Food Inventory Management- Everything You Need to Know

There’s a lot that goes into running a successful restaurant. A unique theme, stellar ambiance, dedicated staff, and so on. But one of the most important game-changers that determine a restaurant’s performance is effective inventory management.

Anyone who owns a restaurant has a fixed goal- to ensure that customers love the food and service they’re provided with. After all, there’s nothing like hearing content sighs and high praise for a meal. And to offer this experience to your customers, it’s of utmost importance that you have an efficient food inventory management system in place. In this article, we’re going to tell you about the importance of food inventory management and how you can reduce wastage in your restaurant. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What is Food Inventory Management? 

Essentially, food inventory management means having a system in place to track all the stock that comes in and goes out of your restaurant. This means all the shipments of fresh ingredients, oils, spices, and other various items you receive from time to time. With an effective food inventory system, you should be able to determine at any point of time just exactly how much stock you have in your kitchen, how much is extra, what quantity you need to order next time, and much more. 

food inventory

Having a foolproof food inventory management system in place can do wonders in helping you manage your finances better. You can find out where you’re losing money, which ingredients aren’t being utilized optimally, any stock you can cut out, and more. With all the data right in front of you, you can make the necessary changes in order to improve your business and make your restaurant achieve higher profits. You get to map out more competent strategies and ultimately increase your revenue. 

How to Reduce Wastage 

Now that you’re aware of the importance of having a food inventory management system we have some tips for you to implement food inventory management at your restaurant. The goal at hand is to reduce wastage- and this can be done in a number of ways.

Get your staff involved

As a restaurant owner, you probably already know how important food inventory management is. Now, it is time to get your staff on board. First, discuss the present system you have with them. Next, talk to them about what works and what doesn’t work. Chalk up new ideas to reduce daily wastage. Finally, design a system for your restaurant that handles food inventory management effectively. Make your staff feel included and implement the tips and ideas that they come up with. Additionally, make sure you get across the point that a good food inventory management system can bring about a massive difference in making your restaurant more successful, and ultimately bring about higher revenues.

Invest in a food inventory management software

Calculating the amount of stock that comes into your restaurant and how much is used daily can be quite a challenging task. And making errors in your calculation can lead to major losses. So, the best way to tackle this problem is to invest in software to manage your food inventory for you. The right kind of software can automate your purchases entirely and give alerts on when a certain item reaches the reorder level. Instead of constantly checking your inventory, you can access all the data with ease and spend your time creating and implementing strategies to run your business better.

Assign roles

After you’ve met with your staff and discussed the need for an effective food inventory management system, you should select a number of employees (depending on how large your daily operations are) to be in charge of running the system smoothly. You need to select people who can lead by example and keep things in check. They also need to be observant and analytical, in order to be able to come up with ideas to make your restaurant run more smoothly. If you have a food inventory management system software in place already, ensure that your employees are well-versed in how to use it.

Calculate how much safety stock you need

Keeping some stock in place for an emergency such as a food shortage or a super busy weekend is always a good idea. But it’s important not to overdo it either. Keeping excess stock can lead to higher wastage and take up precious space. So, find out the exact amount of safety stock that you think is necessary for your restaurant, which will vary from ingredient to ingredient. Make sure you don’t hold on to perishables or anything that can go bad easily.

inventory food restaurant

Cleanliness is key

Keeping your kitchen, dining space and storage areas neat and tidy has a huge impact on minimizing wastage. The kitchen area should be scrubbed clean every day and there needs to be a clear waste management system in place. The dining space should have a fixed number of tissues and cutlery throughout the day. Your storage area should have all ingredients in clear view with everything categorized and labeled as neatly as possible, allowing quick and easy access for your employees.

Have an effective menu in place

A well-drawn out menu can make a huge difference in minimizing wastage in a restaurant. Having a variety of different dishes that have a common ingredient is one of the best ways to reduce costs and make more optimum utilization of resources. For instance, using peri peri spice only with fries can get a little bit pricey. Instead, design your menu in such a way that you offer more dishes that use peri peri spice- burgers, pizza, pasta, and so on. This is more cost-effective. Try to use ingredients that aren’t limited to just one or two dishes.

Have regular stock checks

Depending on the footfall in your restaurant, you need to have regular stock checks. This could be once a week, once in a fortnight, or even once a month. Calculate how much stock you have on hand. Check if there are any expired or spoilt products that need to be replaced. Keep your inventory at an optimal level.

Set a reorder level for all stock

Once you’ve done a couple of stock checks, you are going to end up with a rough idea about a possible reorder level. What this means is you need to pick a certain quantity of each ingredient in your inventory, and once you reach this quantity, it is time to order more. This reorder level is different for each ingredient. For instance, it could be two dozen eggs or eight bottles of mustard sauce. Establishing an appropriate reorder level ensures that you never run out of stock for your kitchen. 

Summing Up 

Having a reliable and competent food inventory management system is often the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful restaurant. If you work hard to create a system that works for you, you are bound to have better performance and derive higher profits. 

Good luck!

Sakshi Trehan

Sakshi Trehan

Sakshi Trehan is a content writer at LimeTray. She loves reading a good book while sipping equally good coffee. She can often be found listening to music by Norah Jones or A.R. Rahman