Most restaurant owners find it challenging to navigate business interruptions, leading to less effective inventory management due to a temporary shutdown. Sometimes, the business shuts down multiple times and causes a significant loss of revenue.
There are many reasons restaurants and bars undergo closures temporarily, including a new construction project, renovation, rebranding, or update to safety standards. Although a temporary closure does not lead to negative consequences, if you fail to manage your inventory, back-of-house (BOH), or front-of-house (FOH) operations, it will negatively affect your customers’ experiences.
How to control your inventory when your restaurant is closed temporarily and bring revenues from your customers? It is essential to take some steps and protect your business by maintaining your inventory and positive cash flow until you are open again.
According to Toast, 52% of restaurants and bars in the U.S stated that it was challenging to streamline revenues due to higher costs and less inventory utilization. In today’s article, we will give you some practical tips to overcome this challenge and use your inventory effectively. Read on!
Ghost kitchens, also known as digital kitchens, cloud kitchens, or dark kitchens, are an effective way to use your inventory when your restaurant is closed to the public. For instance, many restaurant owners followed a ghost kitchen strategy during the Covid-19.
A recent research study shows that the ghost kitchen market reached a whopping $3.4 billion during the pandemic. It is 20% higher than in previous years. So, if your restaurant is temporarily closed and wants to utilize your inventory to maintain the income flow, make sure you implement a solid ghost kitchen strategy.
That way, you can remain fully operational and serve your customers. A ghost kitchen strategy enables you to utilize your existing inventory without making it go waste. Ensure you label everything within reaching distancing of your staff, including chefs, to accelerate cooking time. The purpose is to use your inventory and offer quality services.
For instance, if you want to reduce food prep time, train your employees and encourage them to use the inventory items effectively. Remember, this includes chopping vegetables and fruits ahead of time, measuring or combining seasonings, and prepare a large amount of meat. We recommend the following:
- Offers dishes on your menu that can use the existing food inventory
- Optimize portion sizes and focus on food inventory
- Track your inventory using a restaurant inventory management system like KEXY
- Avoid wasting food inventory by utilizing it effectively
- If you are short of inventory, make sure you shop locally to reduce costs
- Use restaurant stock management software to increase efficiency
Maximize the Use of Ingredients
Use a restaurant inventory management app to analyze your inventory and gain insights. If the data shows that you have too much inventory with increased chances of wastage, make sure you utilize it in your current menu.
Discuss with your chefs about the ingredients and ask them whether they can use them in different menus. For example, if you offer French food, and the demand for Mexican food is high, ask yourself: can I use the ingredients for Mexican food items?
If the answer is “yes,” go for it. That way, you can increase the ingredients use, reduce costs, and increase your revenue. Implement a social media strategy to engage your customers.
Ask questions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and collect feedback to ensure you have the right items on your menu and determine whether you can use ingredients in these food items.
Optimize Your Menu
Temporary closure of your restaurant business means labor shortages and ineffective inventory management, especially if you don’t know how to operate a ghost kitchen. Therefore, we recommend finding innovative ways to optimize your menus and deliver delicious meals to your customers.
Identify and adapt menus that focus on popular and in-demand dishes. Make sure these dishes hold up well for delivery and takeout. The purpose is to instill confidence in your customers and make them trust your business.
Engage your customers through emails, social media, and your business website, and encourage them to purchase food items listed on your menu. Ensure you promote food items that use the current ingredients inventory, allowing your customers to experience unique dining. Use KEXY, a popular restaurant inventory management system, to optimize your inventory and get the most out of it.
Use existing ingredients to tailor your menu needs. Avoid trendy food items if the stock or inventory does not align with them. Build dishes that use common ingredients, such as meat and chicken. If you have versatile and quick-prep ingredients, you can use them in different dishes to ensure consistency with all orders.
DIY meals kits allow you to generate more sales because they are cheaper than takeout and decrease the risks of deliveries arriving cold or late. When people prepare food at home, they don’t know how much vegetables, grains, or chicken each plate will get, and that’s the reason why most people in the U.S are notorious for overeating.
On the other hand, meal kit delivery is an excellent way to entice your customers because each meal has a pre-measured and optimized portion. Make sure you use the existing inventory before ordering more. Likewise, we recommend giving heartier portions but focus on calories count and nutritional information.
Cooking healthy is not always easy for people in the U.S. So, motivate your customers to consider your DIY meal kits and persuade them that each meal is healthy and contains organic ingredients.
That way, your customers will order up healthy meals, including low-carb, low-calorie, low-sodium, gluten-free, and more. Even if you have closed your restaurant, you can deliver DIY meal kits to streamline your income flow.
According to a survey study conducted by TD Bank, restaurants that focus on DIY meal kits can streamline their income flow and generate higher revenues. As palates have broadened and changed, people eat many different cuisines and flavors. You can introduce people to new flavors using your existing inventory and help them learn how to cook.
That way, you can use your ingredients in most dishes and provide instructions to your customers, allowing them to cook at home. So, this is the biggest benefit of DIY meal kits for customers, and at the same time, you are utilizing ingredients effectively.
Moreover, if you want to stand out, offer types of meal kits that are not available quickly at the supermarket. Although you will spend money on the packaging, the significant advantage is that you can use your inventory and avoid wastage.
If you have closed your restaurant business temporarily for whatever reason, you don’t want to waste your inventory because you have spent a lot of money on it. So, when you see that you have access to food inventory or ingredients that will go bad soon, make sure you incorporate them into your existing dishes.
Let your customers know via social media and website about any menu changes or come up with special offers. That way, you won’t lose out on potential sales and avoid wasting ingredients even if you have closed your restaurant to the public.
Use the tips and tricks above, and don’t forget to implement a cutting-edge restaurant stock management software or restaurant inventory management system to get the job done accurately.