Restaurant Profitability Blog

The 2017 Complete Guide to Restaurant Inventory

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Inventory. It’s kind of a big deal.

16% of your food ends up in the trash.

75% of your employees steal from you, representing a staggering 7% of your revenue.

And restaurants who take regular inventory can increase profits by up to 24% a year. Those are 3 pretty convincing reasons to make sure you take inventory… and do it right.

With that in mind, we’ve put together The 2017 Complete Guide to Restaurant Inventory to give you the “what”, “how” and “who” of inventory.

It will walk you through best practices, common mistakes, and tips & tricks.

It will also give you a comprehensive list of software & apps, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the right one for your restaurant.

Finally, it will show you how we do inventory at Orderly… no spreadsheets, no data entry, no price lookup.

Our hope is that this Guide will help you on your quest to refine and improve the way you take inventory, and ultimately… run your business.

And be sure to check out our other helpful resources about inventory:

Happy reading!

The Importance of Inventory

The bad news… running a restaurant costs more now than it did in the past.

The good news… you do have some control over these rising costs.

Food costs rose 8.7% between 2011 and 2015… while the costs of consumer goods in general only rose 5.4%.

As a restaurant owner or operator, you’ve likely felt the pinch.

And if you’re sticking with industry averages, you’ll invest between 28 and 32% of your total sales back into food purchases.

That means about a third of your profits could be on the line if you don’t properly manage your food spend.

So, you’ve got a lot of money at risk.

And how do you protect this money… making sure you don’t lose a large portion of it to spoilage, waste, or even theft?

The answer may surprise you: Consistently taking and reviewing inventory.

 

5 Important Reasons to Take Inventory

Inventory can seem like a tedious and largely meaningless task, especially as you heft your 8th box of canned sauce out of the way to count your bags of flour.

In truth, inventory taking is one of the most crucial processes that can lead to your restaurant’s success.

By taking inventory, you can:

  • Check your restaurant’s financial health
  • Track expected food usage
  • Decrease food waste significantly
  • Stop theft from happening
  • Prevent over-ordering

The success or failure of your restaurant ultimately depends on these factors… which means the success or failure of your restaurant depends on your inventory management process.

Let’s break down these 5 important reasons to take inventory.

#1 Check Your Financial Health

You can’t measure your restaurant’s health by your business’ bank account balance alone.

This figure won’t tell you how much product you have on hand or the amount of money that those on-hand goods represent.

With a reliable inventory, you can calculate figures that are essential to understanding the financial health of your business…like Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).

When compared to revenue, COGS gives you the best insight into your profit margins.

How? Let’s do some simple math:

(Cost of Goods Sold + Labor Costs) / Total sales = Prime Cost

If the number you get is over 60%… you’re in for trouble.

#2 Track Expected Use of Inventory

You’ll generally use about the same quantity of an item in your pantry from week to week.

So unless a risotto special… or something similar… has you burning through rice more quickly, you should investigate significant fluctuations in the kitchen.

With a regular (read: weekly) inventory, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify significant increases or decreases in food usage immediately
  • Increase ordering to avoid a shortage
  • Decrease ordering to avoid a surplus

And you can do so before your loyal dinner patron complains there isn’t any more of the lobster risotto he had his heart set on trying.

#3 Decrease Food Waste

Food waste impacts your restaurant’s success as well as society at large.

133 billion… yes, with a capital B… pounds of food were wasted in the US in 2010.

And despite valiant efforts, the figure has remained relatively stagnant since.

The truth is, no matter how conscientious you are, you’re going to have some bundles of bananas go past their prime at one time or another.

But you should do everything you can to reduce this loss for the well being of your restaurant.

The first step in reducing waste is identifying your waste rate… which you can’t do without a reliable inventory.

Average waste rates are 3.11% for a full-service restaurant.

If your calculations show you that you’re currently above these percentages, you’re losing money, and wasting food, unnecessarily.

 

#4 Combat Theft

You want to trust your employees… and you should be able to.

Unfortunately, though, you can’t assume you’ll never hire a bad apple who tries to steal from you.

U.S. businesses lose $40 – $400 billion due to employee theft annually.

