The Importance of Food Inventory Management
food inventory management

The United States has a huge food waste issue, with around 119 billion pounds of food going uneaten each year! Poor planning is the number one driver of food waste on the part of businesses and consumers.

Aside from social and environmental concerns, having too much food on hand also has economic drawbacks. You or your business could be spending too much money on food and not getting the value back. However, having too little food comes with an equal number of costs.

This is why good food inventory management is vital for running a restaurant. If you want to learn more about how beneficial food inventory management is, keep reading this article.

Modern Food Inventory Management

Inventory management is the practice of tracking all the goods you buy, make, store, use, and sell to customers. Every industry practices this to a certain degree, but time adds a unique dimension to the food and service industries. Food services and restaurants must consider how long until an ingredient spoils when they conduct inventory management.

This is where ingredient management software comes into play. You get special company software packages that offer smart monitoring of order quantities, the use of ingredients in the kitchen, and what remains in your stores.

Some of these programs integrate with your POS system to track the use of ingredients, while others work with barcodes or some other form of input. The sophisticated variants automatically notify you when you’re running low on necessary items; some can even order replacement stock. This frees managers to pay more attention to the other concerns of running a restaurant.

Commercial Benefits

Managing inventory is primarily a concern in commercial settings. This is because it offers some competitive benefits over food services that manage their stock less efficiently.

Preventing Food Wastage

Inventory management for restaurants is a great way to combat food wastage. Food company software allows managers to tackle the problem directly and indirectly. The first step towards this goal is implementing the software in the restaurant’s management processes.

Once implemented, the software will periodically produce reports for managers to review. A big wastage issue will be a glaring fact in the reports. You’ll see immediately that a lot of food is going off before you can use it.

This will allow managers to change how they manage inventory to mitigate this. The point of many of these software packages is also to make your ordering quantities more efficient. The indirect benefit of ordering close to the exact amount of each item used is less wastage in the long run.

Happier Customers

One of the best ways to ensure defeat in the food industry is to run out of popular items constantly. This is followed closely by having antiquated dishes and options on the menu. Both of these problems can be solved with software.

Automated inventory management for restaurants can ensure that a restaurant never runs out of popular items again. Menu planning software can then help restructure or set up new menu options. This is especially important for newer restaurants looking to grow in the industry.

Customer satisfaction can even improve the value of a restaurant as an investment. Goodwill refers to a business’s reputation and can actually be valued in real dollars.

When a restaurant gets more well-known for good food and service, the value of its goodwill increases. That means future buyers will have to pay more just for the reputation if the owner ever sells.

More Efficient Spending

Many restaurants have long histories of ownership, passed down family lines or from one entrepreneur to another. As such, they may also show signs of many different management styles. Every new owner or manager will have a different approach to restaurant inventory management.

You may have bought or inherited a restaurant with less storage capacity (smaller fridges) than you need. If you see that you need to keep way more stock than you can, you now need to make an expensive upgrade.

Money can come from two sources: you either cut costs (while somehow keeping the same quality) to save, or you need to make more money. Managing inventory well is one of the ways to achieve either goal.

Knowing exactly how much to spend on your ingredients based on your company’s data may cut costs. This isn’t guaranteed, however, as the software may show that you should be spending more on certain ingredients. Even though that may feel like an increased expense in the short run, the long-term benefit is the elimination of stock-out costs!

Principles for Home Application

You don’t need the same expensive software package to get the same benefits in your home kitchen. All you need to do is understand how ingredient management software makes restaurants more competitive. You can then implement those same principles at home.

The main one that prevents wastage is the first-in-first-out principle. This means you use the oldest stuff in your fridge and pantry before getting to the newer stuff. This way, you have a constant stock of fresh ingredients as well.

The next principle is being aware of which ingredients are used more in your home and keeping a closer eye on those. Our diet creation and menu planning services can help you structure your diet. It’s much easier to run your home kitchen efficiently with that kind of information in hand.

Get a Great Partner for Menu Creation

Good food inventory management can make a huge difference to the business or family that practices it. It can help ensure that restaurant inventory never goes to waste and that the company spends as efficiently as possible. Always having the right amount of stock on hand will also mean a restaurant can always keep customers happy.

Enough food is only part of the equation; we must also ensure it’s the right food. We can help you with food labeling, diet analysis, and menu creation that align with your goals and lifestyle. Book a meeting with us today to take your approach to food to the next level.