need to improve visibility and control over your restaurant or bar’s inventory. 

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