This theft contributes to the failure of 50% of all businesses that end up being shuttered.

Keeping a consistent inventory and investigating any glaring irregularities is the most efficient and reliable way to catch theft.

As a bonus, visibly taking and reviewing your inventory could be all the deterrent employees need to not stick anything in their bags before shift’s end.

#5 Prevent Over-Ordering

You don’t want your backroom to be a barren wasteland where culinary dreams go to die.

But you also don’t want the contents of your backroom to account for a disproportionately large percent of your restaurant’s capital.

Don’t know how many pounds of fish you’ll go through on your Friday all-you-can-eat fish-and-chips special?

There’s no doubt you’re taking an unnecessary risk when you place your food order.

With a weekly inventory management tool, you’ll know exactly how much fish you went through, how much you still have on hand, and how much you need to request from the supplier for next Friday’s festivities.

Inventory: One Task, Many Benefits

Inventory taking can seem tedious if not downright dull.

But it’s a task that actually pays off.

You use information you pull from your inventory to answer lots of questions:

“So, how is the restaurant doing…financially?”

“Do we use the same number of strawberries in the summer as we do in the winter?”

“Exactly how much food are we pitching?”

“Um…is someone stealing from us?”

“Do we really need to order more mayo? Don’t we have like 5 cases in the storeroom?”

With an inventory on your tablet and reports printed and ready to share, you’ll be able to answer these questions with authority and confidence.

And even though inventory is something you probably dread, it doesn’t have to be that bad.

If you employ some best practices, you can pretty much have your cake and eat it, too.

Inventory Best Practices

Just like there’s more than one way to make calamari… there’s more than one way to take inventory.

So if you find yourself having issues with inventory reliability… or you just dread inventory taking altogether… the problem might be your process.

And finding a process that works for your restaurant isn’t as hard as you think.

Better yet, we’d bet dollars to donuts you already have most of the tools you need.

So let’s start with some proven best practices to whip up some inventory-related enthusiasm.

#1 Stay Organized

Think about your stockroom.

Is it tidy, organized, and orderly?

Or is it an exercise in (well… kinda organized) chaos?

With the day-to-day rigors of running a restaurant staring you in the face, it’s easy to allow storage spaces to become a bit… haphazard.

After all, keeping them tidy takes time. And you’re busy.

But remember that any time you dedicate to keeping your cans stacked and your boxes shelved will pay off in faster shelf-to-sheet inventory taking.

Consider placing responsibility for your storage room organization on the shoulders of your assigned inventory takers.

Because these are the people who will most benefit from a tidy storage space, they’ll have a natural desire to see the storeroom tidy and organized.

Having a spic and span, organized storage space not only makes inventory taking easier… it also helps reduce waste.

Have your staff follow the First In, First Out (FIFO) rule.

By pulling old products out and putting new products behind them, you can make sure you use the older goods first before digging into the fresh stuff.

FIFO is important in any business… but it’s especially important in the restaurant biz.

That’s because old products aren’t just old.

They’re past their prime and, therefore… useless.

CREATE SECTIONS

Is your storage sectioned? Do you have a space for pastas, veggies, and fruits?

If you’re intermingling your produce and dry goods, inventory’s going to be a bit more difficult.

Sectioning your storage space not only makes inventory less cumbersome but also makes it easier to instruct staff to get something from the storeroom.

Instead of sending your employees on a scavenger hunt… “It’s on the third metal shelf, in the back left corner, behind the mustard, to the right of the avocados, about two shelves down from the top…

…you can simply say, “The mustard is on the second shelf in the condiments section.”

Ahhh, that’s refreshingly simple.

GROUP LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER

Counting boxes of cups is easier than counting sleeves or individual cups, right?

But for a busy worker who needs a 16-ounce coffee cup (and who’s not thinking of that inventory check coming up later in the week), opening a new box instead of looking for an already open one seems like the quickest option.

Remind staff that using open packages first is essential to a quicker inventory process.

And don’t forget to tell them it makes their job easier in the end, too.

You’ll likely end up with two open boxes from time to time, but if your staff understands the importance of the process, they’ll think twice before tearing into a new box.

