July 31, 2017 / By zip inventory / In Hubworks / Comments
“Why the Inventory Count Is Essential to Your Restaurant”
5 Ways That This “Basic” Chore Might Be Keeping Your Business from Succeeding
Let’s delve deep into the five biggest ways that doing a proper, efficient inventory count will help your restaurant continue to grow, and how failure to do so could be holding you back.
Think for a second about some of the most basic routines that are carried out day after day in your restaurant. There’s dishwashing, for sure. Then there’s the cleaning up of the dining area, which sometimes goes hand-in-hand with putting chairs on top of tables and replacing soiled tablecloths, should you make use of them. Even in the cleaning of the dining room alone, there are several sub-tasks that must be taken care of, such as vacuuming, washing tables, cleaning windows, and similar, very basic kinds of routine, daily maintenance that help to provide for the most welcoming, comfortable environment possible for your guests.
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless. Try it free for 30 days.
There are plenty of other routine kinds of tasks too that are essential to the proper functioning of your restaurant. Chief among these, perhaps, is the inventory count and the ordering of food and supplies. The worst thing that can ever happen to a restaurant, short of a major health code violation, is running out of food during the middle of a busy night. Whether it’s as niche as running out of some strange foreign fruit, or as essential as running out of milk or eggs, this can stop the progress of a restaurant dead in its tracks. What’s more, it can also leave a lasting impression on customers, forcing them into an opinion that may not necessarily reflect the truth of your restaurant, strictly because of a single bad experience.
We will take a look at five ways that a proper inventory count can be vital to the success of your restaurant. As always, these are not strictly the only five ways. However, we believe them to be five of the biggest, and potentially most influential ways that inventory count can have an impact on your business. We’re going to tie in things like the influence the inventory count can have on ordering and stocking, as well, to give you a taste of how many key areas of your restaurant can be affected by this seemingly menial task.
Poor Inventory Count Skills = Poor Customer Experience - The key thing of note is that everything that happens within your restaurant, on every level, all comes back to having an impact on the experience your customers have. Whether we look at the neatness of employee outfits or the quality control of the food, it all impacts one of their five senses and leaves a lasting impression. Inventory count is no different. With inventory count, though, you run the risk of being unable to guarantee the very service you advertise to your customers in the first place: food service. We’ll touch on ordering a bit more in the next section, but just know that each item on your menu acts as a promise to your customers that you can provide that dish to them. Being unable to do so, except in certain circumstances such as an absurdly busy night, is, in essence, breaking that promise, and customers will inevitably take issue with it.
Inventory Count Forces You to Order More Effectively - Inventory count is one of those vital aspects of restaurant maintenance that, in one way or another, impacts every other area of the restaurant. This is no truer than when it comes time to order food or supplies and restock your business. Inventory count affords you the opportunity to take a look at which food items you are consistently running out of, or very low on, and can help you to decide things like whether or not you should order extra of that item in future orders, whether other items are going unused as a result, and many other key facets of your restaurant’s success. So pay close attention to those inventory counts, because they may just prove to be the element that guarantees your restaurant’s longevity.
Inventory Counts Provide Insights into Your Business - As we alluded to in the previous point, a proper, effective inventory count can provide several key insights into your business on some levels. This becomes most obvious when we look at things like determining success or failure of menu items. If we take the previous example, note that you are consistently running out of certain ingredients or supplies, and these ingredients are only found in a handful of menu items. Then it might just signify a certain preference regarding the majority of your customers, one that future changes to the menu might do well to reflect. Of course, this is only one example, but it is also one of the most profoundly impactful when considered on that level.
Inventory Counts Can Provide Insights into Employee Performance - Bear with us, because we know this one might sound a bit cynical. From a strictly business perspective, though, it does make a lot of sense. If you have employees carrying out this task week after week, and the ordering is still consistently off, then it might signal an employee who is not well-suited for that particular task, or for the restaurant as a whole. Of course, it would be beneficial to assume the former is true until they prove the latter, since for some people as the banality of an inventory count can certainly become an impediment. Don’t worry, though; new software is being developed constantly to help curb some of the dullness of this task, including Hubworks’ Zip Inventory.
An Inventory Count Can Help Maintain Profits (If Done Correctly) - This last point is also a big one. One of the things that inventory counting, when done properly, can do is it can help better manage things in such a way that a steady profit, rather than a loss, is maintained by your restaurant. How can this be? Glad you asked. When we talked about the impact of efficient ordering as a result of inventory counts in earlier points, we looked at it from the perspective of customer service. While this is still a vital component, we can also look at the way ordering impacts your business’ financial success too. When you consistently order food that nobody is eating, you’re effectively letting money sit in the freezer to rot or get freezer burn and wind up in the trash. Something plenty of people know but seem not to understand, is that you should only ever order the food supplies that will be consumed in a given day/week/month. Ordering too much excess can result in not ordering enough in the future, and ordering things that will go uneaten will only serve to damage your financial outlook. It’s easy, really: if nobody eats it, and you spent money on it, then it is a loss. An effective and efficient inventory count can help to manage this and curb that risk a bit better.
We hope that this article has given you the sense of just how important a proper, effective inventory count can be to the success of your restaurant, both commercially and financially. If you’re interested in learning more tips (61 to be exact) that might be useful to those readers just getting their business up and running, feel free to have a look at this article, which can be found on our blog along with dozens of other highly useful tips and tidbits.