Common Restaurant Inventory Mistakes to Avoid

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Everything in a dining establishment costs money. From the fancy restaurant furniture in the front of the house to the commercial restaurant equipment in the back, there are just some things that an eatery cannot do without. These one-time purchases, however, aren’t that detrimental in the grand scheme of things. Where a restaurateur can really lose money is their inventory. The simplest of errors can be costly in this area, so here are the most common restaurant inventory mistakes to avoid.

Lack of Restaurant Inventory Tracking
Far too many restaurateurs only deal with their inventory when it arrives and when it needs to be replenished. Unfortunately, this creates the possibility that some stock is being stolen, getting lost, going bad or simply being overused due to wrong portion sizes. In any of these cases, the lack of a functioning tracking system can prove costly.

This isn’t to say that a server or back-of-house employee has to mark down every single thing they bring from the back. Instead, it’s simply important for owners to perform periodic inventory checks and compare the results to what was actually used.

In the end, this can end up saving money so the occupants of the restaurant furniture out front don’t have to see increasing prices.

Unqualified Inventory Checkers
A restaurateur wouldn’t likely allow just any employee to check that all of the eatery’s new café chairs arrived, so why do so many trust unqualified employees to handle inventory? There are plenty of aspects of running a restaurant that an owner can allow others to do, but inventory tracking isn’t one that should simply be pawned off.

If the owner cannot handle it themselves, they should pass the responsibility to a trusted manager with inventory experience. This leaves servers the ability to do what they are good at: tending to people occupying the restaurant furniture.

Improper Forecasting
Ordering too much of an item can result in spoilage, and ordering too little can result in running out of necessary ingredients during a dinner rush. This is why proper inventory forecasting is essential, but it’s one of the main areas where restaurateurs drop the ball.

Utilizing data from previous weeks, holidays and especially years can prove useful when forecasting how much needs to be ordered. There are even point of sale systems that integrate inventory management into their software. It takes the manual tasks of reviewing order history and sales reports and makes them automatic and simple.

Ineffective Relationships with Vendors
Culinary experts rarely think of their restaurant suppliers until they have to place an order, but this can lead to difficulties down the line. There needs to be a working relationship between the restaurant owner and their vendors. This ensures proper communication, which is great when the vendor gives notification that they’re closed during a holiday, and allows the owner to hold suppliers to deadlines. Inventory starts at the source, and the source is the vendor-restaurateur relationship.

The front of the house is the public face of an eatery, but every owner understands that there’s more to running an establishment than the hostess, restaurant furniture and big screen TVs. What goes on in the back is just as important, and when it comes to attaining success, avoiding restaurant inventory mistakes is vital.