Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP’s Retail, Franchising and Hospitality group
Inventory management may not be the most glamorous part of owning a restaurant, but it is crucial to your bottom line. After labor costs, food is typically the highest cost for restaurants. You need to be in control of your inventory. So what can you do to improve your inventory management? Here are a few tips:
Take inventory on a weekly basis. Knowing your weekly food costs will allow you to keep a tighter rein over your inventory and maximize your profitability. Sunday is often a natural day to take inventory as the week winds down, so consider budgeting time on Sunday to take stock of your supplies.
Organize your restaurant. You’ll minimize the amount of time you need to take inventory if your restaurant is more organized. Make sure everything is clean and neat, with products clearly visible or labeled. If you’re using a spreadsheet, you can match your spreadsheet to your organization scheme, which will eliminate time spent searching for the correct field. Be sure to pay attention to what happens after you take inventory as well; if someone moves a product out of an area you’ve already counted, you could end up double-counting it.
Prioritize your inventory. If you’re crunched for time, focus on the crucial items for your restaurant. You should know which of your items generate the most demand, so inventory those first. You may even want to inventory those “priority” items each day to help you keep better track and ensure that you never run out of a popular menu item.
Use two people. Not only does having two people make taking inventory go faster (since one person can count and the other can record), but having a second person serves as a back-up set of eyes. You’ll be more confident that nothing was overlooked, which in turn means you can be more confident in your projections.
Investigate any significant variance in your inventory. It’s true that variance is an expected part of the restaurant business. After all, you may have a new cook training or an employee may accidentally drop a tray of food. But significant deviations from your expected usage may indicate an underlying problem, and you should always keep a wary eye. Make sure you’re benchmarking each new week against the previous weeks and find out why any large variation exists.
Looking for more ways to increase the efficiency of your inventory management? Contact Sheldon Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more tips.