Restaurants keep many different ingredients on hand to create their dishes. Some ingredients have a long shelf life, others go bad in a matter of days. According to FoodPrint, about 10% of those ingredients end up going to waste.
While you'll never be able to completely end excess inventory at your business, running inventory control will help maximize your inventory and improve cash flow use and pinpoint where losses, food waste, and human error come from.
In this article, we'll focus on different types of inventory management strategies to help you better understand your inventory and what you can do to keep better track of it. We'll also provide some tips on inventory management systems that can make your life a lot easier.
First, let's start with the basics and understand the different types of inventory in a restaurant:
- Food inventory: This includes all of the raw ingredients that your restaurant uses to make its dishes (also known as raw materials inventory).
- Drink inventory: This includes all of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that your restaurant serves.
- Supplies inventory: This includes all of the small items that your restaurant needs, such as straws, napkins, and to-go boxes.
Inventory management is all about knowing what you have in stock, where it is, and how to get more when you need it. While there are many ways to manage inventory and determine sales channels, not every method will be effective for every restaurant.
Now that you know the different types of inventory in a restaurant, let's move on to some inventory management tips and why is inventory management important.
How to manage inventory and orders: Streamlining food inventory and monitoring your inventory level
Food inventory has historically been done manually. The restaurant runs a count of their stock at least once a month and records the results on a spreadsheet or paper. They then order new products based on those numbers and what they expect to sell in the upcoming time period.
As you can imagine, this method is pretty faulty. For one, no one ever knows how much stock you actually have on hand throughout the entire time period between counts. An item or category could sell out much quicker than expected without being noticed.
If you want to streamline your material inventory management, then use an inventory management software system that is designed for restaurants. With this tool, you will be able to manage your restaurant inventory easily and without any surprises.
- What inventory items do you currently have on hand and the cost
- Track of inventory that's used every day
- What inventory has already been ordered
In sum, the system will be beneficial in detecting inventory loss via means such as spills or human error and even uncover future sales patterns. Multi-location inventory management is quite difficult to track manually but with digital inventory management restaurants can easily keep tabs on inventory levels across each store.
Beyond simply managing your inventory digitally there are many best practices that restaurateurs have developed to reduce food waste, order new stock, and manage their stock levels.
Tips for organizing your bar or restaurant
1. Organize your storage.
The first rule of effective inventory management for a business is to organize it. The clear organization allows your employees to complete their tasks faster (they don't have to spend 10 minutes hunting an item down) and really improves inventory accuracy.
In general, you should place frequently used items in the most accessible locations of the fridge and pantry, such as the front of a mid-level shelf. You can use tags on the shelves to help tell employees where everything goes. (Shelf tag bonus: you can also use them to track how much longer an ingredient's shelf life will last. And of course, make sure that newer items go to the back of their shelves so that chefs are using up the older items before they expire.
2. Designate and train a team of stock takers.
Too many cooks in the kitchen are bad for your business and too many inventory managers are bad for inventory management. It's best to run your inventory management software with a few well-trained staff rather than having everyone contribute.
With a specialized team of users, you can be sure that proper inventory management techniques are followed. They'll also be able to get to know the inventory over time and provide helpful gut checks in addition to the software's insights.
3. Use an inventory system that works offline.
It's not uncommon to not have access to Wi-Fi in every area you store inventory in. For instance, walk-in freezers and cellars tend to be dead zones. Because of this, offline inventory management features are crucial.
WISK's offline system, for instance, works whether or not you're connected to the internet. It can run accurate inventory counts and scan your entire inventory offline. And even better, once you have WIFI again, WISK automatically uploads all the work you've just done. No need to remember to submit anything.
4. Use pars.
Par is a word used in inventory management to designate a chosen level that stock gets reordered. At a restaurant, you'll be reordering certain staple ingredients often, like salt. By setting a par, you make it easy to know when an order needs to be placed.
