Inventory management is a vital skill for any restaurant. It cuts costs spent on unnecessary items, ensures there isn’t too much or too little of a particular item and reduces food and beverage waste.
Finding ways to streamline your business’s inventory management can keep things running smoothly and benefit everyone, including you, your staff, and your customers.
5 Tips to Avoid Overstock on Food and Beverages
From monitoring the market to setting inventory management goals, there’s a lot you can do to prevent product overstock in your restaurant. Practice the tips below to keep your food and beverage supply under control.
1. Keep Your Staff Informed
Looping in your employees should be the first step to preventing food and beverage overstock — this is a team effort! Your entire staff should understand the significance of inventory control and how it can affect profits. Teaching your team about inventory management can help prevent issues and generate positive results.
Here are some tips for keeping your staff informed about inventory organization:
- Demonstrate your inventory software: Chances are, your inventory management software includes various settings and features. Schedule a staff training session to run through all of the software’s tools and functions. Explain how each one can benefit from their daily operations and target applications specific to each team — for instance, the front-of-house staff may not need the same applications as your chefs.
- Teach them to maximize resources: Employees should understand that products have different supply and demand patterns, as well as different target fill rates. Teach them how to use inventory software and maximize resources to manage fill rates efficiently. This helps ensure you’re forecasting and stocking properly, as well as saving money in the long run.
- Train them on purchasing: Staff members should know how to create orders, enter credits and invoices, enter sales information and finalize inventory orders. Coach each employee on using the inventory management system to purchase items as needed to maximize revenue.
2. Conduct Price Comparisons
Any manager overseeing inventory should consistently check the market for price comparisons. If your establishment can reduce item costs without sacrificing quality, it might be time to change suppliers.
Monitoring the market can help prepare your restaurant for peak demand periods. Factor data into your inventory management and include it in upcoming sales forecasts to ensure accuracy. You should also look at previous customer purchases, focusing your scope on your restaurant’s sales levels.
Also, consider tracking average restaurant repair and maintenance costs to accurately forecast to R&M expenses and get a better idea of what your business should be spending when something like a refrigerator—which protects all your inventory—is out of service.
Noting past transaction data can help identify high and low demand points — that way, your business can stock its merchandise to match these. For instance, if you notice customers order a particular menu item more frequently during one season and less often in another, ordering less inventory of that item as needed can prevent overstocking.
Remember to perform regular item checks along with price comparisons and past purchases. Check items with the most shrinkage and determine what might be causing this issue, like over-portioning, over-prepping, or over-ordering.
3. Set Goals
Goal setting is a key aspect of any business, so extend it to inventory management. Set monthly inventory-based goals with objectives like:
- Minimizing waste and losses
- Maintaining sufficient stock
- Optimizing product sales
- Keeping an organized storage facility or warehouse
- Cutting costs related to excessive inventory
- Saving time spent on inventory recounts and accuracy checks
- Commit to having inventory checks weekly or monthly and stick to this
When you communicate with your employees, talk about these goals and encourage everyone to work toward them.
4. Simplify Your Menu
Having a smaller menu can offer many benefits. A simple menu can decrease labor and ingredient costs, reduce food waste and streamline training since there are fewer dishes to learn. Before you start removing items, however, determine your best-sellers that should remain on the menu.
The key is to create variety and make the most of limited ingredients. Combination items can be a great way to streamline your menu. For instance, chicken can be used for sandwiches, salads, and wraps.
Rather than customers sifting through multiple menu pages to find something they like, you can also give them the opportunity to build their own meals with customization options based on ingredients you regularly stock. Before you offer custom options, you may want to do a trial run and get some data together. What ingredients do customers often choose for their meals? What ones don’t they go for as much? You can use that information to guide your inventory decisions.
5. Go Digital With PourMyBeer
Consider integrating a self-pour beverage system into your establishment to prevent overstock and wastage. At PourMyBeer, we specialize in innovative self-pour beverage walls. These allow customers to pour their own wine, beer, cocktails, kombucha, and cold brew, paying by the ounce.
Our real-time keg management system graphically displays the available keg ounces on your management dashboard. You’ll receive alerts when kegs are low so you and your team can react promptly. Here are other benefits our self-pour technology can offer for your restaurant:
- Less waste: Our self-pour systems charge by the ounce, so your customers are less likely to waste the beverages they pour. This means no free samples and no unpaid tabs, and the fully automated POS eliminates human error. Additionally, kegs are vacuum-sealed and chilled, keeping beverages like cold brew, kombucha, and wines colder and fresher for longer.
- Improved efficiency: A self-pour setup puts the power directly in your customers’ hands. They can pour whatever, whenever, and how much they want. This enables more streamlined beverage access and efficiency, as it eliminates unnecessarily long waiting times and crowding. That, combined with more freedom and flexibility, creates an overall positive guest experience. With customers self-pouring their drinks, you can even free up your staff to focus on your inventory streamlining goals.
Upgrade Your Restaurant With PourMyBeer
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our cutting-edge, self-pour technology is a great way to improve your visitors’ experience, reduce waste, increase efficiency and boost profits by 45% or more.
Guests can pour as much or as little as they please and try numerous drinks with little room for error, saving your company time and money. We cater to a variety of small and large businesses looking to upgrade their operations, from restaurants and bars to grocery stores and hotels. Yours could be next!
Let us help you regulate your restaurant’s cocktail, cold brew, kombucha, wine, or beer inventory, cutting down unnecessary expenses while enhancing your customers’ drinking experience. Contact PourMyBeer to learn more about our self-pour beverage walls.