Let’s be honest, managing inventory was not the reason that anyone decided to open a restaurant or bar. Inventory counts are often thought of as one of the most tedious and mundane tasks in the business, but this undertaking is also one of the most important. Proper inventory management is a critical component to both controlling costs and improving overall profitability.

With that being said, below are five tips that you can start today that will help in this process.

  1. Educate your staff – In addition to your understanding of the importance of inventory management, it is also essential for the individuals handling these valuable products on a daily basis. It is important that every employee understands the individual benefit of great inventory management. At the end of the day, the accuracy and consistency of this process is a key component of your restaurant’s growth and sustainability. This sustainability is paramount to each individual’s job security.
  2. Be consistent (personnel) – Using the same staff to count inventory will improve efficiency and the consistency of counts.
  3. Be consistent (products) – Ensure you are counting products in a consistent manner whether that is daily, bi-weekly, or weekly (depending on the turnover of the individual product). It is also important that inventory is counted either after the restaurant is closed or before it opens. Attempting to count during working hours often leads to mistakes.
  4. Multitask – During the counting process, ensure items are being moved so that they are used in a First In, First Out (FIFO) basis. This practice will help prevent spoilage and aid in inventory organization.
  5. Review the numbers and act – One of the biggest mistakes restaurant owners make is merely using these count sheets as a tool for ordering. These numbers provide much more value than that and should be used to help build and grow your business. It is important that you take a step back and analyze trends and reasons for inventory fluctuations as this will reveal issues and opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed.

With a few changes to your inventory management process, you can change this mundane task into a more enjoyable and valuable business practice.

Do you have questions about managing inventory or food service industry benchmarking? If so, please contact Ryan M. Siebel, CPA, at 440-449-6800 or email Ryan.

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