Wrestling with Inventory Mistakes? Restaurant Inventory Software Can Help
- Nick Leonard
- 3 Min Read
If you’re keeping track of your inventory manually, that takes time. And that’s time your team could spend serving customers, prepping work stations, or any number of other tasks that come up every day at a restaurant or catering business. You know that restaurant inventory management is a crucial part of your business. Because, of course, waste can be a drain on your bottom line.
The key to improving efficiency is to free up your team’s time by employing restaurant inventory software. There are so many software solutions out there, but how do you know which one is the right one for you—and which one will help you increase profits?
Why You Need Restaurant Inventory Software
Now, be honest. How often are you actually taking full inventory of your stock? Is it every time you place an order for ingredients? Do you conduct a monthly audit? Or, do you take for granted that your weekly orders will generally keep you afloat without much oversight? As we’ve already addressed, restaurant inventory management takes time. And, simply put, you may not have time to do a full inventory count as often as you should. This is what’s so important about restaurant inventory software. It will keep track of all of your orders, sales, and deliveries automatically to ensure that you always know exactly what you have in stock and how that translates to profits.
With the help of restaurant inventory software, chances are low that your kitchen will run out of the most popular dish. Plus the software will also provide real-time reporting so that you don’t confuse your monthly accounting. Here’s an example to help illustrate that point. Imagine you receive weekly food orders on Mondays and Thursdays. If Thursday falls on the last day of the month, your food cost will appear higher than it actually is because the record won’t accurately reflect the weekend sales, which technically falls on the following month. Likewise, if Sunday ends the month, your food cost will appear to be lower because your weekend sales comes before the next food order.
Restaurant inventory software solves this problem because it can always provide real-time data about what you have in stock, how much items costs, and how this accounts for sales. Your monthly food cost still may vary month to month, but software helps automate that process to keep your numbers grounded in reality.
What to Look for When Choosing Inventory Software
Look for systems that integrate with your vendors and POS system. These tools update line-item purchase prices with each order and then track your sales. This data is integrated with your restaurant’s recipes to intelligently inform you of what you need to order, along with any variance between your ideal and actual inventory usage. While these can be time-consuming to set up properly, you can benefit from a complex system that tracks waste, spoilage, and portioning, since your recipes are probably very precise.
Depending on how often you change your menu, and exactly how much time you have to put into the ongoing maintenance of a restaurant inventory management software, you could also choose something less complex. These tools provide less data, but still help you to cost out your recipes and count your inventory into different storage units.
Restaurant Inventory Software Options
It’s important to think of restaurant inventory management as a tool, not the end result. The goal is not to just know your inventory, but to improve profits and efficiency with that data. Before you decide which system to invest in, make sure you are clear on what you are trying to improve. Here are a few options to get you started in your search.
- ChefSheet: ChefSheet is a mobile restaurant, bar, and food service inventory system that allows you to count stock from a mobile device. It offers a free version with limited features and paid versions that will allow you to track an unlimited number of items, send orders directly to vendors, and understand cost per plate.
- Orderly: When you’re looking to conquer more than just inventory, Orderly is the restaurant inventory software for you. Its easy-to-use app tackles accounting, inventory, invoicing, and food spend. You can throw away that box of invoices, put your accounting on autopilot, manage inventory, and know you’re getting the best deal on all your orders, all from the palm of your hand.
- ChefTec: The primary focus of ChefTec is on food and beverage inventory and recipes. The system includes recipe and menu costing, inventory control, nutritional analysis, purchasing and ordering, production, and requisitions and transfers.
- Avero: Avero is a full-service restaurant reporting and business intelligence tool that converts POS and labor data from multiple systems. Its program offers multiple tools to assist single- and multi-unit operators with managing food and beverage costs, productivity, communications, labor, and loss prevention.
- The Ctuit/Compeat: For increasing efficiency, Ctuit/Compeat offers end-users the ability to view inventory levels, create a shelf-to-sheet order guide, track items across multiple locations, and enter inventory via mobile devices. The company also offers a full suite of products to manage different aspects of your restaurant or catering business from single to very large multi-unit operations.
- Bacon: Bacon was built for operators who don’t have as much time to spend on keeping up with numbers. Bacon offers a very simple solution for calculating food and beverage costs without actually taking inventory, entering costs per item, or calculating individual or batch recipes costs. The system also offers budgeting and labor tools to ensure your restaurants hit target costs each month.
How can you get the most out of your restaurant software?