What are the Best Tips for Restaurant Inventory Management?

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  • Written By: Keith Koons
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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There are many good systems to assist a professional in restaurant inventory management. Keeping a daily inventory count is one way to keep track of food cost, and preparing a designated count sheet with each product on it simplifies this process. Training each staff member to be aware of food cost and proper portion control is another essential aspect of restaurant inventory management. Storing inventory counts in a computer database also makes it much easier to track cost analysis, order products, and monitor weekly usage.

Store inventory is often the easiest way to spot problems like theft, abnormal food usage, ordering mistakes, and over-prepping. A fundamental key of restaurant inventory management is to always know exactly what products are available for consumers, and this task can be made a lot easier by generating a custom inventory sheet. The pages should contain each item in a separate column and include things like the previous day's total and inventory numbers that correspond with the food distributor. Items should also be counted by the same value each and every time to ensure the greatest possible accuracy. Implementing this method will help reduce food waste, simplify ordering, and hopefully assist the manager in spotting potential problems.


Training the staff to be aware of food cost is another huge factor in restaurant inventory management. If a cook does not know the exact portions that each entree and side item should be, then by the end of each shift, a large amount of food ends up being wasted. Not only does this cost the company money, but it also encourages staff members to frequently check the kitchen for extra food to snack on throughout their shifts.

All of this information should be transferred to a computer database to partially automate the restaurant inventory process. By allowing the software to deduct the daily inventory counts from the weekly total, a manager can pinpoint any potential problems on any shift for the week. For example, if the store used 100 pounds of chicken on a busy night and 70 pounds when the store was slow, the manager could go straight to the responsible parties and make any necessary corrections. Using a computer for restaurant inventory management also allows users to see exactly how much of each product was used for the week, making the ordering with food vendors much easier.


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