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Restaurant Inventory Basics 101

Restaurant Inventory Basics 101

The words “take inventory” are enough to make your staff cringe and run off in 30 different directions.  

You’ve tried getting your staff to do it and it doesn’t go well. They fudge numbers and are very inconsistent. 

Instead, you’ve tried to do it yourself, but every time you pick up the pen and clipboard, there are a dozen fires to put out.  

Yet, somehow, you get by for now. 

Why Inventory Matters

Why Restaurant Inventory Matters

Inventory management for a restaurant can be a cross between gibberish and long division. In fact, it’s such a pain that the task can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list, where it sits unchecked for the week. Then weeks turn into months. 

I don’t need to explain why taking inventory is important. You know it’s important. 

Your inventory is one of the biggest assets of your restaurant. You should always know how much of it you have, and how much it’s all worth.  

It’s also a way to help keep your costs down, avoid any food waste, spoilage, theft and allows you to know when you are running low on product and when you have an excess. 

Why Your Current Inventory Process is Garbage

Why Should My Current Restaurant Inventory Process Be Ditched?

I remember my old restaurant days. Sunday night was our designated inventory day. The kitchen team would break up the inventory list so we could get through it quicker. I’d take the walk-in; Jenny took dry goods; Ben took the alcohol closet; we all rushed to count what was on the shelves and filled in our spreadsheets. 

Needless to say, the problem with our inventory process was immediately clear. 

Nothing ever lined up correctly. 

Big ticket items were always being counted lower than expected, and out of nowhere someone would stumble upon three 50 lb bags of AP flour. 

Our kitchen was a disorganized mess. Items were spread out EVERYWHERE, making counting them extremely difficult. 

Lemons? They could be found in the bar area, walk-in fridge, and even dry storage. 

See that case of avocados over there?  I would count it as half a case. Jenny would count it as half a case half the time and two-thirds the rest of the times and Ben walked right by it just trying to get out of the restaurant before midnight. Counting discrepancies were unavoidable. 

At the end of the day, we were spending so much time taking inventory and the information we received was still wrong. 

By the time we got our Cost of Goods Sold and inventory for May it was the second week of June. We were always reacting on old information instead of course-correcting immediately. 

There had to be a better way. 

Enter Food Cost Management

Enter Back Office Food Cost Management Software

The solution to this inventory problem is to implement a system that transcends the variability of your staff, doesn’t require hours of work on your end and gives you up-to-date reporting so that you can make decisions today before you have a problem tomorrow. 

Back Office simulates an inventory and backs into your weekly Cost of Goods Sold without you having to count a single product! No more relying on Ben and Jenny to take inventory! 

By simply snapping photos of invoices and entering POS sales data, you will receive weekly Cost of Goods Sold, highlighting where potential problems may be costing you! 

Prefer to take a physical inventory? Back Office has you covered! 

Easily set up your inventory by using Back Office’s categories OR build custom “shelf to sheet” inventory lists. Milk lives in the walk-in, flour in Dry Storage, you get the idea. 

As you count, on hand dollar amounts will be automatically calculated and beginning and ending inventories will show you exactly what you went through over a given period. 

Back Office will continue working for you, whether your team has hours to spend counting inventory this week or they need to rely on our auto-COGS next week. 

Rising prices of ingredients, over-ordering and product waste can all lead to a high food cost. 

Knowing that you have a high food cost is one thing. Identifying why your food cost is high is like finding a needle in a haystack. Back Office is going to help you shrink that haystack, so you can easily find the needle and the culprit for your rising food costs. 

Would you rather spend 5 hours a week counting inventory or 5 minutes a day in Back Office? 

Schedule a demo with our Back Office experts!