Inventory Categories in Restaurants

By: KEXY Team
January 22, 2024
News And Tips

A Quick Guide to Organizing Your Inventories to Maximize Your Profits

Have you ever encountered this in your restaurant? The chef is planning out the meal for the week. The shift manager recorded only half a pound of sweet potatoes in the storeroom in the most recent inventory she reviewed.

In order to get the new shipment in on Tuesday night, she orders it to arrive just before opening. By the end of the week, her order is nearly exhausted, just as she had planned. But then the shift manager discovers ten pounds of sweet potatoes hidden behind some beer kegs in the back.

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Your kitchen now has a whole lot of sweet potatoes at its disposal, and your chef has to come up with a way to use them up before they go bad.

You should have arranged those sweet potatoes with the other root vegetables in your stocktake. What happened to them?

Your inventory management could result in a chaotic kitchen and higher restaurant costs if your inventory organization is not up to par. You would have a harder time managing your inventory.

Inventory counts are easier to perform in a kitchen that is well-organized. There are fewer errors in the counts because employees can complete them more quickly. Keeping accurate stocktakes means you don’t run out of food or overorder anything, which saves you money by freeing up staff.

What is the best way to organize a restaurant’s inventory? As a first step, you need to determine a standardized set of inventory categories that will help you optimize inventory control.

Restaurant inventory management is optimized with inventory organization

Controlling inventory in a restaurant involves keeping an accurate count of all stocktakes in order to ensure that consistent inventory is maintained for the restaurant’s budget. When you have greater control, you have a better understanding of everything that comes into and leaves your restaurant.

Inventory Categories

In order to manage inventory efficiently, restaurants need to keep their costs in check while maintaining high-quality dining experiences.

It is possible to reduce food waste and control portioning by keeping a small inventory of ingredients. You can easily check the amount of each ingredient you have and how often it is used with a well-organized stocktake.

Organizing your food inventory will also

  • Allowing staff to focus on other tasks by streamlining counts
  • By reducing the wait time for orders, turnover can be increased
  • Theft reduction
  • Improve the accuracy of inventory forecasts
  • Keeping accurate budgets is important for owners

Restaurant Inventory Types

Food and beverage types tend to be grouped into categories for restaurant inventory. Organizing food into categories such as dry goods, meat and seafood, vegetables, fruits, and dairy can be useful for restaurants. Beer, wine, and spirits may be listed in one category, while soft drinks and juices may be listed in another.

Consistency is imperative when it comes to categorizing and describing the ingredients.

Ensure everything is stored in the correct place by labeling shelves after you’ve established your categories.

What is the best way to organize inventory in a restaurant?

Two questions should be answered when organizing your inventory:

  • In order to maximize efficiency in my kitchen, how should I organize my inventory?
  • Is there any way that I can organize inventory so that counting stocktake is easy and accurate?
Efficiency through organization

Every restaurant should organize its ingredients according to the first-in-first-out principle. Fast-perishable ingredients should be organized in this manner. You should place the milk you bought yesterday in front of the milk you stocked two days ago.

Cooks should have easy access to items like salt and oil that are regularly used. A list of ingredients used in the most popular dishes should be placed close to a list of ingredients that aren’t quite as widely used.

Categories should never mix and all items should be visible. Staff can find things quickly without digging around.

Following these rules can reduce preparation time, shorten order-to-table times, and increase turnover.

Organizing for Inventory Counts

Having items visible and in categories that never mix keeps counts easy and accurate, as well. Staff can complete their inventories quickly and move on to other tasks. They can order ingredients in a timely manner without over-ordering, as well.

Food categories are the most common way to group stocktakes. In your refrigerator, you’ll place your dairy products in one place, while your meats will reside in another. A separate category will be created for each fruit, vegetable, and grain.

Organizing spices according to their frequency of use or alphabetizing them is also an option. Oils and condiments can also be organized this way.

Regardless of how you organize your inventory, keeping the categories consistent and communicating the importance of consistent categories to your team are the two most important things to bear in mind.

A Guide to Counting the Sheets on a Shelf

A shelf-to-sheet count matches the inventory categories on the shelves with the categories on your stock-taking sheets. The inventory is then performed according to the same procedure every time, moving from the top of the sheet to the bottom of the sheet and then the last category on the shelf.

The result is a quicker and easier inventory count and a greater awareness of missing items.

Organizing inventory can be improved with inventory management software.

The shelf-to-sheet method is very efficient at keeping an inventory, but it can be labor-intensive and highly error-prone. Inputting actual numbers into a spreadsheet can result in mistakes. You can accidentally delete rows or columns, or formulas can break.

Using inventory management software, on the other hand, you can automate the inventory process and store all of your inventory information in a safe, mobile app.

You can organize your stocktake with the help of an inventory management app

  • App provides you with the ability to create inventory categories that can then be replicated on your shelves.
  • Organizing the most frequently used items in the kitchen for maximum efficiency.  

In addition to being able to organize and estimate your sitting inventory, a management app will allow you to automate the process of ordering and budgeting as it will provide you with automated alerts when the stock runs low, food and vendor cost comparisons, and recipe cards that control portion size.

In order for your restaurant inventory categories to work for you and your staff, you need to put some thought into them. For example, you should make sure these categories are consistent and illustrate how you use your ingredients in the restaurant. Ideally, they should be able to help you keep your stocktake organized so you can minimize food costs while maximizing efficiency.