#2 Train & Assign Your People

Thrusting the inventory clipboard or software into the hands of just any employee and sending him or her back to the stockroom… is a recipe for disaster.

To ensure maximum consistency and inventory reliability, you’ll need to have two to three dedicated inventory takers on your team.

Pick some of your most detail-oriented employees and “promote” them to inventory taker status.

Once you’ve made your selections, take the time to train them on proper inventory management.

From there, choose a select few of your in-house, order-receiving and shelf-stocking experts to make sure the processes put in place run like a well-oiled machine.

ASSIGN

Once your well-trained group is up and running, further refine the process.

Divide different inventory-related duties across your key staff members.

Assign team members to tackle the following inventory-related tasks:

  • Organize the stockroom
  • Receive orders
  • Count inventory
  • Do price lookups
  • Calculate COGS
  • Send financial reports

Bonus: By assigning these tasks, you’ve just created your own list of point people to ask when you need a question about inventory answered.

#3 MAKE IT HABIT

Just like the recipe for your signature marinara sauce follows a certain order, so should your inventory process.

A step-by-step process increases inventory reliability and improves the consistency between different inventory takers.

Your process should detail where the inventory taking should start and stop.

And what works for one restaurant won’t work for all.

Decide which style you think best fits. Options include:

  1. Working clockwise and moving around the room, starting with the door as 12 o’clock
  2. Counting from front to back and top to bottom
  3. Counting the cooler first and then moving to the dry storage
  4. Developing a system makes your job easier, too.

Once you’ve got your process down, you’ll be able to see at a glance how far through the inventory process your employees are just by stepping into the storage space.

PRO TIP: INCENTIVIZE

Already doing all of the above and your inventory is still questionably accurate at best? Tired of scolding the individual who miscounted or mis-shelved?

If you’re not, he or she probably is.

Instead, try using positive reinforcement.

Reward your most reliable and consistent inventory takers.

The incentive doesn’t always have to be in dollars and cents either… give your inventory taker a snazzy new uniform shirt or reward employees with an hour off with pay.You’ll likely see a boost in enthusiasm as well as inventory reliability.

Common Mistakes

“Phew, so glad inventory is done,” you say as you hang your clipboard back on the wall not to be looked at again until you once more see the jagged, red INVENTORY scrawled in your calendar.

If you’re doing inventory like this (or with Excel spreadsheets), the weekly task may seem less like part of your routine… and more like a dreaded form of managerial torture.

Despite the fact that inventory is a standard restaurant practice, many busy and dedicated restaurateurs make process-related mistakes… often, the same mistakes.

How many of these have you made?

#1 Ignoring Unused Inventory

Your stockroom and pantry should be dynamic places.

When they’re not, unused inventory is idle… taking up space… costing you money.

So whatever you do, don’t ignore it.

Taking inventory gives you a serious advantage— the opportunity to actually do something with items you have too much of.

Say you order 2 bags of flour a week like clockwork.

Instead of blindly placing the order only for it to pile up in the stockroom, look at your inventory, adjust your order, and hang on to more of your cash.

When you recognize a supply surplus, cut that item from your next order… and keep it cut until you’ve burned through most of your back stock.

Your storeroom will thank you.

Your employees will thank you.

Your budget will thank you.

#2 Allowing Food Waste

Food waste happens.

But one of the primary benefits of inventory taking is you can see how much you’re wasting.

You then have a chance to curb waste in your restaurant.

Empower your employees to feature surplus ingredients in daily specials.

They can play an active part in preventing over-ordering-related food waste by selling specials.

If you’ve found yourself with an extra case of crab legs, dream up a crab-leg containing appetizer to offer your diners.

Instead of printing special menus, have your servers verbally present the special to hungry patrons.

You will not only put otherwise wasted food to good use…

You’ll also remind your employees just how much the restaurant stands to lose from over-ordering.

#3 Estimating Quantities

Have you ever said, “Yep, that looks like about four dozen eggs,” without opening the cartons?

That’s a no-no.

An estimated inventory is as useless as the paper it’s printed on.

Though it’s not fun.. if you’re using an Excel spreadsheet or (gulp) a manual paper count method… you do actually have to count each and every item, every time.