A good inventory formula to figure out what inventory levels will work as pars:
Par = (Weekly Ingredient Use + Cushion Stock)/Deliveries Per
If you don't do weekly deliveries, you can choose another time period. Your cushion stock is the amount of stock you want to have left when you hit par. When it comes to choosing your cushion stock amount, you'll need to consider:
- Possible shipping delays. You may want a larger cushion in the winter when snow storms are common, for instance.
- The ingredient's shelf life.
- Typical customer demand.
Tracking inventory and orders is a tough job for any restaurant, but some inventory tracking software, like WISK, can make it much easier. Wisk can track every single item that reaches its par and automatically reorder for you by demand forecasting based on your sales. When using a par in combination with such a system, you can nearly eliminate stock-outs on your key ingredients.
5. Assign a quality control employee.
In addition to inventory managers, you should also train one or two employees to check orders and track inventory when they arrive. They can ascertain whether the items are of good quality and the correct quantity.
These employees will make sure that the inventory you're taking in is in good shape so you know for sure that any damage or loss that occurs to it happened in your restaurant. They can also update product listings in your inventory management system and even add product images so your inventory takers can take inventory efficiently.
6. Count physical inventory often.
In order to keep your inventory system as up-to-date as possible, it's a good business practice to run a full count of your stock levels at least once a month. You may consider cycle counting throughout the month as well.
Cycle count is a method of perpetual inventory management where a number of chosen items in stock are counted on a set day. This means that you do partial counts over time. For instance, every Monday you count produce, every Tuesday you do a physical count of dry goods, Wednesday is liquor and alcohol, Thursday canned goods, etc. By the end of a certain period of time, you've performed a full count and can start over again. Cycle counts keep your inventory counts up-to-date, but consume less time than counting all your inventory as frequently.
A perpetual inventory management system uses point-of-sale systems to track product sales in real-time. It's a good idea to run your counts at the same time of day on the same day each week. It makes it easier to watch the flow of goods as you can accurately compare usage by time period.
7. Use the FIFO method for inventory costs.
There are many inventory management techniques available. The most recently purchased inventory must always be monitored for an effective production process.
For restaurants, the best method is considered to be the FIFO method. FIFO stands for first in, first out. In this method, it is assumed the items you buy first will also be the first sold. That means, if you purchase Apple 1 on Monday and Apple 2 on Tuesday, you'll give Apple 1 to the first person who orders an apple. Because restaurant inventory has a shelf life, FIFO intuitively fits the kitchen.
FIFO makes it easy for you to know the exact value of your inventory is currently at, as well as the inventory costs for each order. With that information, you can easily keep track of your inventory turnover and profits.
FIFO can seem complicated, but WISK makes it easy to track your cost of inventory, even as items change price over the course of the year.
8. Analyze your sales.
A restaurant may choose not to carry a product if it is unlikely to sell. For example, if an item sells only five times a year and storage fees can be eliminated with decreased inventory, the unprofitability of stocking that product could be determined by tracking the number of times each product is sold during the year.
Having an understanding of your inventory turnover rate is important as it can help indicate how much stock you should have at any one time.
9. Audit your stock.
Inventory management can be a difficult task, and retail businesses use various preventive measures to ensure the right goods are always on hand.
A perpetual inventory system is always up to date, accurate, and can be audited at any time – making them more expensive and requiring more manpower. However, if you cannot justify the expense or extra work required, spot-checking is a good technique that uses a random selection of items to count and extrapolate for the rest of your inventory.
Best tips for restaurant management
10. Consider different inventory management models.
There are several inventory management models available, and the one you choose will likely depend on the size of your restaurant. For example, if you're a small cafe with only a few SKUs, you can get away with using a manual inventory system. But if you're a large chain restaurant with hundreds or even thousands of SKUs, you'll need to invest in an automated inventory management system like Wisk.
11. Determine which type of order quantity to use.
When unit sales decrease, the use of a cost-dependent economic order quantity (EOQ) (such as an EOQ with decreasing order size) can result in an incorrect suggested quantity for some products.
The Min/Max Inventory Order strategy should be considered when the quantity on hand is at or below the minimum. A purchase of a quantity as close to this number minus what is already available will give you enough inventory without running out.
