Best Guidelines for Performing Inventory

Food makes up the majority of a restaurant's inventory, how well it manages its inventory will be vital to the restaurant's success. Here are ten guidelines to minimize food waste and increase profits.

1. Check stock levels often. Certain products should be monitored on a daily basis, while others need to be reviewed twice a week. In any case, it is essential to have an accurate count before ordering new items each week.

2. Assign a specific day and time to take inventory and stick to it. Taking inventory at different times of day or on different days of the week can lead to inaccurate results. It is best to take inventory either after the restaurant has closed or before it opens, as goods should not be sold while taking inventory.

3. Complete an inventory check before any new delivery arrives, then incorporate the new stock into the total. Do not attempt to take inventory while the shipment is being made to prevent the possibility of double-counting items.

4. Before taking inventory, dispose of expired items, consolidate similar items, and overall organize the stock areas.

5. When counting inventory, prioritize the items that are being utilized in a First In, First Out (FIFO) manner. Place older products at the front of shelves so they are used before newer items. Furthermore, keep the amount of items in stock to a minimum to minimize theft and spoilage.

6. Create and utilize inventory counting sheets for regular intervals such as daily, weekly, and monthly. Make sure to be consistent with what is being tracked and the unit of measurement (e.g. pounds, number of items, boxes, etc.). Variations in the items monitored could have a great impact on the overall inventory count.

7. Conduct inventory checks with a partner to avoid mistakes and discourage attempts to skew the results or steal merchandise. Be sure to check the shelves and record the details on the sheet.

8. Calibrate scales used to weigh inventory and measure portions on a weekly basis.

9. Have the same personnel conduct the inventory. Repetition of the task will enable them to become more efficient and accurate.

10. When pricing items that vary in cost from week to week (such as ground beef), it is important to utilize a FIFO (First In, First Out) costing method to ensure accurate costing, rather than using the most recent price.

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