If you’ve got just-the-right technology on your side, you can more confidently engage in guesstimation, minimize the possibility of miscounts, and still have the financial numbers you need.

#4 Failing to Investigate Theft

You went into the restaurant industry because you love food and service.

While you may have no desire to be a private investigator, if your inventory suggests an employee (or maybe two) is stealing, you need to take action.

The unfortunate fact is as much as 43% of retail loss (including the food service industry) is attributable to employee theft.

And shockingly, 75% of all employees report having stolen from an employer.

So how do you know if an employee is stealing?

Watch for variance between your COGS and your on-hand quantities.

If there is a difference, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is stealing… your chefs may simply be too heavy handed with an ingredient.

But it should trigger additional investigation… is this food waste or is this theft?

Of course, if the items that keep coming up missing are your best bottles of wines or even your finest cuts of meat, you probably have a case of employee theft on your hands.

The fact is… even the best employee isn’t immune from temptation.

If you’ve trained your employees on the importance of inventory, you may see an additional benefit: Showing your employees that keeping accurate inventory is a good way to keep their jobs.

And that means less turnover for you.

#5 Not Reviewing Your Reports

Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

Inventory can give you important metrics for managing the health of your business:

  • COGS – You simply cannot figure out your profit without Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).
  • Usage by Day – How fast are you going through arugula? With usage-by-day data, you’ll know the answer and can better guide ordering moving forward.
  • Invoice Data – From your product counts to your per-line costs, you need this data at your fingertips, not stuffed in a drawer.
  • Price Trend & Food Cost Information – A spike in the price of avocados could tank your profit margins on that guacamole app.

If you recognize the spike, however, you can be proactive instead of feeling the burn after the fact.

We get it… you don’t like crunching numbers… most of us don’t.

But frankly, outdated and antiquated technologies… like manual spreadsheets or clunky software that requires bulky hardware… are holding you back.

Seriously. It’s time. Give. It. Up.

Tips & Tricks for Inventory

Taking inventory is like perfecting a soufflé.

You’re not necessarily going to be an expert at first, but with some practice you’ll soon master the techniques necessary for success.

We’d like to help you skip rounds of trial and error… so here are our super-secret, insider tips.

With them, you can get on the fast track to becoming an inventory master.

#1 Get Staff Buy-In

You know how important your inventory is… but do your employees know?

If your staff doesn’t understand how utterly critical inventory is to your restaurant’s health, they may not dedicate much effort to making sure they’ve got it right.

Take time to formally train your employees on inventory importance and practice.

Your employees need to know that having accurate figures can improve your bottom line. And that directly impacts the restaurant’s success and their job security.

#2 Schedule It On the Regular

When do you take inventory?

If your answer is, “When I have some downtime,” you might as well say, “I don’t take inventory.”

Let’s be honest… downtime doesn’t exist in the restaurant business.

To make sure inventory actually happens, schedule a consistent time to take it each week.

Maintaining a regularly set schedule improves the dependability of your stock count figures.

Because you’re taking it at the same point in the week each week, you should see consistency between figures.

If you don’t see that consistency?

Well, take a look back at section 2 to see what you can do for a fix.

And don’t make this harder on yourself than it has to be.

If you try to take inventory during the lunch rush, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure.

During your busy times, you need all hands on the line… not in the stockroom counting garlic cloves.

Schedule inventory for the quiet time between lunch and dinner to make the process as painless as possible.

#3 Complete Inventory Pre-Delivery

After a big delivery, does your stockroom look like a tornado passed through?

You’re far from alone.

Even if you have a place for everything, and everything’s in its place… delivery day is going to be hectic.

If you get your deliveries on Wednesdays, make inventory-taking a Tuesday afternoon task.

Trust us.

Your inventory takers will appreciate this thoughtful… and oh so simple… step.

Give your receivers room to confirm the accuracy of your deliveries.

Then, you can add the new totals to your existing inventory figures, and you’ll have an enviably accurate goods-on-hand figure.

#4 Perform Spot Checks

You can’t count each and every item each and every day.

But you can pick a few to spot check each week.

Select 4 particularly pricey items each week… or a few items on which you consistently seem to be running low… and inventory these products daily for a week.