Besides, there are still many situations in which the EOQ will be used to manage products. It is therefore important for both managers and buyers to review the stock systems parameters if industry conditions have changed.
12. Create order processing and fulfilling systems.
Make sure you have effective inventory management systems for processing and fulfilling orders by implementing a set of tasks that need to be completed.
Creating an inventory process map will allow you to see every step or workflow in your inventory program. In particular, check if you have an accurate list of everything that needs to be inventoried. You may also want to make adjustments to any spreadsheet used for inventory management. Ideally, you would use an inventory management software app that adjusts all your data automatically as you take inventory counts.
13. Preventing loss is the best strategy for success.
Inventory loss comes not only from employee theft but also from clerical errors. Loss prevention techniques can be applied such as using security cameras, ensuring employees are monitored for their work performance, and implementing tags so that goods cannot easily go missing. You can also restrict who has access to inventory or high-value inventory such as your wine cellar.
Many restaurateurs may not think managing inventory is a rollicking good time, but it can help ensure customer orders and fulfillment are done on time while minimizing stressful episodes where products can’t be found or prepared for shipment.
14. Forecasting your inventory demand.
One of the most important aspects of managing restaurant inventory is demand forecasting, and this involves predicting your inventory requirements to allocate space accordingly. At the same time, purchasing too much of an item that has high demand isn't advised - but rather it's recommended to purchase 1.5 times as many goods with above-average demand as you use on average.
15. Find an inventory management system that will work for your restaurant.
When is inventory review most appropriate? The frequency of a review will depend on the nature and volume of your business's inventory. To help you figure out which one to go with, here are the pros and cons for each system:
- Continuous Order Systems: To get a handle on inventory rotation, you track the number of items in your stock. Whenever an item drops below a set level, you replenish your stock by ordering that same amount as last time.
- Periodic order system: A periodic inventory system bases orders on the number of items at the end of each period, rather than having a set reorder level.
16. Know what actually sells in your restaurant.
A proven strategy for saving money and maximizing revenue in your restaurant is to ensure that your high-volume items are easy to access. For example, by placing the best-selling wines near the dining area you'll save time taking inventory, know when you need to reorder products, and maximize sales.
17. Link your quality control to your inventory management.
The staff at the store should be given checklists and/or computing systems that they can use to make sure they are following the proper procedures when checking goods. They should look for signs of damage, including leaks, tears, or broken seals; discrepancies in descriptions - product sizes or brands must match the purchase order, and prices and terms of sale.
It's important to have quality products that are up to everyone's standards. If you get a product of lower quality than what was agreed upon, return the merchandise to your supplier and don't offer it in your restaurant. This measure will save space in inventory and keep employees from offering wrong recipes.
Employees should keep light, humidity, and temperature levels for the products in mind. If they meet your quality standards, it is important to consider these factors while ordering merchandise- as if not handled correctly, these items can be damaged.
18. Estimate a budget for inventory.
Many restaurant owners have an annual inventory budget, which they prepare well in advance. Budgets should include the total cost of ownership to keep inventory on hand for that year’s accounting period.
Although there are many things to think about when managing a small business inventory, cash flow management is possibly the most important. This encompasses inventory costs, raw materials, storage costs, carrying charges, logistics prices, and more. Regardless of how amazing your business model might be or how many investors you have backing you up, if you're hoping to make marked improvements in your restaurant then inventory management helps to accomplish this goal.
19. Schedule time to organize the returns.
Mistakes happen in the ordering process. Storing items that were mistakenly ordered, creates unorganized supplies and may result in a possible shortage of space in the kitchen. Setting aside time for an assigned person to organize go-backs will help you stay on top of your inventory and keep your restaurant organized.
Bar and restaurant inventory practices
20. Train all workers in inventory management best practices.
It is impossible to maintain or improve inventory accuracy without involving all of your employees.
It's crucial that you ensure your team members are aware of any changes in company policies and practices, as well as new inventory management technology or systems. The more informed the staff is, the better chance they'll have at making lasting change happen.
