Your food inventory affects all areas of your restaurant business, and you have to manage it carefully if you want to succeed. We are past the days of walking into your cooler or behind the bar and hand-counting your stock. Inventory management is more than just knowing what you have on hand at the moment; it’s about tracking what goes in and what goes out so you can plan accordingly, reduce waste, and maximize profits.
Restaurant inventory management software that works with your point of sale (POS) system to control your food inventory is a complete game-changer. Here are some of the major benefits:
- Monitor Stock Levels
Keeping a close eye on stock levels can help you see where your ingredients are going and whether you’re using them at the expected rate. That information will not only assist you with purchasing decisions but also alert you to potential losses. Restaurant inventory management software can automatically check your stock at the beginning and end of each day, and compare it with your POS data. A variance of 2% to5% is normal (due to spills or wrong orders here and there). But if you’re coming up shorter than that, you have a problem. According to data from the National Restaurant Association, employee theft accounts for 75% of inventory shortages, and it can cost QSRs up to 7% of their revenue. Some of this theft occurs in areas besides food (alcohol, cash, even supplies); but tighter stock level monitoring can help reduce loss from food theft.
- Cost Recipes
When recipes are entered into your restaurant inventory management software, the program can calculate how long your current stock of ingredients should last. This information will help with purchasing decisions, and you can even set up alerts to remind you to reorder when supplies reach a certain level. Reduce your risk of running out of something, which can result in disappointed customers and lost business.
The software can also use recipe information to estimate the food cost of a particular dish. When you know how much it will cost you to make that Crab Rangoon or Triple Chocolate Cake, you can set menu prices accordingly.
- Control Spoilage
Restaurant inventory management software can also help you monitor the shelf life of your ingredients. There will inevitably be some spoilage, but you want to minimize that waste and lost revenue as much as possible. The software will track expiration dates and notify you when an item has exceeded (or is about to exceed) its usage period. When you track spoilage amounts, you can adjust your purchasing levels to keep the right amount of an item to fill demand, but not so much that it doesn’t all get used in time.
The Advantages of Data without the Disadvantages of Taking Inventory
Owners may balk at the thought of taking inventory, because manual processes are tedious, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and error-prone. But restaurant inventory management software removes many of the headaches through automation, and it provides a wealth of useful information. It can help you maintain optimal levels of stock and ensure those materials are being put to best use, reducing waste and theft and ultimately boosting your profits.