Nov 20 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Restaurant Inventory Management

Written by Orderly Marketing

Do you run a restaurant or a bar and find it hard tracking your inventories? You’re not alone. With looming competition in the hotel industry, hoteliers need fast and cost-effective inventory management systems to stay on top.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you need restaurant inventory management software and its benefits.

What Is Inventory Management?

Inventory management is a huge part of keeping any business running smoothly. For businesses like bars and restaurants to keep track of what you’re selling and how much money you’re losing or making.

In order to do that, you need an effective inventory management system in place. It should allow easy tracking of what you’re selling and how much of it.

It’s important to note that good bar or restaurant inventory management is more than just a spreadsheet. Instead, run it through software that’ll allow you to pinpoint problems fast.

What Is Considered Inventory in a Food and Beverage Service?

It’s not uncommon for inventory management processes to include:

  • Dining room supplies including tablecloths and menus
  • Kitchen supplies like utensils and appliances
  • Bar equipment like spirits and glassware
  • Restaurant supplies including cash registers or dishwashers
  • All food items including fresh produce that is not prepared on-site but is available for use in dishes

It’s easy to see how keeping track of all this can become a logistical nightmare without the right software and systems in place.

Like most products, inventory is considered as the goods that are either for sale or already sold. The inventory comprises the food and beverage items prepared but not given to customers in a food and beverage service.

This can be anything from menu items prepped before arriving at the restaurant to beverages made by a bartender or server, then stored until someone delivers them to a patron.

If there’s any practical way to avoid it, don’t count alcoholic beverages for your inventory management. Many people order them with their meal instead of purchasing them directly from the bar.

This isn’t an issue in restaurants where alcohol only makes up 5% or less of total sales. However, any place that sees more than that, bustling bars with bartenders who are working fast to serve the crowd should have an automatic inventory.

What Are Inventory Management Benefits for Restaurants?

There are several benefits of taking inventory in a restaurant. It allows managers and owners to know exactly how much money they’re spending on food and drinks. Remember, this can make or break any business’s financial standing.

There are countless other reasons why managing inventory is suitable for restaurants. They include:

Less Food Loss

The main reason behind restaurant inventory management is to avoid wasting supplies. If your kitchen staff knows the exact count of the ingredients available, you can prevent a lot of excess food from being made or wasted.

One way to do this is by creating an order-and-replenish system where they have to check what is running low and put in an order for more before making more of that particular dish.

Lower Cost of Goods

If you’re not going through supplies quickly, you can lower your investment costs by buying whatever ingredients you need in larger quantities. Not only will the price be lower per unit because it’s a larger amount, but most vendors offer discounts when you buy in bulk.

Better Vendor Management

Vendors are a restaurant’s lifeline when it comes to keeping on hand. If you consistently use their services, you’re going to want to make sure they like and trust you as a valued customer.

They’ll help if you run into issues with your restaurant’s inventory system. Besides, they offer other benefits not available through everyday transactions.

Automatic Inventory Supply

When you track every item and place the right order-and-replenish plan, restocking items should happen automatically. There won’t be any excess stock left over. It also saves on time spent taking stock and balancing what you have against the initial supply.

Increased Profits

Using an automated system for ordering goods also increases profits. It uses fewer excess materials than having an open bar with random beverages produced throughout the day. Using an automated supply system can prevent waste, which is excellent for your bottom line.

The system is conscious of the available products and helps you order what you need without spending more on unwanted stock.

How Do Restaurants Take Inventory?

Inside a restaurant’s inventory, many components need to be accounted for.

First, you have the food, both raw and cooked. You also have the kitchen equipment needed to make other dishes out of those ingredients, the necessary supplies like cutlery, condiments, and napkins.

Finally, any beverages served by staff or other drinks leftover in storage.

How often you take the inventory depends on a restaurant’s size and turnover rates. If you’re constantly using supplies, you need to take stock more frequently than once a month.

Restaurant Inventory Management Tips

Nothing scares restaurant owners than taking inventories. Luckily, the use of inventory management software now makes it easy to carry out these tasks. Here are some free restaurant inventory management tips:

Create a System for Taking Inventory

One of the most remarkable ingredients a restaurant has is knowledge. And that’s something you can’t afford to be missing out on in your inventory management.

Since every establishment has different foods and drinks, there’s not one standard way to take inventory. Therefore, don’t try copying another manager or restaurateur without first figuring out what will work best for you.

Find the Right Software for Your Business

The best place for information about your stock is inside your POS. Yet, they don’t always offer this type of functionality. That’s where our Orderly inventory management software comes in handy. It allows owners and managers to track every single aspect of their inventory, no matter how big or small.

Take Advantage of Necessary Discounts

Using these programs to streamline your processes ensures that you’re getting the best possible rates from vendors. Sometimes, there are specific discounts that restaurants don’t take advantage of. This is because they either never knew about it or didn’t have a way to track offers available in a specific market.

Check on our offers from time to time. You might be surprised by the number of discounts and offers that appear once in a while.

Keep a Close Eye on Spoilage and Expiration Dates

Every time you buy something new for your kitchen or bar, be sure to check for spoilage. This way, you’ll know when it’s time to order more.

Proper inventory management should also include making sure vendors are aware of items that are about to expire. It ensures you don’t have surprises on your bill at the end of the month.

Don’t Overstock Your Shelves

Having too much stock in one place is just as bad for business as having none available. Thus, you’ll need to find a good balance between under-stocking and over-stocking because both equate to wasted resources.

Monitor Your Restaurant’s Safety Stocks Closely Using an Automated System

Knowing how much of each item should be stocked only calculates part of the picture when you’re taking inventory. At some point, you’ll also need to know how many of those items are on your shelves.

It’s essential to streamline and automate as many parts of your inventory management as possible. This way, you won’t have to check for this information manually.

Strike Up a Chat With Fellow Restaurateurs

Although there might not have been some camaraderie between restaurant owners, they’re all figuring out how to keep their businesses afloat. As such, they’ll be more than happy to share tips and techniques if they believe they’ll help your business grow.

Choosing Bar and Restaurant Inventory Management Software

While most businesses, including restaurants, would benefit from using restaurant inventory management software, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting the right solution.

First, make sure it’s easy for your staff to use. It should be intuitive and user-friendly with an attractive interface that makes data entry a breeze.

Second, confirm technical support is available during business hours because unexpected glitches will inevitably happen at some point.

Finally, confirm the vendor offers training programs to walk you through all the features and how to implement them in everyday use. This is going to save you time down the road.

It doesn’t matter what kind of food or beverage service you operate. If your goal is to maintain profitability and stay ahead of your competition, you’ll need to use restaurant inventory management software.

Fortunately, the benefits are nearly endless, and it’s not as complicated or time-consuming as most people assume.

Get the Best Restaurant Inventory Management Today

Are you looking for a way to reduce wastes, increase efficiency and profits in your restaurant business? If you’re ready to start taking steps towards success with a streamlined system that works in real life, get an affordable restaurant management solution today.

Our Orderly restaurant inventory management software is an awarding inventory solution that’s efficient and easy to handle. It provides excellent results and shortens the time spent working out your stock. Contact us for the best software for restaurant inventory today.