21. Cycle counting strategies allow you to keep tabs on your inventory accuracy.
To perform effective inventory control, start with a cycle counting process that should be done every day before receiving orders. Utilize a perpetual inventory software that updates your transaction databases automatically and in real-time, rather than requiring you to manually update them continuously. Accuracy, efficiency, and morale will increase as a result of this practice.
22. Be ready to adapt when using pars levels.
The minimal stock or pars is the smallest amount of safety inventory you're willing to keep on hand before replenishing your supplies. This quantity is never static and should be adjusted when needed.
For example, in seasonal restaurants like pumpkin and beer during the fall season, adjustments for stock levels are made based on the time of year. Adjustments ensure that you never run into stock-outs during your peak seasons. In low seasons you will free up cash flow by holding fewer things in inventory.
Perishable goods can be difficult to manage when it comes to ordering. Try insuring that your minimum and maximum levels are the same. This will lower the chance of carrying deadstock if they aren't used in time. With minimal stocks, more monitoring is required to control them. Decreasing your volume may not be the best solution because you'll end up incurring more inventory cost for shipping and operating your business.
23. Automate and consider using an order tracking system.
Proper ordering systems can save a restaurant many valuable resources, including time and money. Installing an order-tracking system can help streamline the inventory process through automation while enhancing invoicing accuracy, saving time throughout the day, and reducing both monetary and physical costs.
24. In terms of managing your inventory, consider automation options like barcodes.
WISK is a cloud-based inventory system with barcodes that dramatically reduces errors in general. However, it only works if you use the correct codes for different items at each point during the inventory process.
25. Understand your entire supply chain from end to end.
When adding your supply chain with a cloud-based network, it is essential to have access to information in real-time. When trying to react quickly to volatile customer demands and changing market conditions, you rely on phone or email but it does not provide the timely information needed.
When it comes to inventory and orders, a cloud-based supply chain network is essential. That's because it allows you to access real-time information for your restaurant. Implementing effective supply chain management can help you avoid inventory issues, lower costs, and improve customer demand.
26. Evaluate your customer-base feedback
The more you put out, the more you need to rely on your customer base's feedback. It can be anything from positive (i.e. good reviews) or negative (i.e. bad reviews) word of mouth that sparks up interest in your business; it's important to listen closely and be responsive to your customers.
Most importantly, your restaurant's inventory is relying on your patrons. Without them, there wouldn't be any reason to have the product/service you're providing in the first place. The more patrons you get into your establishment and get talking about it with their friends (your future customers), the better off you'll be in the long run.
27. Integrate your inventory management and order fulfillment systems.
36% of retailers increased their customer conversation rate by making sure all sales and service channels integrated with each other. Identify the most significant system within your current ecosystem and seek out platforms to integrate and centralize these processes.
28. Keep inventory and order information up to date.
Forecasting is one of the most important aspects of running a successful restaurant. Creating an inventory management plan such as tracking inventory and products, forecasting customer orders for future events in advance, and managing production are just some examples of how you can manage this area with success!
It has never been more difficult to keep up with inventory stock at a restaurant than it is today. With the current state of technology, more and more people are choosing to order their meals online. This makes it difficult to get an accurate reading of how much inventory a restaurant has on hand at any given time.
If you're still utilizing an outdated inventory system, it's time for an upgrade. Traditional methods like pen and paper or older spreadsheet programs are not only unreliable, but they can also cause issues with your inventory management. This could mean losing business from important customers if they come to purchase something you're out of stock on.
29. Stop using manual inventory monitoring and ordering systems.
Inventory must be constantly monitored, make sure you know what you have in your inventory at all times.
Manual systems simply can't provide the guidance needed to keep track of where all these parts come from and how they're distributed. Manual methods don't allow for a large-scale view of what's going on wherever in your company you need it.
Spreadsheets are prone to human error and quickly become outdated, whereas databases can be programmed to automatically update their data.
Finally, manual inventory systems don’t facilitate communication among all affected parties or allow you to make corrections or adjustments quickly.
Best software tips to use in a restaurant and bar
30. Utilize technology to your advantage.
Implementing warehouse technology will provide more visibility through data for each user, which allows them to track where products are in the supply chain management process.
