Inventory Control for Multi-Unit Chains

Inventory control for multi-unit chain restaurants is an absolute must. Should it get out of hand you’ll be left with useless expired product and unnecessary expenses to boot. To help you avoid any nasty surprises, here are some methods of keeping your collective inventory under firm control.

 Implement An Inventory Management System

This is vital to operations running smoothly and efficiently for most chains. Cloud-based digital inventory management systems are hugely impactful upon controlling product flow and expenses, and minimizing waste. Powerful all-in-one hospitality solution tools such as Optimum Control – OC Enterprise are fantastic ways of ensuring maximum inventory efficiency, and on a single shared system it will be infinitely easier to oversee the inventories of multiple locations.

Production/Waste Tracking

If you’re using an inventory management system, this will be easier. Keep a close eye on irregularities in product quantities and usage. Comparing orders with income and analyzing data for odd numbers can help pinpoint where you’re losing product, whether it be in the form of waste or theft. Be sure to approach the situation calmly and not jump to conclusions, but don’t turn a blind eye to irregularities that are blatantly obvious. You’ll never have sufficient control over your collective inventory if you do.

Many fast food industries utilize standardized inputs of food production, with employees entering quantities of prepared product in tracking applications via tablets as they go about their shifts. Any expired or dropped product is entered to ensure all waste and production is tracked. Utilizing an easy-to-use system and standardizing the entering of this information will do wonders to help cut on inventory-related issues. It’s a great way of pinpointing the precise hour of mass wastage or overproduction, which can then be consulted against the shift schedule to organize a meeting with staff to address inconsistencies or problems. 

Use The Same Staff To Take Inventory, At The Same Time

You can’t be everywhere at once. Therefore, relying on employees to carry out inventory-related tasks at all locations is a must. Having the same manager or supervisor perform inventory counts is the best way to maintain efficiency. They’ll also get faster over time, and be able to more easily recognize inconsistencies. Having a hard copy of each location’s inventory count is also ideal, in case of computer-related errors. 

First In, First Out

If you aren’t applying this practice, your inventory will be a total disaster to manage. First In, First Out (FIFO) involves using the oldest items in a restaurant before moving on to the next oldest. Organizing freezers and fridges so the oldest items are most easily viewable and accessible will minimize wastage. It helps with storage system cleanliness and makes it easier to conduct inventory counts.

You have to have a keen eye for detail to manage a multi-unit inventory effectively. Applying these practices will be hugely beneficial towards minimizing inconsistencies as well as costs associated with over-ordering or replacing wasted product.

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