Save Money & Mother Earth: How To Improve Your Restaurant’s Inventory Management System

If you run a restaurant, you know it’s all about inventory— Not only do you need to know what to order, how much, and when but you also have to face the sobering consequences of spoilage: money down the drain and damage to our planet’s precious resources.

On the surface, smart inventory management may seem as simple as balancing supply with customer demand and using space efficiently.

Whether you want to decrease your restaurant’s carbon footprint or just want to raise its bottom line, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to reinvent your approach to inventory management and start saving money, time, and Mother Earth.

Before we begin, let’s define inventory in terms of a restaurant:

  • Food & Spices

  • Dry Goods

  • Liquor & Other Beverages

  • Kitchen Equipment

  • Linens & Uniforms

Ok, now that that’s squared away, let’s find out how your business and home planet can benefit from better inventory management practices.

  • Benefits of Better Inventory Management:

Restaurants are more likely to find long-term success if they manage their inventory insightfully and skillfully— Here’s why:

  • Minimize Food Loss

One-third of the world’s food production is lost or wasted before it even reaches the shelves. From there, up to 10% of food bought by restaurants goes to waste before it can be served to their customers. 

Not only are mouths going hungry while we throw sources of nourishment in the trash but an immense amount of carbon dioxide is let off into the atmosphere when we don’t use our best inventory management practices.

  • Cut Costs & Increase Profit

When a restaurant’s waste goes down, its profits go up. Consistently throwing away fewer stock items means less will need to be ordered—all while the same amount of food is being served to customers.

  • Automate Manual Processes

                     In addition to saving on time and labor, automating manual inventory processes with the help of tools like the best demand forecasting software leads to more insightful planning. While some steps still need to be done manually, like scanning barcodes, others are better executed by software, like barcode software. This will result in more effortless inventory replenishment in more appropriate amounts. Plus, it's simply much easier for your team! This will result in more effortless inventory replenishment in more appropriate amounts.

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction 

Balancing inventory goes both ways— Not only will you have less food waste, but you won’t have to deal with angry customers when you try to cut down. Instead, your inventory will fit your demand more accurately.

  • Clearer Communication With Vendors

When you know exactly what to order, you will be able to communicate more clearly with vendors. This will help to avoid confusion and aid in fostering a successful ingredient delivery system.

  • Best Practices for the Planet & Your Bottom Line:

Now that you know why it’s a good idea to improve your inventory management practices, it’s time to learn how

  • Minimize Stock — Forecast with Software

A run-of-the-mill POS system can only give you a vague idea about what stock you will need in the coming weeks. By employing more advanced business software solutions to forecast your inventory, you’ll get a more accurate picture of your upcoming demand and the cheapest ways to fulfill it.

  • Organize Efficiently — Follow FEFO 

The first expiring, first out method, otherwise known as FEFO, is easy for employees to remember and is an effective way to minimize food loss. When coupled with savvy organization and labeling, it can be a game-changer in cutting down on the wastage of your precious stock.

  • Stay Consistent — Staff & Schedules

During manual processes, it is important to minimize errors and inconsistencies. By keeping to a strict schedule and assigning inventory-related tasks to the same staff members every time, you can get rid of a large margin of error and provide more accurate numbers to your planning system.

  • Train Accountability — Track Activity 

Train all employees to be accountable when it comes to inventory and track their activity to prevent theft and negligence. To start, explain to them exactly how you plan to keep track of inventory items and show them how to be part of the solution. Then, permit your managers to view all reports associated with inventory-related employee activities.

  • Engineer Menu — Automate Reordering

Analyzing the popularity of each menu item, as well as its recipe, can help you hone in on all possibilities to cut inventory costs without sacrificing customer satisfaction. After you pinpoint your best options and know exactly what to order, automate the reordering process so more stock rolls in exactly when it needs to. 

  • Track Marketing — Examine Trends

A marketing agency that supplies hearty analytics can do a world of good for your inventory control. They can promote dishes that include ingredients you need to sell quickly, as well as examine trends about what parts of your website and ads are getting the most clicks. In a nutshell, this allows you to prevent wastage through promotions and prepare to fulfill future orders.

It doesn’t matter what kind of restaurant you run— Manage your inventory better with these tactics, and both your bottom line and the environment will benefit. Whether you run a fast food restaurant near a rural interstate off-ramp or an upscale Argentine steakhouse near Salt Lake City, improving your inventory management is both possible and profitable.

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