Food is a huge part of our everyday lives, but it’s more than a necessity; it’s an experience. Restaurants are built exactly on this premise — to help people all over the world celebrate milestones and special occasions and transform even the most ordinary days into ones worth remembering.

But as COVID-19 continues to impact our daily routines and spaces, many restaurants are challenged to reimagine the dining experience so customers can recreate it safely at home.  

An inventory control system guarantees fresh, quality taste with every dish, and allows restaurant owners to monitor current supply to continuously meet the changing volume of customer orders. With a reliable commercial freezer, it’s easy to manage inventory, restock, and ensure that ingredients are used before their sell-by date to reduce waste and conserve resources during these difficult times.

What Is a Food Inventory?

Every restaurant-quality dish has two requirements: signature flavour and fresh ingredients that make a safe and healthy dining experience. Restaurants can’t afford to serve food cooked with ingredients past their sell-by date. That’s why restaurant owners always strive to balance customer demand with their available inventory.

By keeping track of available inventory, restaurants can reduce waste and prevent spoilage. This helps keep production costs low and maintains profitability.

Restaurant Inventory Management Tips 

Restaurant owners need to pay careful attention to inventory control to reduce food waste and shopping costs. By doing so, you can keep the cost of each quality dish low and profitable — and for each customer, affordable.

Effective food inventory management tells restaurant owners the status of their supplies. This includes how many ingredients they have, what needs to be restocked and when, and which ones are expiring. 

Along with tracking this information, restaurant owners also need to store these items properly in kitchen appliances, like commercial freezers, where they can be organized and consumed according to their delivery and sell-by date.

1. Organize food storage 

What ingredients does your restaurant regularly use for signature recipes and popular dishes? Keeping track of when stocks were delivered and when they need to be consumed allows you to use them efficiently, prevent waste, and restock according to projected volumes of customer orders.

The easiest way to organize restaurant inventory is grouping supplies by category. Separate dry goods from frozen items, and make sure that shelves are properly labelled so staff can easily locate the ingredients and supplies they need. It also helps to print and post a map of the store, stockroom, and kitchen to direct people smoothly and quickly from storage areas to food prep stations.

Proper food storage in commercial freezers helps eliminate food waste and ensures that stocks are used in a safe and timely manner. It also allows restaurant owners to learn more about how to reduce costs as they learn more about their customers. They will learn which ingredients require frequent restocking to accommodate customers and which do not.

2. Develop a System And Train Staff

Effective inventory management starts with training the people you partner with to satisfy customer cravings. Restaurant staff should be well-versed in managing inventory and flagging supplies that need restocking.

Start by calculating the sitting inventory or the number of all products available in-house. Then, look at daily sales numbers and how much inventory each product uses. This allows you to project what — and how much — needs to be restocked before they run out and continue meeting customer demand. 

An effective inventory control system helps track supply levels. It prompts staff to restock while ensuring that the supplies that need to be used are most accessible on storage shelves and inside commercial freezers. Inventories help save resources by ensuring efficient use of stocks, especially in challenging economic situations that impact cash flow, like COVID-19.

3. Lower Your Costs By Buying In Bulk

Searching for other ways to manage restaurant inventory? One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by buying supplies in bulk. When you buy in bulk, you can get your fastest-moving supplies at discounted rates. Buying in bulk also reduces other costs associated with restocking inventory, such as delivery, and helps maximize the use of storage space and utility costs.

But how do you keep food items and ingredients safely stored when bought in bulk? With the demand for customer orders shifting from dine-in to takeout and delivery, many restaurants face the challenge of allocating resources efficiently to prevent waste and unnecessary expenses. 

A reliable commercial freezer and meticulously-kept food inventory will help you keep your stocks fresh for longer, so you can guarantee great taste with little waste.

4. Use Tech-Based Inventory Management 

Setting up inventory controls goes beyond making lists to manually keep track of remaining supplies. Modern and efficient inventory management leverages new restaurant technology. 

Restaurant inventory management tools help owners restock on key ingredients, automate alerts to staff and suppliers, and even keep track of items approaching their best-before date to prevent waste. Once food items are scanned into the system, your restaurant inventory management software can even detect their origins to avoid fraud and preserve your restaurants’ integrity.

5. Save Money On Appliances And Stock

It’s common to think of restaurant inventory in terms of food items, ingredients, and supplies that need to be replenished regularly, but there’s more to keeping a food inventory than just these. 

A proper restaurant inventory also includes appliances used in storage and food preparation. Just as you replenish food items, restaurant appliances also need to be regularly maintained and repaired as needed to keep them in optimal condition and ensure fast, efficient, and consistent customer service.

Commercial kitchen appliances like freezers, refrigerators, steamers, dishwashers, and storage racks play a key role in effective inventory management. Choosing new, energy-efficient models for each of these core appliances provides long-term energy savings and ensures food safety. 

6. Save On Your Utility Bills

With most customers opting for takeout and delivery during COVID-19, the bulk of remaining utility costs are tied to keeping the kitchen running. This means that you could save on utility bills because there’s no need to turn on the lights in the dining area and keep the whole space cool with the AC.

Efficient inventory management can help further reduce these costs, starting with using energy-saving appliances and gadgets. Simple things like installing occupancy sensors and LED lights can drastically reduce energy consumption by cutting the power when a certain part of the kitchen or restaurant isn’t being used.

These savings allow you to focus on keeping the kitchen running for takeout and delivery orders while keeping your utility costs in check.

Take Control With Inventory Management

Effective inventory control helps keep your restaurant alive, especially in light of the economic impact of COVID-19. A well-managed inventory allows restaurants to conserve and allocate resources, stock up on supplies, and continue serving their signature fresh, quality taste. 

With the help of inventory management tools such as commercial freezers and a clear system, restaurants can guarantee food safety and efficient consumption as customers’ dining habits shift in response to health and safety concerns.