Plenty of options are available–from barcodes to RFID tags. These new technologies offer levels of increased productivity and improved accuracy.
31. Track inventory in real-time to reduce lost money and food due to inaccurate estimates.
There are different types of inventory management techniques for retailers, and one is to work with real-time inventory tracking. This aids in decision-making about inventory and orders so you can stay ahead of consumer needs.
Your employees will be scanning items out of stock, but will not upload the data until a later time. This means your inventory management system's data will not be in sync with your stocked inventory for that time period.
In order to use real-time tracking, you need a cloud-based restaurant management system, mobile devices to input data, and an internet connection. This way employees scanning items will automatically update information in your restaurant inventory management system more accurately reflecting which raw materials/items you have in stock. This gives your company better visibility into your inventory levels as well as leading everything from forecasting demand all the way up to reporting metrics.
32. To ensure accurate and efficient inventory management, use a central database.
A vital aspect of maintaining your restaurant's inventory includes having a dedicated, centralized database where all changes are stored. This will ensure that everyone has visibility to the modifications and no data will be lost. A good inventory management software like Wisk tracks all inventory changes in real time and can be viewed by authorized personnel.
33. Use an ERP or inventory management system to communicate with key employees.
Don’t treat all of the products in your inventory the same way. Inventory items will have different demands from your customers as well as varying costs and valuation methods.
Not all vendors are equal, though! An efficient way to keep your business ahead of the competition is to streamline your supply chain process with an inventory management system. By investing in a good quality inventory management system, you will be alerted when stock levels are running low and it will automatically generate purchase orders. A comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system will also provide you with sought-after details such as pricing for each SKU, current inventory levels, and estimated lead times.
Data is key in any inventory management system, from knowing which items are more operationally demanding to keeping track of those that come in better quality (such as fresh produce). This allows for a systematic and concise method for warehouse managers - or really anyone else who needs to know this information - rather than relying on the knowledge of one or two people.
34. Use an inventory management system to understand what's really going on
To help you streamline your logistics and supply chain, you need a good inventory management system that gives you complete visibility into stock levels, movement of products, and more.
Restaurateurs have to contend with a wide array of inventory challenges, from keeping too much stock on hand and not enough customers to not buying enough orders. It can be difficult to quantify the best amount of stock to hold at any given time. Businesses that rely on outside sources for their inventory should include a system that would allow them to track inventory stock levels and orders from suppliers in real-time.
35. Eliminate data entry errors by scanning barcodes.
You may have to adjust your inventory management techniques after some planning, but you can't go wrong with checking whether or not you actually have the necessary materials. There are plenty of opportunities for mishaps during order fulfillment and receiving; while production gives rise to yield or scrap that must be accounted for as well.
There are many ways to make sure that you know exactly what's on the shelves of your restaurant at all times, but using EDI and barcode scanning is one of the best. You can implement a system of so-called ‘cycle counting,’ in which you choose a few items per day and compare the inventory record against what’s actually on hand. The first checkpoint should be your most popular products; if something goes out of stock, it should get counted and tracked more often than other less popular items.
36. A simple and accurate data collection system can help you see what your restaurant needs before you run out.
You can start using bar codes with a simple attachment to an iPhone or other mobile device. This doesn’t require a huge investment in infrastructure. These add-on devices cost only a few dollars and eliminate entry errors so inventory accuracy is better.
You can't provide world-class customer service with lousy inventory accuracy. Improve your stats by investing in tools that help you achieve near perfection at a rate of 95% to 98%.
Your inventory is only as good as your data. Inaccurate inventory will lead to inaccurate orders and ultimately, lost revenue for the restaurant.
What inventory management tools are important for your restaurant?
- Barcode scanners (add-on devices)
- Inventory software or inventory apps that integrate with your POS, another point of sale system, or any other enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that you might have. This can be as simple as an inventory app you sync from a cloud-based service like WISK to the Point of Sale system right in the store.
37. Creating a system of both fixed and moveable tracking for inventory can provide all the ingredients needed for success.
