The basics of restaurant inventory management

Whatever the size of your operation, inventory control is a crucial part of managing a restaurant. Among other things, an accurate inventory can help you control costs and plan orders. Here is a look at the basics of effective restaurant inventory management.

Image Credit

What is involved in inventory management?

At a basic level, inventory management can be thought of as a stocktake. The idea is to record everything within the restaurant, in the front and back-of-house. This doesn’t just mean what’s in the fridge, freezer and stockroom. It also means cutlery and crockery, kitchenware, and other catering supplies. This process should ideally be carried out on a monthly basis. An alternative option is to maintain a running inventory, where everything that comes into and goes out of the restaurant is immediately recorded. A smaller operation might employ a simple Excel spreadsheet for this, while a larger restaurant might need to use special inventory software, whether it’s a standalone system or one that is linked to the POS system.

How can record-keeping help with inventory management?

A crucial aspect of successful inventory management is ensuring that staff maintain complete, accurate and consistent records. This includes checking deliveries against the invoice and ensuring the restaurant receives what it has ordered. This part of inventory management also includes keeping track of wastage, which can get forgotten in the rush of a busy service. As this article from The Caterer highlights, the level of waste you generate can have significant cost implications, which you can only address if you have accurate data. Again, a simple spreadsheet might work for a smaller operation. However, larger restaurants might need to introduce a more sophisticated procedure.

Image Credit

What issues can inventory management highlight?

Common issues you might identify include maintaining stock levels that are too high and losing too much stock to wastage. By getting your inventory management in order, you can get your costs under control, which means you can afford to replace that old unreliable piece of catering equipment from somewhere like or even boost your staff budget.

Effective inventory management can identify any issues that need action before they become a bigger problem. Ultimately, the aim is to have the right stock and supplies at the right time so your customers are satisfied and your bottom line accurately reflects your team’s hard work.