Inventory Control Through Computerization

Computerized systems are used by many people today in order to calculate, track, and extend inventory levels. This system enables the restaurant to have a greater degree of control and more accurate control over the inventory that is on hand, as well as the costs associated with that inventory. A major benefit of these systems is that they give you access to information such as your order history as well as the best price you have ever paid. Furthermore, these systems can help you predict demand levels throughout the year. Some of these programs, however, are also integrated with the POS system used by the restaurant to track sales, and can even remove a menu item from an inventory list when the waiter registers the sale of any menu item on the terminal in the restaurant. As a result, if a customer orders one chicken dish from the menu, all the ingredients required to prepare one portion of the chicken are discounted from our inventory. As a result of this, management has access to a constantly up-to-date and perpetual inventory of most inventory items.

Many smaller businesses use spreadsheet applications to manage inventory, so if you are in charge of ordering and inventory, you should also be familiar with a program like Microsoft Excel. The invoices that come with your supplies provide the information the program needs to make the calculations correctly. So you will have to enter the quantities and prices of the goods you received most recently into the computer program either by yourself or by the restaurant’s purchaser. When these prices and quantities are used to calculate the cost of the items on hand, the cost of the items on hand is automatically calculated. If the information you enter into the computer is accurate, you can also save money with this automated process – it can save you an enormous amount of time. With any inventory system, there will always be some possibility of error, but with computerized assistance, this risk will be reduced to a minimum.

Physical Inventory Pricing and Costing

Physical Inventory

In the case of online purchases, the cost of the item can vary widely from one order to another. A can of pineapple may cost two dollars one week, two dollars the next week, and two dollars the following week. It is difficult to decide what to use as a cost in the physical inventory form unless individual cans have been marked, as that will result in the daily inventory report reflecting the change in price.

The actual cost for each item on the shelf can be difficult to determine, but there are several different ways to determine the actual cost for each item on the shelves. For the purpose of determining the value of the stock that is on hand, the last price paid for the product is used as the most commonly used method. In other words, if a can of pineapple last costs $2.60 per can and there are 25 cans on hand, the total value of the pineapples is assumed to be $65 (25 x $2.60) even if some of the cans may not have been purchased at $2.60 per can.

In another methodology for costing, the stock is assumed to have rotated properly and is referred to as the FIFO system (first in, first out). Therefore, if the stock records have been kept up-to-date, it would be more possible to determine the value of the stock if these records had been kept up-to-date.

It is important to keep track of your inventory if you want to manage your kitchen effectively. It is important for a manager to be able to keep track of what supplies are on hand at any given time so that they may plan food orders, calculate food costs from the previous inventory, and adjust menu items accordingly. In order to keep track of inventory, it is possible to spot potential problems with shrinkage and waste by keeping an eye on it.

It is like checking your bank account every once in a while to manage inventory. I would point out that the manager should be interested in the value of the materials (supplies) in the storeroom and in the kitchen just as you are concerned about how much money you have in the bank, and whether that money is paying you enough interest.

It is important to remember that an inventory is basically everything that you will find in your establishment. If there are things in the company’s inventory that cost money to the company, such as dry goods, pots, pans, uniforms, liquor, linens, or anything else that may be considered inventory, this should be counted. There should be a separate count of kitchen items from front-of-house items, bar items, and whatever else there is.

The principles of inventory control can be applied to any business no matter how big or small it is. The number of people who are involved in the different steps will often be more and sometimes entire teams, while in small operations the task of managing inventory may fall under the responsibility of one or two key people.

In order to achieve effective inventory control, a few important steps need to be followed:
  1. Establishing a system to track and record inventory information
  2. Establish specifications and procedures for ordering and acquiring goods and services
  3. Create procedures and standards to ensure that deliveries are received efficiently
  4. Decide how often inventory needs to be reconciled and what the process is for doing so
  5. Identify any areas for improvement by analyzing the inventory data

Tracking And Recording Inventory Systems

Inventory is a very useful tool for determining the cost of food and calculating the percentage of those costs. To simplify the process of calculating how much is worth of what is stocked, several procedures have been provided. There are several techniques you can use to track the precise cost of supplies and their purchase dates based on the records you keep.

Small operations often have the tendency to treat inventory control casually, which is a mistake. In the event that only a few people are doing the purchasing, then they are aware of the supplies that are on hand as they are usually the ones doing the purchasing. Although this does eliminate the need to track purchases against sales to ensure that you are managing your costs as efficiently as you can, it does provide an important guideline.

Inventory Systems

It takes a long time to complete most inventory control procedures. Furthermore, such records must be maintained accurately and up-to-date. The time you would have spent keeping inventory records could have been better spent instead of trying to save a few hours.

Using a spreadsheet is the easiest way to track inventory. Using a simple spreadsheet, one might be able to document all of the products that are frequently purchased, with the current prices and the number of units that were in stock last time they were counted up. A schedule can be set to count the product on hand and update the prices as payments are made.

There is a requirement for more sophisticated systems to be used in large operations since there is greater participation of people. It is quite possible for orders to be placed by a separate department, inventory records to be kept by a storeroom clerk, and the tracking and counting of the inventory to be done by a device using barcodes and scanners, which in turn may be linked with your sales system so that there is always a record of what should be in stock in the warehouse.

It does not matter how detailed the tracking system is, having a system to track inventory will give managers an idea of the supplies they have on hand and give them a tool to use to manage costs.

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