operations | 4 mins read

5 Tips for Effective Restaurant Inventory Management

5 tips for effective restaurant inventory management
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco


All the raw materials and items in your restaurant that are essential to make and prepare dishes are referred to as restaurant inventory.

To be an effective manager, you must utilize an inventory management system that will help you track every item in your restaurant.

You can integrate this app which is often free, as it typically comes with the software with your restaurant's POS to allow you to organize and control your stock, streamline your supply, and boost your profits. With a growing business, inventory management becomes an absolute necessity for day-to-day operations.

The following are the tips that can help you with inventory management in your restaurant.

Tip 1 - Monitor Your Stock

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First, you need to make sure that you organize and account for your restaurant's currently stocked items before a new batch is ordered.

You need to compare your stock at the start and to the end of the day to see if there is any shortage.

An effective restaurant inventory management system can help you balance your stock in real-time, taking all the burden off your hands, so you can focus on other important aspects of running your business.

Tip 2 - Manage Raw Materials & Costs

In order to avoid any wastage of food items, make sure that every ingredient is being utilized to the fullest and not wasted. In doing so, these points can help

  • Have a nominal stocking approach for all of the inventory items, especially your perishables.
  • Use season's specials to attract more customers and to avoid the wastage of your perishables.
  • Reorder the items whenever they run down to particularly low levels. Specify the restocking level for each ingredient and reorder any ingredient that is running out. Specialized software can assist with this by sending notifications whenever any item is running low.
  • Make sure that your kitchen uses up all current inventory. This is called First-in-First-out and this technique greatly prevents wastage of food items.
Set a standardized recipe for every dish to curb food costs. Specify the quantity of every ingredient in recipes so that the inventory management system can effectively monitor the remaining stock.

Tip 3 - Manage Perishables

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One of the most integral parts of restaurant inventory management is shelf life management. Every food item in your inventory has a specified expiration date.

Rice has a long shelf life, whereas vegetables and fruits spoil at a more accelerated rate. Therefore, it is pertinent that you manage the shelf life of all of your ingredients.

For every food item in your inventory, specify their shelf life, so that you'll be notified when an item as about to go bad or goes untouched for a period of time. This could be a result of low sales or due to the time of the year; whatever the reason, the app will recommend how much or how little to order during your next round in ordering.

Tip 4 - Assign Specified Roles

In order to keep your restaurant inventory organized at all times, designate employees to specified roles, as well as assign each of them certain tasks.

This will hold them accountable for their roles and tasks, and it will instill a responsible spirit within them.

You can also appoint an inventory manager who will keep the inventory organized and make sure that everyone is performing his or her tasks effectively and efficiently.

These people will consistently be taking inventory, so they will be able to better understand the nuances and patterns involved in managing restaurant inventory.

Before getting started, make sure you train all involved employees on the inventory management process. This will avoid error and discrepancies to the system, as well as prevent waste from over-ordering.

Tip 5 - Utilize Logs, Reports, & Analytics

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A free restaurant inventory management system has a critical feature known as real-time reporting and analytics. This feature lets you access all the reports of your inventory that will help you in restaurant operations. Reports and analyses are important because without having complete information about how your sales are doing and how raw materials are being used, you won't be able to forecast how much ingredients to order in the future.

If you don't plan in advance, food items will run low, and you will bear the risk of not being able to prepare dishes offered on the menu, putting your restaurant's reputation on the line all because of negligence.

Along with keeping track of your inventory, you can also generate profit reports depending on the stock consumption and sales.

If you have access to detailed reports, you can forecast the inventory trends that will help you in making informed decisions like the items to be included in the menu.

These reports give you valuable insights on popular ingredients that are used more frequently in recipes and need to be replenished regularly.

Above all, these reports help you maintain accuracy and take the guessing (which frankly is hurtful for your business) out of the decision-making process.

So, there you have it! These are all the management tips you will need to improve your restaurant inventory system.