The first step in inventory management is to track movable items, but not forget the benefits of fixed tracking systems that can be found by a company.
By tracking fixed inventory assets, you are able to assign and manage destinations much more easily, and arrange strategy protocols as needed without mass confusion. It is better to think of inventory tracking in two different parts: fixed and movable.
The inventory app that you use could be just a simple inventory tracking system, or it can have much more functionality. The most important thing is to establish the inventory levels against your budget and order volumes for optimal planning of inventory.
It might take some time at first in order to get an accurate read on how much product inventory needs are happening throughout the year, but once that baseline has been established, taking care of orders will become easier. There's nothing worse than running out of certain products when customers want them!
A good inventory management software should have features such as automatic stock updates from vendors and suppliers so there are no manual processes involved with inventory data entry mistakes. This creates efficiency between all departments because information flows freely without interruption.
38. SKUs and barcodes go a long way
Every item in your inventory needs its own unique ID (stock-keeping unit), which we call an SKU for short. As you grow, the number of products you carry inevitably increases to potentially hundreds or thousands.
As your business grows, it will need to keep a database of all the items sold in the store. One way you can do this is by assigning each item a unique identification number, like an SKU. This number can then be referenced when ordering or for replacement parts for the kitchen and ensures that only the exact same part is used again.
Additionally, if you are using a partner, make sure to include a UPC barcode with your item so it can be easily scanned and identified.
39. Efficient inventory management process is key.
Not managing your inventory and orders can impact your business’s success in many ways.
An inefficient and poor inventory management system will only result in more frustration and time being wasted on mundane tasks that yield little to no results. In order for an effective warehouse management system, good software should be linked to QuickBooks (and QuickBooks Online). Barcodes or RFID tags are also very useful tools because they allow you to adhere to best practices by using goods at their target point of use as soon as possible. By delegating responsibility for inventory or order-taking you can help save employees' time throughout the day when completing monotonous tasks like counting stock over and again becomes a chore rather than a satisfying valuable job duty.
Tips to save money in a restaurant
40. Utilizing transaction-based movements inventory flow will improve your restaurant's financial efficiency.
Every movement throughout a restaurant should generate transactions so that movements, orders, and inventory can be tracked accurately. Understanding every recipe that's involved with a transaction will empower your staff to stay on top of inventory and customer service.
Every move in your restaurant is an opportunity for mistakes. With inventory or inventory management, mistakes in counting and ordering can have significant negative impacts on your margins.
- There should be a transaction generated from every movement throughout the restaurant, so that movements, orders, supply chain, and inventory can all be accurately tracked.
- Understanding every recipe that's involved with a transaction will empower your staff to stay on top of inventory and customer service.
- If your inventory management is off, it can negatively impact your profits.
41. When forecasting future demand for inventory or orders, you can use several different methods.
Forecasting goes a long way to minimize inventory costs down and ensure successful inventory management efforts. When retailers are able to accurately predict which items they need and the correct economic order quantity, they will be better suited to meet the expectations of their customers without overstocking.
A successful forecast will require careful observation of market research, demand patterns, minimum stock levels, and historical techniques in order to maximize profits.
Economic order quantity (EOQ) calculation is used by companies to determine the ideal size for an order, allowing them to meet demand without overspending. Inventory managers use EOQ in order to reduce holding costs and inventory levels.
42. Make sure your team is checking inventory and ordering supplies in time to reduce the repair cycle.
There are many strategies to manage the consumable supplies a restaurant needs. One such strategy is to find local sources of parts and equipment so it isn't necessary for employees needlessly wait on, say, an obscure item from another country. Another great way to reduce the time required for repairs is by streamlining packing processes. For example, one hour spent packaging will save two hours front-line technicians have wasted fulfilling those requests resulting in a cost savings of up to 50%.
43. Consider reexamining your pars.
Business leaders ask the question, ‘What is the bare minimum level of inventory we should never fall below?’. The answer is zero.
