How to Take Food Inventory Faster

When it comes to efficiency in the kitchen, organization is a must. From commercial restaurant equipment to your walk-in freezer, keeping things tidy is imperative for keeping a kitchen running successfully. Part of this imperative includes taking food inventory. Taking inventory helps you calculate your food cost, and evaluate your spending and day-to-day operations to maximize profitability. When your inventory depletes due to waste, the poor handling of food, theft, transfers, or free food items, it’s important to assess what’s left and adjust your ordering and spending accordingly.

If you find yourself spending too much time doing inventory in your restaurant, read on. These simple tips can help you drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your inventory and improve the way you operate your restaurant, letting you put your commercial restaurant equipment to better use.

Stay Clean and Organized

In order to function at its best, your kitchen should be tidy and organized. This means keeping your commercial restaurant equipment in good working order to minimize breakdowns and extraneous costs, cleaning that commercial restaurant equipment at the end of every business day, clearly labeling containers and shelves, and keeping everything visible for inventory. This step alone can speed up the inventory process tremendously, since you won’t have to spend time rummaging around while counting and recording.

Do It Weekly

This is especially important for independent restaurants and single-unit operations, which are accounted for by about 7 of 10 restaurants in the U.S. Independent restaurants need to optimally compete with chains, most of which do their inventories weekly rather than monthly. Basically, the more regularly you take inventory, the more accurate your food cost calculations will be. For most restaurants, Sundays are the optimal day of the week to take inventory. Why? That’s when inventory will be at its lowest, and Monday through Sunday is a natural calendar for inventorying.

Count Efficiently

There are several ways you can streamline the actual act of taking inventory. First, separate your inventory into cost categories. By categorizing groups like meat, dairy, seafood, and produce, you make cost calculations easier, which is part of the point of inventory. Next, arrange your spreadsheet so that it reflects the order in which you count the inventory. You’ll spend less time searching and more time counting. Finally, use two people—one to count, and one to record. As they say, two sets of eyes are better than one, so in addition to being faster, fewer mistakes will be made overall. If possible, use the same two people every week.

Commercial Restaurant Equipment

ShortOrder brings you the best commercial restaurant equipment in the industry, from quality ice machines to top-of-the-line Gen2 ranges. For more tips about how to get the most out of your commercial restaurant equipment, and how commercial restaurant equipment can improve your business, keep reading What’s Cooking, and follow ShortOrder on Twitter and like us Facebook.

Tags: commercial restaurant equipment, food inventory, restaurant industry, shortorder, taking food inventory

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