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Inventory, Shminventory…

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Not many restaurant managers and owners understand the importance of inventory. Neither do their staff. Grab a staff member and ask them about inventory then let us know how many times you got one of the below responses:

  • What’s inventory?
  • It’s just an excuse for a manager to make me do everything one night a week so they can do “inventory”.
  • I’m just a waiter, that’s not part of my job.
  • It’s got nothing to do with me.

The fact that they don’t care isn’t necessarily their fault. Ask yourself the following:

  • Do they know what inventory is?
  • Has it been explained to them how inventory affects their jobs?
  • Has anyone ever explained to them that a good inventory could equal better pay raises?

It is not only the manager’s responsibility to run a good inventory. Every restaurant has to function as a team to succeed. A strong team will run good numbers over time. It isn’t going to happen overnight, it is going to take practice and patience!

The Importance of Inventory Management

Still not convinced?

Let’s create an employee and we’ll call her Judy. Judy works a regular shift schedule (you love her for this). You will find Judy in the restaurant on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s say the restaurant serves burgers and chips. Each meal is served with 200grams of chips. It seems pretty straightforward but don’t get too comfortable. Judy is an excellent waitress and takes pride in her work. Judy thinks that 200grams seems a little light so she always adds a couple extra chips to make the plate look more balanced. Judy’s customers love her.

Judy serves around 25 meals per which equates to 25 servings of chips. Each serving is supposed to be 200grams but Judy always give 300grams.

So, what’s the big deal?

If Judy serves 25 meals per shift that is a recipe inventory of 5 kilograms of chips, but Judy is serving 300grams which equates to 7.5 kilograms per shift. Judy works 5 days a week making her total 37.5 kilograms and has 2 weeks off each year.

Judy’s total for the year is 1875 kilograms per year OR 625 kilograms of extra chips given (at no charge to the customer) each year. Say the cost for 200grams of chips is R6.00, this means there is a loss of R18 750.00. That’s almost R20 000.00 you are losing in profit each year!

Stress the importance of inventory to your staff and watch your bottom line improve!