How to streamline your restaurant inventory

Your restaurant inventory needs to be accurate and consistent to realise your full revenue picture.

Inventory tracking means finding out exactly what comes into your restaurant, what leaves your kitchen, and what’s left over. You also need to take account of areas of loss such as spillage, employee mistakes, remedying customer complaints, staff meals and theft. You must know what has been wasted to determine your true earnings.

You should know the following terms:

Sitting inventory – how much product you have in house, rendered in pounds worth or physical amount.

Depletion – how much product is used in a set time frame.

Usage – the physical amount (or pounds worth) of sitting inventory divided by the average depletion in a given timeframe.

Variance – the difference between your product’s cost and the usage amount cost.

Here are some ways to track your restaurant inventory:

Image Credit

Automated inventory management

The most accurate way to monitor your restaurant inventory is via your point of sale system. Inventory management software keeps track of your actual usage compared with theoretical usage for a clearer picture. Cloud-based software can take the headache out of inventory paperwork and map your spending.

Par inventory sheets

A par inventory sheet is used to manage your inventory by type of food or food supplier. Owners set levels of what proportion of a certain staple they want in house, which is also called a par level. These sheets can act as a guide for ordering.

Winging it

Some restaurants order inventory based on their instincts or a quick view of the stores. They need to rethink their strategy, as this is not a legitimate plan.

Tips for managing your restaurant inventory

More than one employee should take responsibility for inventory management. Communication is key across all levels – while managers monitor inventory, your cooks and back-of-house employees should be noting errors, spillage and rotten food.

Best practice is to track restaurant sales daily. You can respond to changes by the minute, enabling you to make timely adjustments.

When taking inventory, you may have walk in cold rooms from a supplier such as

‘Just in case’ inventory

Keep extra supplies of inventory items that tend to go fast. Should an emergency occur, you can satisfy customers and fulfil orders.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *