Does the thought of weekly inventory send shivers down your spine? Can you already hear your managers complaining and resisting? Do you picture yourself buried in the walk-in for hours on end?
These fears keep a lot of restaurant owners from staying on top of their inventory, but not doing inventory has a surprising impact on restaurant food cost and the cash you need to pay your bills.
Here are just a few of the negative impacts not taking inventory has on your restaurant every week:
- You don’t have the essential numbers you need to manage your restaurant, so you’re flying blind, wondering why your food cost is so high.
- Your employees aren’t understanding the value of what they’re using. You’re ordering so much product to make sure you never run out that the shelves are always full and nothing is precious to your employees. They look and there is always more on the shelf so when your cooks are making something, such as Ranch dressing, they aren’t scraping the mayo out of the container to get every last bit, which is all usable product and your money. Instead, they get what they can easily and throw the rest away and grab the next one from the shelf because there is always more on the shelf.
- People are stealing from you. When the product disappears from your shelves with someone’s five-finger discount, your food cost goes up. They’re able to hide this from because you’re not counting, and they know it.
- Items are misplaced. Picture the middle of a lunch rush, you’re running your hot special, a sandwich with your secret sauce, that’s selling like crazy. Someone runs into the walk-in to grab a new container of sauce, but because there is so much product on the shelves and nothing is organized, no one can find it, declaring the sauce all gone. The kitchen 86s your number-one-selling item. Then, after the lunch rush is over, your chef or kitchen manager walks into the cooler and finds it exactly where it shouldn’t be, behind the shredded lettuce and carrots. This is a missed opportunity for profits.
- You’re not cleaning and organizing your walk in. It’s dirty and messy, and you’ve got that terrible meat dangly stuff hanging from the meat racks. Now you’re jacking up your labor because somebody finally gets sick and tired of the messy walk in. You have to pay extra labor to empty it out, scrub it down, scrub all the racks, put them back in, and reorganize the walk-in.
- Take that same exact description of what I just talked about in your walk-in, and you get lower health scores, which means lower sales, because nowadays your health scores are on the Internet and the news.
- You have slower inventory turns. When you don’t pay attention to your product, you get inventory creep. You keep adding and adding to the shelves, never fully making a turn in your inventory. The last time I checked, when you over order, when you have too much on your shelves, and you don’t have money in the bank account to pay your bills, you can’t go to the power company with a case of steaks, drop it on the counter and say, “Here is my payment.”
Think about it this way: when you take food inventory for value on a weekly basis to know your food cost, your costs will go down, your inventory levels will go down because you’re paying attention, your walk-in will be clean and organized, your health scores will be higher, and your guests will be happy because you’re not running out of product.
It’s time to ditch the excuses and move toward signing up for a food and beverage management software solution and make weekly inventory a part of your weekly management. If you follow a shelf-to-sheet inventory system and you do less than $2 million per year, you’re done in under an hour each week and reaping the benefits.