The management of produce, products and suppliers is not the most popular of tasks, especially in the hospitality industry. Managing the quick turnover of foodstuff, finding the most cost-effective and efficient supplier, and minimising wastage can be a time-consuming task.

However tedious it might seem, inventory management is crucial for the controlling of food costs and the profitability of any restaurant. There are many downsides to not having a proper inventory management system in place that can negatively affect ROI.

Here are five ways in which you can help simplify and optimise inventory management:

1. Use the data captured by a Point of Sale system

The first and most crucial aspect to ensure that an inventory management system functions optimally is to invest in a Point of Sale (PoS) solution that tracks the movement of products throughout the establishment. Using a spreadsheet or manually capturing data is not only an outdated approach to inventory management, but also allows for human error and has no intuitive capabilities.

A PoS system captures valuable customer data in terms of what and how they order. This can help optimise the ordering of stock to effectively minimise wastage and improve the selection and management of suppliers.

2. Beware of overstocking

Buying additional stock just in case there’s a shortage is a big no-no and could have serious implications for the cash flow of any establishment. When most of the supplies that form part of your inventory consist of fresh produce, you run the risk of wastage if you don’t consume it before its use-by date. Accurately tracking stock through a PoS system can assist in the effective forecasting of supply needs so there’s enough produce on hand at any given time while the least amount of fresh products go to waste.

3. Take inventory frequently

Stock counting is viewed as a dreaded task by most. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the more frequently you tackle this, the better control you’ll have of your inventory, reducing the chances of a shortage and of produce going off. Frequent inventory checks give you a clear indication of what products run out faster so you can set up a reordering process with suppliers and establish what items need to be prioritised.

4. Make one person in charge of inventory control

The saying, “too many cooks spoil the broth”, is applicable to inventory management. Just one person should be tasked with taking care of stock levels – someone with the skills to deal with figures and suppliers. In this way, there’s a single go-to person with overall knowledge of exactly where stock levels are at and who can effectively do the forecasting. This helps minimise the risk of conflicting figures

5. Create an order form for each category

You want to simplify the inventory management process as much as possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is by getting the administration of stock control in order.

Creating categories for similar stock items and monitoring these levels and suppliers minimises the effort needed to manage ordering. For instance, all vegetables and other perishable items can go into a fresh produce category, utensils and other dishware items into another while cleaning products – which usually have a longer lifespan – can be grouped together.

Automation can help to simplify the inventory management process. Pilot’s Point of Sale software assists with monitoring stock levels and our intuitive PilotLive business analytics allows for effective forecasting based on the correlation of valuable customer and restaurant data.

To find out how our PoS system can assist in the management of other restaurant processes, download our Guide to Modern-day Point of Sale.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst