One of the main challenges of managing a restaurant is ensuring all costs are accounted for.
With that said, food wastage is where you can easily slip through the cracks. As a 2018 study by Restaurant Hospitality shows, industry waste adds up to around $25 billion every year.
In order to make the most of your stock and minimise food costs, you need to ensure inventory management is a fundamental practice in your restaurant or cafe. Not only does it let you keep track of stock, but it also reduces food wastage day to day.
Here are a handful of tips to stay on top of your inventory management:
Organisation is non-negotiable in inventory management. Throughout all your storage areas, ensure that all stock is dated and labelled – whether it be your walk-in refrigerator, meat freezer, liquor cabinet or dry storage. To make things more uniform, you can remove the original packaging and choose to store your stock in similar containers.
First In, First Out (FIFO)
FIFO stands for ‘First In, First Out’ and is the go-to system for storing and rotating your stock. This revolves around the principle of using ingredients received first. By regularly checking best-before dates and expiry dates, you can move older stock to the front of your shelves and dispose of any spoilt food.
Invest In An Inventory Management Program
There’s no denying how time-consuming inventory management can be, but a comprehensive and efficient system makes all the difference. Therefore, the program you opt for should be easy to use – and if possible, able to integrated with your point-of-sale system. This way, you can arrive at more accurate sales reports and get a better idea of stock that needs to be used or ordered.
The Weekly Vs Monthly Approach
Being proactive about your inventory management is key. That’s why we advocate tracking your food inventory using a weekly schedule. This ensures that inconsistencies can be spotted more quickly to be rectified as soon as possible. On the other hand, doing so on a monthly basis could mean months and months could go by before any mistakes are discovered. By the time they’re noticed, you would’ve already wasted a substantial amount of food, and therefore, funds.
Gather Insights For Future Orders
When filling out your food waste inventory sheet, be sure to include why and when specific items were disposed of. This information, combined with stock outages, will help you notice patterns to consider in your next order. By knowing which ingredients you’ll need to order more or less of, you can make better decisions as a restaurant or cafe owner.
Maintain A Team-Wide Effort
Lastly, what good is a system without anyone adhering to it? When training line cooks and back-of-house staff, inventory management should be a common procedure. At the very least, your team should note down food spoilages, spills, ordering errors, staff meals and other factors to report to management at the end of every shift.
For more tips and advice on running your food business effectively, check out our blog here!