Safety stock is only useful if it is used; its whole point is to protect against expected deviations in supply and demand. If you use your safety stock, you could potentially have an opportunity where there is both a high level of supply and low demand for the product in order to effectively maintain value at all times and when there are business gaps or heavy fluctuations
Your product will be able to serve a more customer-centric market with this improved strategy, which will translate into increased revenues that power future growth. This philosophy can also contribute successfully during periods of shortages.
On average, you should be below the safety stock level half of the time when replenishment is available, and above it the other half. If your strategy for safety stock is not being used enough, reexamine what products are in each location to get more from your inventory dollar.
44. A good strategy is to update purchase orders in a timely manner.
Companies often face the problem of order adjustments after purchase orders have been created. Sometimes you need to change date changes, and quantity adjustments, and account for incomplete deliveries or receiving errors.
The best way to manage inventory at your restaurant is by having purchase orders updated in a timely manner. The problem is that inventory projections rely heavily on the accurate purchase order information, which can create problems like when you think you have two cases of canned corn but find out after the fact that there are three.
To avoid this type of inaccuracy make a set of rules for how purchases should happen and ensure daily processes, weekly processes, and updating at all times, or else it will be hard to have success with your business.
45. To succeed in the restaurant industry, consider a new floor plan.
Many restaurant managers at first are hesitant to make changes to their restaurant's inventory and orders because of the time investment required for a new layout.
Unfortunately, there is often room for adjustments that could boost efficiency. Product preferences and availability are constantly evolving. This means storage changes are often necessary to keep things running as smoothly as possible when managing inventory.
46. Establish and abide by clear labeling practices.
Inventory labeling and organizing go hand-in-hand for a restaurant. Well-organized inventory means staff will be able to quickly find the right section, while well-labeled inventory helps find exactly which material/product in a particular section needs to be found quickly.
Proper company labeling of inventory goes beyond the stock room’s contents and has two parts. Within the stock room, all items need to be labeled with specific details which fully describe their characteristics, as well as any special needs (i.e., expiration dates, hazardous material, packaging requirements).
47. Keep everything labeled.
Assigning only a few tasks to employees is problematic. Not only does the work of one employee entail more responsibility, but it also heightens the chances that they might take shortcuts or trade responsibilities with another employee because there are so few labels in their particular area.
A well-run inventory management process starts with clear and concise labeling. This will save time and frustration for employees across all departments to effectively manage your inventory.
48. Labels and Locations: Label all inventory.
A lack of adequate signage and labeling in a restaurant's stock room can cost you time, labor, and more.
Implementing labeling to industry standards can have a measurable impact on your business. This can also enhance the morale of your restaurant workforce and reduce frustration and lost products.
Labels, and other restaurant supplies like bins, are designed to meet the wide variety of needs in today’s restaurants. But which types do you need for your type of restaurant? To make sure that employees spend less time sorting through products and fulfilling orders, small investments in labeling can help ensure each worker handles the right label for them.
49. Setting the foundation for efficiency by categorizing your assets properly.
The first step to effective inventory management is properly categorizing your company’s assets. By dividing your assets into moveable versus fixed, you can focus on the moves that need to be made and ensure an entire system gets done. Storing all of your information in a central asset database ensures precise control with easy searching and data analysis for optimizing your inventory processes.
50. Seek the experience of senior staff.
Senior leadership should welcome the participation of their lower-level employees in order to come up with new ideas for streamlining warehouse processes.
It might be a waste of time, but it is still important for members of your senior staff to take walks through the stock room floor in order to get an idea of what's going on there.
Collaboration can help to improve communication between the supply chain and restaurant personnel. Collaborating on ways to reduce bottlenecks, duplicated processes, resource issues, and time-saving strategies can produce long-term savings for your restaurant.
Practice your best inventory control with WISK
The best inventory management method and practices need the best tools to support them. WISK Food enables your employees to scan products from a mobile device, both on and offline, for your fastest physical count yet. Plus, WISK's inventory app records are accurate, so you'll always have a good idea of how much stock you actually have.
Prioritize these best practices in inventory and order management, and you'll see your ROI improving, ensuring a thriving business. Try WISK free today to see how much food waste your restaurant can prevent.