Spot checks are particularly helpful in situations where you already suspect certain items are going missing.

The information you collect will give you a better idea of when the missing items may have walked out of the kitchen.

#5 Lock It Up

Treat your inventory like you do your cash.

Because it does, in fact, represent dollars and cents.

Keep your inventory’s reliability safe by keeping it locked up.

With your inventory in a secured location, you can rest assured that it’s not being tampered with and that your figures are just as dependable as they were the day you got them.

What do you keep under lock and key?

Items that you care about most.

If your staff sees you taking steps to ensure the security of your inventory, they’ll know how much you care about it… which can inspire them to care a bit more, too.

#6 Don’t Buy Too Much

One of the easiest ways to keep your restaurant financially fit is to limit your inventory.

But how much is enough?

This question has plagued restaurateurs for years.

You don’t want to tie all of your money up in inventory or risk losing lots of money due to spoilage.

But you also don’t want to run out of your most popular produce or priciest proteins.

We suggest keeping your inventory at 1.5 times your weekly COGS.

Figuring out exactly how much food 1.5 times your COGS is for your restaurant is easy once you have an inventory that’s reliable enough that you can calculate COGS.

#7 Automate Your Inventory

There’s no way around it… you should be automating your inventory process.

You don’t have time for paper-tracking sheets or manual spreadsheets… especially when the last 5 years have produced easy-to-use, affordable restaurant apps.

Sure, there are lots of ways you can do inventory.

But there are a few universal truths to consider when deciding which method is best.

SPREADSHEETS. SUCK.

There really is no other way to say it.

From tedious manual entry to time-consuming formula creation, spreadsheet-based inventory methods are full of tasks you simply don’t have time for.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT

It’s not just catchy… it’s true.

You can use an app to do everything from turn up the heat in your dining room to making dinner reservations.

We live in an app-based world.

And there’s a logical reason why so many have embraced apps… they make life a hell of a lot easier!

THERE’S A FINANCIAL BENEFIT

Automation makes things easier… and it improves your bottom line.

By automating your inventory taking, you can do it faster… you can do it more accurately… and you can make the task simple enough that anyone can do it.

Do yourself and your business a solid: Use an app or specifically designed software to take your inventory.

The time savings, the simplicity, the ease of report pulling… all of these features will have you wondering why you waited so long.

Inventory Software & Apps

The modern restaurateur doesn’t have to go it alone when it comes to inventory taking.

You can increase the efficiency and accuracy of your inventory by putting the right process and technology to work.

And the good news is, we’ve done the hard work for you… We’ve researched and put together the ultimate list of inventory technology.

Use this list to find the best inventory software & apps for your business.

What Should I Look for in Inventory Technology?

Fortunately for you, inventory technology has been around for a while.

It means you have a lot of options.

It also means you neither need to nor should settle for the first solution you find.

Instead, be critical and consider some key elements that will impact your long-term satisfaction.

SETUP TIME

Once you’ve chosen your inventory solution, you’ll want to get started… like, right away. While you shouldn’t necessarily dismiss an otherwise strong option simply because it will involve some setup, you should factor setup time into your decision-making process.

EASE OF USE

Certain struggles are par for the course when you’re managing restaurant inventory… but your solution shouldn’t be one of them.

Spend some time poking around restaurant inventory solutions and sitting on demos.

Think critically not just about how easy this will be for you to use, but how easy it will be for the team members you entrust with inventory taking.

FEATURES

The features that will be important to you aren’t necessarily the same ones that are important to the owner of the restaurant down the block.

Maybe you want to easily extrapolate information from food usage data.

Or perhaps it’s important that you be able to review inventory history with ease.

Put some careful thought into which features you’ll need most, and then make sure you select a solution that offers them.

COST EFFECTIVE

A good restaurant inventory software or app won’t come free, but neither should it cost you more than you can recoup.

The best inventory options pay for themselves by reducing labor costs and limiting food waste.

SUPPORT

Even with an easy-to-use system, you’ll likely need help from time to time.

Before you make your final decision, take the time to investigate the support options that come with your inventory solution.

Can you reach support staff via email?

How about over the phone?

Is there a live online help portal?

Is it available after traditional working hours (because you are, in fact, out there running a restaurant)?

