If you are the owner or manager of a restaurant, it is essential that you understand how to take inventory on a regular basis. Doing so is necessary for everything from filling out your tax forms correctly to making the right orders each week from your vendors.
Many culinary artists dream of owning a restaurant where they get to choose the theme and menu. Good managers take pride in having the appropriate foods and other items necessary to present delicious appetizers, main dishes and desserts that are on the menu.
Unfortunately, many people fail to understand how to properly maintain control over their inventory. With smaller venues, a lot of people think that they can keep track of it in their heads or with quick notations on a spreadsheet, or even a piece of paper!
On the other hand, as restaurants grow, it can be increasingly difficult to maintain proper governance over the inventory on hand. Even between these extremes many managers have difficulty with this aspect of the job.
So, why does inventory management matter so much? First of all, you must conduct a complete inventory in preparation for filing your taxes. The products on hand are considered restaurant assets. Don’t risk tangling with the IRS, make sure you handle this correctly.
While making certain you are in good graces with the powers that be, you also need to take inventory so you know what things you need, what things need to be written off, and generally to assess the financial state of affairs in relation to your assets.
No matter how many or how few offerings are on your menu, you need to have fresh ingredients available to create these delightful dishes. Improper inventory management can make that difficult or impossible.
For example, many products begin to lose vitamins, minerals and other health-giving benefits when sitting on the shelf. If you have ordered too much of a product, the longer it sits, the less useful it will become. In some cases, you will not be able to preserve the extra in a way that it won’t rot, pushing the restaurant further into the red.
Of course, you can’t be too conservative either. Particularly with your specialty items that bring people in regularly, lack of availability can begin to chase customers away.
So, now that you can see some of the potential problems you are going to face without the regularly needed inventory runs. Thankfully, the process can be much simpler today than in the past.
Instead of relying on pencil and charted paper, you can find some excellent spreadsheets and documents that can simplify the entire process. Some have features that will help you predict the amount needed based on your usual orders. Make a second spreadsheet to notate the equipment, furniture and other non-food items owned by the restaurant.
Determine the best way to schedule your inventory checks and post the list in a visible location. This way, you and your staff will be ready when the day rolls around.