Restaurant Inventory Management Consulting Firm
How often have you dreaded the necessary evil of inventory management? It’s too expensive to ignore, but too complicated to handle with pen, paper, clipboards, or spreadsheets. Restaurants that track inventory manually will inevitably have to deal with patterns of waste, theft, and inefficiency.
The ugly truth is that most restaurants would rather eat the costs of food waste than attempt to address it. Inventory management systems can cost $10,000 to $20,000, take nine months to implement, then sequester the manager to the office, and burn thousands of dollars in maintenance costs. Year after year, restauranteurs face food cost challenges.
SC2 will provide you with the restaurant inventory management consultant you need to help you answer questions like, “Where am I losing money?” or “What ingredients are we wasting?” The simple truth is that managing food costs are a challenge, and you end up making the same mistakes again and again if you don’t bring in a third-party to provide a fresh perspective. Shopping multiple suppliers for the cheapest ingredients doesn’t solve the problem in most cases and will often make the problem worst.
SC2 will illustrate below why inventory management breaks down despite your awareness of how it should run. From there, we will touch on how technology could help solve these problems.
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Your Inventory Management System
If you run a restaurant, you know exactly how inventory management should work—in theory. You decide to do inventory every Sunday. You print out a spreadsheet with every item and ingredient listed. Then spend hours counting your stock and then entering everything into a spreadsheet. This predictably leads to errors.
Because the task is so time-consuming and boring, you find shortcuts and ‘eyeball’ some counts. When you receive new inventory, you take count with pen and paper, add these numbers to a receiving spreadsheet, and then copy those numbers to your master spreadsheet. Maybe you export a spreadsheet from your point-of-sale (POS) system and guestimate your recipe mixes to get an idea of theoretical versus actual food costs. In reality, you know what you spent on food, but you don’t know how much was wasted or why.
Even if you do have a rudimentary inventory management system, no one creates recipes for it. It takes too long to convert cooking units of measurement into the purchasing units used by your supplier (quick: convert your short rib recipe into a percentage of a 75-pound case of short rib and do the same for 20 other ingredients).
Without an accurate recipe, the system can’t track how much inventory you use each time you sell the short ribs. Each time you order more short ribs and other meats, you print an order guide from the supplier and do a spot check because you can’t trust the actual inventory count from days ago. You never have a true, up-to-date picture of your inventory.
Nonetheless, between wasting food and spending tens of thousands on better software, waste is the lesser of two evils. This begs the obvious question: how would SC2 fix the problem?
Our Restaurant Inventory Management Solution
The barrier to best practices in inventory management is technology, not knowledge. To solve this problem, SC2 will help you select an inventory software package to meet these four critical criteria:
- It must be so simple that your crew can leverage it in limited training.
- Setting up items and recipes must be as easy as creating playlists in iTunes.
- The system must combine administrator and user roles. Your Chefs should be able to change a price or recipe on the fly without calling the software makers help desk.
- The application needs to be available on mobile devices and PCs.
SC2 will help you find an inventory application that meets these criteria. Team members will count faster and more accurately because they’ll enter numbers directly into a smartphone, and they’ll be able to setup and adjust recipes on an ongoing basis because doing so is a quick, drag-and-drop process. If your recipes are up-to-date, and the app is integrated with your POS, the system can adjust inventory levels in real-time as you make sales. This narrows the gap between theoretical and actual sales, which means you can identify waste and order products more efficiently.
Restaurants accept food waste because doing something about it used to be too time-consuming and expensive. The problem is the technology, not the methodology, and you’ll find that pattern throughout the restaurant industry.
As you can see, there are many areas of expertise required in navigating the search for a great food cost system. If you are ready to employ a tested industry veteran in SC2, feel free to reach out to me directly at (303) 883-3355 or email at mark.hampton@SC2.guru.
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