Be sure available means of support meet your needs.

How Do I Choose the Right Inventory Solution for My Business?

It’s stressful making a final decision.

Particularly if your budget is tight and your time limited, choosing incorrectly can feel like a monumental commitment with permanent repercussions.

Once you’ve narrowed your options down a bit, ask yourself a couple of key questions.

WHAT CAN I AFFORD?

In deciding what you can afford, look at your current food waste and your current cost of staffing an inventory taker.

If it looks like you’re wasting quite a bit and racking up some major man-hours, divide these figures by two, and you’ll see what you’d save if you cut waste and time in half.

Can you afford to invest this amount into your new inventory solution?

WHAT DO I NEED?

Bells and whistles are great.

But do you need them?

Why pay for a solution that offers much more than you’ll ever use?

Try to find the ideal fit for you… or look for something scalable that can grow with your business.

WHAT’S THE RIGHT FIT?

Inventory systems aren’t one-size-fits-all.

There’s an array of solutions on the market.

Consider your business’ size, your workers’ needs and your existing technology… because you may want to integrate your inventory system with other hardware or software you’ve already purchased.

Also, once you’ve narrowed down your list, research each company’s reputation.

Look specifically for product feedback and reports of customer service experience. There’s nothing like being in a tech jam without the quality support you need.

And what about post-install training? Does the vendor offer online videos or on-site training options?

Think about which of these options would be most useful to your business.

It’s also helpful to know how restaurant technology companies work in general.

Rip-offs are all too common in this sector.

Watch out for bait-and-switch schemes or situations where you’ll wind up being nickeled and dimed for every little thing.

If you invite one of these less-reputable companies into your kitchen, don’t be surprised to find them eating you out of a fortune before they leave the table.

What’s On the Market Today?

Whatever first enticed you to enter the restaurant industry, we’re almost certain it was not the allure of doing restaurant inventory week after week.

Be that as it may, to keep your business solvent and turn a profit doing whatever it is you love to do, you’ll have to learn a little bit about a lot of things… one of them being the inventory process.

Before you can best decide what’s right for you, you need to fully understand your current options and the categories they fall into.

#1 THE BIG BOYS

Once upon a time, the only technology-based inventory solution at the disposal of restaurant owners and operators were complex software and hardware packages.

Not only were they complicated… they were costly.

What’s more, the implementation of these solutions was… and largely still is… quite a time-consuming undertaking.

Who’s offering this?

Barcode inventory control companies, including these guys:

  • Wasp
  • Syrus
  • Keyence
  • Orca Inventory
  • ChefSheet
  • Ctuit
  • RADAR
  • MenuMax
  • RestaurantMagic
  • EZChef
  • ChefTech

Who should use this?

Solutions like these are best suited to larger chain restaurants who can leverage their size to get lower rates on these products and services.

Who shouldn’t use this?

Smaller businesses.

If you’re running a sole site… or even a restaurant with a couple of locations scattered around your immediate area… this solution isn’t ideal.

For companies like yours, the costs outweigh the benefits.

You’ll likely be promised lots but delivered little if any real benefit, putting you on the losing side of the equation.

What’s the primary drawback?

To answer this question, start by asking another: What do you do most while you’re taking inventory?

Answer: you move around.

So, does it make sense to try to do this with a stationary, bulky system?

Nope.

#2 POS ADD-ONS

But wait, you say, I’m already using technology in my restaurant… namely, my POS system.

Can’t I integrate my inventory system with that?

Yep. You sure can.

In fact, there are quite a few companies who offer inventory management systems that entirely depend on being integrated with existing POS systems.

These solutions are designed to work with what you already have… that is, as long as what you have is compatible.

Unlike with the Big Boys, you often don’t have to buy loads of hardware with a POS system… though you might have to buy at least some.

You also don’t usually have to dedicate as much time to getting it up and rolling, because you’re not implementing an entirely new system… just building on what you already have.

Who’s offering this?

Lots of people, actually. The big power-players include:

  • Fishbowl
  • Netsuite
  • Peachworks
  • TouchBistro
  • Revel Systems
  • Restaurant 365
  • Maitre’D
  • Simple Order
  • Jolt
  • Compeat

Who should use this?

