Effective inventory management is important for any small business. But for a restaurant, where nearly everything you buy and sell comes with an expiration date, it’s absolutely crucial. If your idea of inventory management is eyeballing your walk-in before you close up for the night, read on. These tricks and tips will help you bring your restaurant’s inventory management system into the 21st century.
The restaurant business comes with plenty of unique challenges, but good inventory management starts with the basics: keeping things organized, training your employees well, pricing products effectively, and choosing the best possible vendors.
- Keep your storage spaces impeccably organized so you can find things faster.
- Move beyond the clipboard with modern inventory management apps.
- Minimize costly mistakes by streamlining communication between front-of-house and back-of-house.
- Price your menu to boost sales—and your bottom line.
- Build good relationships with local farmers.
Keep costs down
Some things are out of your control as a restaurant owner. A freak snowstorm or E coli outbreak can throw even the best plans out the window. So control what you can—starting with how much you pay for your supplies.
- Know how to negotiate a better deal from your suppliers.
- Consider a purchasing collective if you only need a small amount of some products.
- Written recipes and careful portion control can help keep costs under control.
- Let front-of-house staff know when to push specific items.
Reduce food waste and spoilage
The amount of food wasted in the United States is staggering—an estimated 30 to 40% of the total food supply. That’s a massive sustainability crisis, a wasted opportunity to feed the hungry, and a huge waste of money if you’re the one buying all that food. Cutting food waste is a great opportunity to make your business stronger and more sustainable at the same time.
- Make sure you move perishable product quickly.
- Store products properly to slow spoilage.
- Get creative and create a new dish from yesterday’s leftovers.
- You’ve heard of farm-to-table; why not try root-to-stalk?
- Design your menu with an eye to waste reduction.
- Align your business with a great cause and donate leftover food.
Have a plan for slow nights (and weeks)
Whether it’s every Monday or every August, most restaurants deal with slow nights. They can be murder on your bottom line and can disrupt even the best inventory management plans. Strategize to find the best ways to fill those seats and move that product.
- Reach out to locals on nights when the weather is bad or tourist traffic is slower.
- Optimize your menu for slower foot traffic by purchasing fewer highly perishable items.
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.