It’s rare for restaurateurs to get to the next ordering day with no leftovers, no spoilage, and no last-minute menu changes. Even the best restaurant managers struggle with food purchasing and forecasting.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to improve food control and reduce losses. So here are five tips to help you improve inventory purchasing to reduce spoilage and other losses.
- Proper forecasts
Without a doubt, the most important step in managing your purchasing process is accurate forecasting. By looking at what happened in previous time periods, you can better predict just how much food you will need.
But you don’t just want to look at historical sales – you also want to consider:
- Recent sales trends
- Current economy
- Local events
- Changes in the competitive landscape
- Perform consistent inventory counts
Before placing an order, always go through your current inventory and determine how much you have on hand, whether anything has gone bad and if there is food close to expiry. This will help ensure you don’t over or under order. Consistent inventory counts and the use of restaurant inventory management software, will ensure you have the insights you need to drive up profit margins.
- Understand vendor ordering requirements
Many vendors have minimums and cheaper shipping for orders over a certain size. Similarly, vendors can have higher prices per unit for split cases. Determine what units your vendor sells in and how much you’re required to in order to benefit from lower costs. Depending on their terms, you may want to adjust your order or look at other options.
- Have a backup vendor
It is always a good idea to have back up vendors. This will ensure you have somewhere else to go if your preferred vendor doesn’t have what you need or can’t get it to you quickly enough. It also allows you to compare pricing and quality to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Open each case
When you finally receive your orders, you want to be sure to open each case and inspect the food. By doing this, you can proactively catch issues with quality. If any of the items are not up to the standard you expect, you can send them back with the driver, or make a note of it for your next order if you need those items for your upcoming seating.
Over or under purchasing can increase spoilage, upset customers and lead to less profit. By taking the time to perfect your purchasing process, you can save time, increase your bottom line and avoid last minute changes that can disrupt every area of your restaurant.
Need help improving your restaurant profit margins? Get in touch with the Sculpture Hospitality team of inventory specialists today.