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Blog | Inventory | Operations

Increasing Manager Productivity with Restaurant Inventory Management Technology

Restaurant inventory management is one of the most dreaded tasks of any manager. Find out how you can make it easier for everyone.

This blog was originally produced for Hospitality Technology.

In the world of restaurants, managers look forward to many things… but restaurant inventory management is practically never one of them. It is probably safe to say that counting inventory is not as gratifying as nailing the perfect dinner shift, but it is a critical process in your restaurant operation nonetheless.

Counting inventory is tedious and time-consuming — there is no doubt about that. It can eat up hours and hours in your week. That does not diminish the task’s importance:

  • On a fundamental level, managers need visibility into what the restaurant has used up and what to order to maintain operations.
  • Managers also need to track waste to control costs. When restaurant operations are moving at full steam, it is easy for food or liquor to disappear or not notice the rate of consumption.
  • The accounting department needs to track and report for tax purposes.

According to the National Restaurant Association, high operating and food costs are the second-largest concern for operators — 60% of operators say that food costs are a significant challenge.

Considering that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the cost of food is expected to grow another two to three percent in 2019, it is extremely important that managers are able to nail the process of counting, ordering and producing.

It is hard to do that when spreadsheet-based restaurant inventory management processes are still overwhelmingly the norm. Restaurants need to arm their managers with modern, mobile inventory software that can help bring increased efficiency, accuracy and accountability to the counting process, soothing much of the pain that restaurant managers experience on a weekly basis.

Pre-configure Spot Counts to Increase Manager Accuracy and Accountability

What if you could cut the time it takes to count inventory by more than half? Inventory management software solutions with smart spot count capabilities allow above-store leaders to audit items that usually have a high variance or high cost to hone in on what drives most of the discrepancies or concerns. Based on dynamic rules that above-store management has built into the system, solutions like HotSchedules’ new inventory software built on our innovative Clarifi platform, will select items to count based on variance data the system already knows about.

A manager may take a full inventory on Monday, then check steaks on Tuesday and champagne on Friday. Visual cues guide the manager if an item is outside its acceptable variance, helping to ensure that counts are as accurate as possible.

Spot Counting Enables More Efficient Restaurant Inventory Management to Increase Productivity

Clarifi Inventory also allows leadership to configure how often they want managers to count, what to count by store location and the level of sensitivity for how much variance is acceptable.

By spot counting your inventory or only counting certain portions of it at a time, managers can avoid spending hours doing numerous full inventory counts that can drag late into the night. According to the 2018 Restaurant Technology Study, increasing productivity was a key driver for IT spend. With an inventory solution that reduces the time it takes to count inventory, operators can:

  • Reduce labor cost
  • Prevent errors
  • Free team members to focus on the customer
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