Food cost is one of the largest expenditures a restaurant has aside from its payroll. It’s smart business to know what you have on hand, what selections are selling out, what’s sitting around in the kitchen, and how quickly items are being sold.
Restaurant owners who want to protect their assets should take advantage of the integrated inventory control functions in their point of sale (POS) systems. This important safeguard helps you easily see how much of each ingredient you have in stock, and it protects you against buying too much of one item and then being forced to throw it away when it doesn’t sell. Inventory management = money saved!
If you haven’t taken advantage of your POS system’s inventory tracking functionality, now is a good time to start. Here’s a few ways this automated ingredient tracking function can help you save on food costs:
Automate inventory processes: You can use the ingredient tracking function to help control food costs by monitoring inventory levels and reordering at the appropriate time. It’s unfortunate when a restaurant runs out of the most popular options on the menu, leaving diners disappointed. Automated inventory tracking makes it easy to maintain accurate ingredient counts. If a customer orders a hot dog, the system automatically deducts the hot dog from the inventory count. When enough hot dogs are sold, a low stock alert can initiate a purchase order.
Ordering ingredients shouldn’t be a guessing game: One of the most important functions of an inventory control system is to analyze which entrées, drinks and desserts are selling and which ones are just languishing on the menu. Generating these reports will also reveal high margin vs. low margin items and which selections people aren’t ordering. Don’t take shots in the dark. Use your customers’ dining preferences as a guideline and reevaluate your menu options and ingredient list every few months to make sure you’re ordering ingredients that sell.
Checking your inventory daily becomes easy: Although some people may say it’s okay to do an inventory count once or twice a week, it’s important to know what you have on hand every day. Knowing which ingredients you have in stock dictates your daily inventory cost and how many meals you can serve. It also helps you cut down on food costs by identifying which ingredients have been sitting on the shelves the longest so they can be used before they expire.
You can leverage ingredient counts to give you better insight into what your customers want, how long ingredients take to receive once they’re ordered and how long you should wait before ordering more.
Evaluating ingredient turnover patterns can reveal important information about which menu selections are hot and which may be falling out of favor. It also provides insights into ordering processes and supply chain management. Knowing how long it will take to receive certain foods is particularly important for hard-to-get ingredients, those with longer lead times or for produce, especially when weather is a factor.
Food cost is one of a restaurant’s largest expenditures, so controlling them with an integrated inventory control functionality is smart business. Monitoring your ingredient inventory every day will help reduce food waste and ensure that heavily used ingredients are always in stock. Automated ordering processes and sales data will help you save money while satisfying your customers’ cravings with their favorite entrees, drinks and desserts.