Accurate inventory lists can make or break a restaurant. Don’t let paper lists, exhausted employees, or old habits slow you down. Our four easy inventory list tips will keep you on top and profits rolling in.
What's the problem with inventory?
There are few words in the restaurant industry that can send employees scrambling for cover like the word inventory. Traditionally, inventory day has been a phrase shrouded in groans and dread due to the time-consuming and yawn-inducing nature of counting every tiny thing in your restaurant. Who wants to spend eight hours counting paper napkins or sugar packets?
As boring as inventory management is, it’s a necessary step to ensure your restaurant is running smoothly, always has the supplies it needs, and doesn’t lose money on waste and spoilage. Thanks to advances in technology and programming, learning how to make an inventory list for a restaurant, and then tracking that inventory, has become easier than ever before. Below, we discuss the most common issues restaurants face when it comes to inventory control, and our best tips to combat them using digital inventory control.
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Remove the Intimidation - As we mentioned above, employees have learned to hate inventory day. It takes a lot of time, can be boring, and the fear of making a mistake that costs the company money is always on the back of their minds. Mistakes can multiply with the number of employees tasked with inventory duties. Printed sheets can be damaged or lost, and it’s easy to write a wrong number when you’ve been counting straws all day and doing mental math. TIP: Using software specifically designed for the unique needs of the food service industry will help your employees get the inventory done faster, with more accuracy, and all without adding more paper waste to your recycling bins and dumpsters. With the right app, learning how to make an inventory list for a restaurant is simple, quick, and easy. Most people have smart phones or other mobile devices. When using a digital inventory list, there’s less room for error and employees can feel more confident with a device that’s similar to one they probably use every day. No more bad handwriting, no more math mistakes, and no more clunky clipboards and wasted time jotting numbers down.
Digital Inventory Lists Make Changes a Snap - Printed inventory lists should be a thing of the past. Not only is it wasteful to print sheets that are only going to end up shredded or recycled, but if there happens to be a mistake on the printed sheets, it’s time-consuming and expensive. You must make changes, reprint your sheets, and hand the new ones out to employees. That kind of mistake can set back inventory duties by hours, and even more if your staff has already been using the faulty sheets to finish the job. That’s expensive and frustrating, setting your restaurant up for a big fall. TIP: The solution to this problem is, once again, technology. With a digital inventory list, there is no wasted paper, no wasted time, and changes can be made on the fly with a few taps or swipes. Once the mistake has been caught, you make your changes and immediately deploy it to the appropriate staff. While inventory sheet mistakes used to be a catastrophic issue, it doesn’t have to be an issue for you. When you learn how to make an inventory list for a restaurant using modern apps and devices, you save your company time and money, not to mention show up your competition with your speed and accuracy on inventory day. That’s pretty nice bragging rights.
Get a Handle on Large or Complicated Inventories - One of the hardest parts of running a successful restaurant is tracking inventory, and that problem is made worse when the inventory is complicated or very large. Traditional methods included a lot of page-flipping through old logbooks and tracking down old order receipts, then matching them to usage notes. Managers have more important things to do than comb through old files, and employees are often in over their heads when hunting down an obscure item on the inventory list. TIP: Digital inventory control saves us, once again. Choose an inventory app with a search bar, and you’ll never have to dig through dusty logbooks and old receipts again. The best inventory control apps will allow you to filter your search by location, item type, or alphabetical order. Know what you have in stock within seconds.
Use Your Recipes to Help Control Inventory - One mistake many managers make when learning how to make an inventory list for a restaurant is to ignore the recipes. It’s more than simply memorizing your menu and guessing how much of each ingredient you’ll need. TIP: Many expensive inventory mistakes can be avoided if you use your menu and recipes to make your inventory list in the first place. Using a digital inventory control system means recipes and bundles can list components and amounts, and if your app is one of the better ones, you can even leave notes, make changes, and track everything in real-time. That saves time on inventory day, and it helps reduce stress during busy hours, not to mention the money saved by always knowing exactly how many more sides of fried rice you can dish out before you need to reorder your ingredients.
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How to make an inventory list for a restaurant in one easy step
Above, we’ve broken down some of the common issues restaurants make when creating their inventory lists, and given some tips on how to avoid them. But what it boils down to is the need for technology in your restaurant. The most crucial step you need to take to learn how to make an inventory list for a restaurant is to start using a digital inventory management system.