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The ultimate goal of any business is to make as much profit as possible, this goal is no different in the restaurant industry and keeping track of your inventory gives you the best possible chance of increasing your profit margins.
Tracking inventory can allow restaurants to quickly identify any stock problems and save money in as many areas as possible. Firstly, keeping track of inventory will explicitly identify trends in food wastage within your restaurant. If you are always aware of what you have, what you don’t have and what you are throwing away, you can make sure that there is no excessive inventory loss or wastage.
In addition, keeping on top of your inventory will inevitably boost your customer satisfaction as it ensures that the ingredients for all your menu items are in stock and available. By tracking your inventory, you can easily improve the overall customer experience.
How do restaurants keep track of inventory?
There are different methods to help business owners keep track of their inventory, from old school methods to digital solutions. Here are some of the most popular methods restaurants use to keep track of industry:
1. Organized stockroom
One of the easiest and cheapest ways for restaurants to keep track of their inventory is to simply organize their stockrooms. By organizing your shelves in a logical way, it will be easy to see what you are low on, what you have too much of and what needs to be replenished.
2. Keep an inventory sheet
A similarly easy and cheap way to keep track of your inventory is to keep an inventory sheet. Keeping an inventory sheet and doing an inventory count on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis will allow you to keep a physical record of your inventory. Although this system is more precise than simply judging your stock by eye, it is also subject to human error.
3. POS system
Although some people still use manual methods for restaurant inventory management, there are digital solutions that work better and minimize the risk of human error. Point of service software allows your orders to be converted into ingredient trackers in real time that subsequently, which keep a continuous record of inventory levels.
How often should a restaurant do inventory?
Regular inventory management is an important factor in the success of restaurant and bar businesses. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to recognize the importance of inventory checks and underestimate the effect they can have on your bottom line.
Whilst many restaurants generally complete inventory checks at least one a month, the reality is that this is not an effective practice. Restaurant inventory management is not a monthly job. Instead restaurant managers should schedule weekly inventory checks.
There are many advantages to doing inventory checks more regularly. Firstly, it will allow you to accommodate for fluctuating costs of stock as you will be regularly reviewing your ingredients and their usage. You will therefore be able to track your food costs to see if you’re wasting money or if your suppliers are charging you more than they should be.
Moreover, by implementing frequent inventory checks you can follow up on your ingredient usage. When you regularly check your stock and inventory, it gives you the opportunity to regularly arrange your storeroom and make sure the first in first out method is adhered to as strictly as possible. This minimizes waste and helps you maximize your profit.
How can restaurants improve inventory management?
Here are some tips to help you improve your restaurant inventory management:
Hire specific inventory personnel
Although hiring extra people can appear as a counterintuitive measure, this will prove to be a good investment in the long term.
One of the main reasons inventory often goes unchecked is because employees simply don’t have the time to thoroughly check it due to their other responsibilities. Hiring someone whose sole job it is to stay on top of inventory will ensure there is always someone available for your weekly checks.
Moreover, you can train these individuals for inventory management. These employees will know exactly the amount of product coming in, the amount of product being sold, the cost of goods sold, the cost of ingredients bought so they will be able to spot trends in pricing and capitalize on areas of possible savings.
Invest in software
Investing in software is one of the most efficient ways to improve inventory management. This is the best technique to track and control your restaurant inventory as it offers you full control throughout the entire supply chain. It allows you to make decisions and instantly alter anything at any point.
Set par levels
Setting par levels is a great way to track your inventory levels. By setting par levels, you have a universal standard of stock levels, meaning you know the exact time when to re-order stock to make sure you never run out of stock or have too much stock on hand.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the amount of stock needed at any one time is subject to change. For example, the kinds of ingredients needed in the summer will differ from the kinds of ingredients needed in winter, so you may need to adjust your par levels according to your ingredient usage.
Restaurant inventory management is a practice that needs to be implemented throughout the entire inventory process. From ordering from suppliers to using the ingredients to make your menu items.
It’s therefore strongly advised to maintain good communication with everyone in the supply chain. Communication is the foundation for strong relationships. It’s important to nurture your relationship with your suppliers to negotiate favorable conditions and make sure you never run out of stock. Plus, nowadays strong relationships can be maintained through software systems that have inbuilt communication features to suppliers.
Accurately predict your inventory usage
Although this is an extremely difficult thing to achieve, if you’re able to predict your inventory usage as accurately as possible, you will be able to maximize your profit.
There are various things that you can do to predict your inventory usage such as taking into consideration upcoming promotions, analyzing the data from previous years, etc. If you’re able to predict what you are going to use, you can determine how much you will need to buy in advance.
This knowledge will afford you a degree of inventory control and save you money.
What is the best system to manage the stock in a restaurant?
By now it should be evident that an inventory control system is a huge asset to any bar or restaurant. The amount of control and overview it affords its users is a key denominator in saving businesses money and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Despite the clear need for restaurant inventory management systems, it can often be a daunting process to pick a software that best suits your business. So, what exactly should you be looking for in a restaurant management system? Here are some things to look out for:
Firstly, a restaurant inventory system that integrates POS into its software is a must. Companies that provide this two-in-one system enable their clients to analyze data in real time and check stock levels that are constantly updated.
The best software also have in-app features that allow you to communicate directly with your suppliers. This allows you to quickly adjust your supply according to your usage. This is an easy way to keep your relationship with your suppliers strong.
As bars and restaurants are collaborative environments, this needs to be reflected in the software you choose to invest in. It’s therefore best to purchase software that is collaborative in nature. By this, we mean software that allows you to assign permissions to multiple users for better control.
There are a lot of things that go into running a successful restaurant business, but ultimately, your end goal is to generate as much profit as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a strong understanding of your inventory and your stock. The solution? Investing in restaurant management system.
These systems give you a full overview of your inventory in order to allow you to make informed decisions about different things from stock supply to menu item costing. Investing in software like RapidBar could really give you the edge in the bar and restaurant world!