Restaurant chains. Because these systems capitalize on what you already have in place, they’re usually reasonably affordable… even for smaller chains.

Who shouldn’t use this?

These solutions are still less than ideal for stand-alone restaurants.

Even though they aren’t as expensive as their older brothers, they can still prove quite costly… particularly for someone trying to run an independent business and make a profit while keeping costs at customer-appealing levels.

What’s the primary drawback?

By and large, these solutions still aren’t all that mobile.

Sure, you can purchase a barcode gun to scan your items. This does at least allow you to move around the stockroom.

But wait… did you accidentally scan that crate of eggs twice?

You’ll need to stop what you’re doing and check the main POS computer. Ugh.

That’s costly in terms of wasted man-hours… not to mention just plain annoying.

#3 INVENTORY APPS

App-based solutions allow you to use whatever mobile device is convenient as an inventory- taking tool… and they can (nearly) automate the entire inventory process.

Need to take inventory (and we know you do)?

Yeah, there’s an app for that… and many of them do a lot more than just take inventory.

Need current pricing?

No problem, some apps update pricing each time you get a new invoice.

What about accounting integration?

Yep. Lots of them have that, too.

With a restaurant inventory app that integrates with Quickbooks and a variety of other accounting software, you can save the time and effort previously dedicated to data entry.

Want to monitor your per-item spending patterns? You often can do so with an app-based inventory solution.

Painless and powerful, that’s the idea of a quality app.

Who’s offering you this?

A few notable companies include:

  • Orderly
  • TopShelf
  • Fulcrum
  • HotSchedules
  • MarketMan
  • BlueCart

Who should use this?

If you’ve got a single restaurant location or small chain, this solution is ideal for you. It’s cost-effective… it’s easy to set up… and did we mention… it’s mobile.

Who shouldn’t use this?

Basically, app-based solutions tend to be good for everyone. Many of them are scalable, making them a great fit

for businesses both large or small. It’s essentially as close to a universally ideal solution as you’ll find.

What’s the primary drawback?

Other than the fact that you’ll have to learn a new app, there’s no major downside. The design of these apps solve many of the issues that plagued their predecessors.

The Orderly Way

Restaurants have seen a massive shift in technology.

It started out with manual spreadsheets.

Then it moved to clunky, server-based technology… think 90s POS systems delivering hardware and software that took months to set up and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Then came the technology of the 2010s… cloud-based software that was much easier, much more useful, and definitely cheaper.

And now we’re seeing this same shift happen with apps.

They’re easy to use, deployed in minutes, and cost next to nothing.

Save 12 Inventory Hours a Month

That’s where the Orderly App comes in.

It’s designed to take inventory and give you COGS in half the time with no spreadsheets, no data entry and no price lookup.

Just download the Orderly App and we’ll do the rest…

DO-IT-FOR-ME SETUP

  • Send us your existing inventory spreadsheet
  • Include your ingredient, location, category, UOM and price
  • We’ll create your shelf-to sheet inventory guide

TAKE A COUNT

  • Perform a mobile count from your phone
  • Swipe right… swipe left… counting is simple
  • The Orderly App will automatically update your prices based on your last invoice

SEE YOUR REPORTS

  • Access your Cost of Goods Sold report
  • View starting, ending and used inventory by date
  • Monitor inventory usage by day
  • Monitor inventory days on hand
  • We’ll automatically update pack-size level pricing
  • Export your inventory valuation report into Excel

KEEP EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE

  • Schedule regular inventories with alerts
  • Email reports to your chef, GM, accountant and owner

Keep Your Cash In Your Business

Inventory has historically been an area of struggle for restaurateurs.

But at Orderly, we believe it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s a digital age, and technology is at its best… technology that provides a powerful alternative to manual methods or archaic, clunky software and hardware systems.

We created the Orderly App as an easy-to-use, do-it-for-me restaurant app.

No spreadsheets. No data entry. No price lookup.

Just accurate inventory in half the time.

Do yourself a favor… ditch the spreadsheets and clunky technology.

Download the Orderly App today!

OrderlyThe 2017 Complete Guide to Restaurant Inventory

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