Controlling restaurant kitchen inventory is key to good restaurant management and can help avoid wasting food and space. When it comes to your livelihood, any gap in inventory is more than just trouble – it could hurt your ability to make a profit. Food waste and inefficiency are two of the biggest obstacles that could prevent you from being successful, and the way you manage your inventory plays a critical role in avoiding them.
Read on to learn some tips on how you can improve your inventory management process.
Why inventory management is important
No matter what type of business you find yourself in, inventory management is essential. Good management of your materials means that the risk of deterioration or waste is greatly reduced. For example, some products that sell more slowly may be restocked less frequently, preventing you from overspending. It also helps your business maintain better relationships with your suppliers and vendors. Customer service can also be affected by this practice as it can help ensure that some popular items never run out of stock.
Focus on the organization
Many times food is wasted simply because your staff don’t know where to find it until it is past its peak. Making sure your storage areas are well organized is one of the best ways to avoid this waste.
Your organization’s strategy should include labeling each item in your pantry, as well as designating specific areas for different categories of items. When you make sure there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, there is less chance of a food being forgotten and left to rot.
Take a âfirst in, first outâ approach
Preventing spoilage also means knowing the expiration dates of each ingredient in your warehouse or freezer. Think of it this way: items that arrive early should be used first.
However, given the sheer volume of mailings you receive on a daily basis, tracking expiration dates can get confusing in a hurry. That’s why it’s important to train your staff in proper unloading techniques, including placing new shipments behind or below older ones.
Focus on training
No matter what initiative you try to put in place, it won’t make a difference unless your team understands it and executes it. One of the pillars of your inventory management should be training all of your staff to follow protocols.
If, for example, your managers don’t provide full inventory reports at the end of their shifts, they’re leaving a confusing mess for the next shift to unravel. This slows down your processes and opens the door to costly mistakes. Proper training and strengthening your procedures can help prevent these and other embarrassing oversights from becoming standard operating procedures.
Planning for emergencies
The desire for greater efficiency drives many restaurants to have only the stock they need at any given time. While this certainly makes very efficient use of the available space, it does not take into account disruptions in the supply chain.
Despite advancements in technology and logistics practices, missed shipments still occur from time to time for a variety of reasons. This is why having a little more inventory than you need at any given time can be a good idea. Strategic overstocking can help you avoid embarrassment when customers request an item and you don’t have what you need to prepare it.
When it comes to cooking and running a restaurant, preparation is the key to success. Proper management of your warehouse and cooler can help keep your internal operations running smoothly. Follow these tips and you can serve your guests without worrying about your inventory.