Why Inventory Control Solutions Are Vital to Restaurants
Whether you operate one restaurant or multiple dining establishments, the ability to properly keep tabs on ingredients and ingredient costs will always be a factor in your success. While manual methods for doing so may once have been sufficient, rapid rises in prices, increasingly demanding consumers, and other factors make inventory control solutions a critical component of doing business today. Here’s why an inventory control component is a vital part of every restaurant operation’s technology toolbox.
- Inventory control solutions foster better, more informed decision-making—saving money and maximizing revenues. How? For one thing, with an inventory control solution in your back pocket, you can determine orders based on actionable information—such as what is on hand and what quantities of individual products you have purchased in the past—rather than on hearsay and guesswork. For another, you can effortlessly review previous ingredient expenditures and conduct vendor-to-vendor comparisons of prices charged for individual items, ensuring that you get what you need at the best price each time you place an order.
But that is not all. Reports generated by inventory control solutions afford insight into whether the price you charge for each item on your menu is appropriate given the cost to prepare it. For another, detailed reports permit you to identify which menu items produce the highest margins, and therefore merit strong promotion, as well as which yield lower margins and therefore merit either a price adjustment or a recipe modification.
- Inventory control solutions help to avoid shrinkage, theft and waste. Without an inventory control solution, it is impossible to prevent employees from, and hold them accountable for, causing inventory to “go missing” because they accidentally neglected to add an item to a patron’s bill, served it to a friend or family member at no charge, or took it home for their own use without paying for it. With an inventory solution in place, this is easy. Additionally, when employees know you are using technology to monitor inventory, they will be far more conscientious about ensuring that customers are charged for every item they order—and far less apt to engage in offering unauthorized discounts and free food and drinks to their friends and family members.
Using manual methods of inventory control also makes it difficult to keep a lid on waste. By contrast, an automated inventory control system yields easy insight into whether excessive ingredient quantities are being ordered and/or used in food preparation. With this information in hand, adjustments that eliminate waste—and potentially save money—can be quickly initiated.
- Inventory control solutions have a positive effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty. If you run out of a product or do not have a sufficient quantity of an ingredient to prepare the items on your menu, your customers will not be happy—and they may not return to your restaurant no matter how much they enjoyed dining there in the past. And even if they cheerfully order something else the first time your restaurant runs out of something, the most laid-back of diners may eventually become frustrated when they learn that a menu item is not available during a subsequent visit. Having an inventory control solution in place eliminates such problems by enabling you to set minimum inventory levels, alerting you to imminent shortages and, in some cases, automatically generating re-orders based on user-defined parameters. In turn, having the right product available at the right time helps to bring customers back to your establishment time and time again.
The cost of inventory is, and always will be, among restaurants’ most significant ongoing expenditures. Clearly, inventory control technology not only plays a key role in keeping these costs in check; it also supports savvy business practices all around.