Picture this, when it comes to your restaurant’s procurement and buying process, you’re crushing it! Even considering all the supply chain issues, you are a purchasing pro, with healthy, profitable margins. Congrats! However, before you raise a glass in celebration, we have some sobering news to share – because, unfortunately, if your operation is anything like the millions of other typical American restaurants when your next batch of budget-friendly inventory arrives, you’re likely to waste 85% of it. Yep, you read that correctly. Research shows the vast majority of food that isn’t used within the food service industry – a whopping 85% is discarded.
Although many factors can add up to that number, the reality is, regardless of your purchasing prowess, how you manage your product inventory once it arrives, will determine your bottom line in big ways. Long gone are the days of carrying around a pencil tethered to a clipboard and counting cans of tomatoes. Ironically, antiquated inventory spreadsheets, paper recipes, and an outdated FIFO mindset could put you out of business faster than a pest control problem.
Fortunately, today’s way of tallying up what supplies are in stock has never been simpler thanks to innovative inventory management software that not only counts the cans of tomatoes a restaurant has on hand, but offers real-time solutions on how best to utilize them. The end goal? To reduce the percentage of food waste and cost while increasing kitchen productivity and driving revenue.
Let’s take a look at a few different ways inventory management software is solving some everyday BOH problems, using real-life kitchen scenarios, and a couple of cans of tomatoes.
Well, thanks to the latest inventory management software Galley, you can find the best ways to produce food using real-time data.
Galley connects the dots of your food data to create a system of feedback loops that helps you make better decisions, faster.
Not only does this software know how much inventory is in stock, but it also ingeniously provides recipes to utilize those ingredients in real-time.
So while you might only see stacks of summer vegetables, which the data also sees, it also accounts for the surplus of canned tomatoes you have in stock, as well as ALL the other ingredients you have readily available. From there the software provides recipes using your available resources. And, just like that, Ratatouille to the rescue, which also just so happens to resolve your weekend regulars’ request for vegetarian options.
That scenario can be varied and repeated over and over again, no matter what ingredients you have on hand, Galley’s smart inventory software knows how to utilize them and offers a plethora of recipe options for the kitchen crew.
Scaling and Conversions
Now let’s consider the flipside, let’s say that you were short on a particular ingredient, we’ll stay with the canned tomatoes, just for the plum of it. Perhaps your Chef’s signature Sunday Sauce is what has kept crowds coming in for over a decade, and sells out every time it’s offered on the menu. It’s a recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Each batch requires 5 cans of our hero tomatoes, but unfortunately, you’ve only got 13 in stock.
You know there’s no option for guessing or room for winging it when it comes down to this famous family recipe. So what do you do, scale down to two batches and miss out on two cans worth of Sunday Sauce sales? You’d be disappointing your customers while literally leaving those orders off the table. Again, here is another scenario where smart inventory management software can provide immediate real-world solutions.
Another Branded portfolio partner, meez, is a culinary technology company, whose app was built for and designed by professional chefs. The platform accounts for every single ounce of your inventory and can pivot accordingly to what’s available in real-time and source it accordingly. With the app’s scaling and conversions feature, users can make adjustments on the fly when they are low on an ingredient and can break free from the limitations of batch sizes because they can dynamically scale their recipes to yield the exact amount needed. The technology can adapt any ingredient list to any size batch so you’re never short and can make precisely the right amount, every single time while reducing food and labor waste.
“My favorite feature is that I can scale recipes up or down, depending on how much I need that week. I also really like the costing feature- the work in conversions that meez does for you saves me a lot of time.” – Alison Hearn, Owner, and Chef, Peggotty Provisions
The two scenarios above are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce if you will, because when it comes to produce and all the other products in a restaurant’s stockpile, inventory management software can help in a multitude of other areas, like monitoring costs.
As a restaurant owner or manager, you know that controlling expenses is crucial to the success and profitability of your business. Accurately tracking food cost allows you to determine the actual cost of each dish, which is essential for setting menu prices that reflect the true cost of the food and labor involved. This, in turn, helps you make informed decisions about menu pricing and adjust your menu as needed to optimize your profitability. If only there was an easy button to do this… spoiler alert, there is.
MarginEdge manages food costs and automates back-office operations all in one place by providing operators with critical tools for efficiency. The platform automates tedious processes, connects systems, and radically streamlines key activities like inventory, bill pay, and ordering.
From daily controllable P&L recipe costing, theoretical versus actuals, manual analysis, sales reporting, labor summaries, and even budget tracking, there’s not much it can’t cover when it comes to monitoring costs. Their system’s ‘price history’ feature can even alert you if the prices of key ingredients, like canned tomatoes changes.
“MarginEdge has so dramatically improved the way we monitor critical cost that we credit it for producing the most profits we’ve ever achieved period after period!” – Greg, Casten, Owner, Tony, and Joe’s, and Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse
Having a good grip on real-time inventory, scaling & conversions and monitoring food cost is a crucial aspect of running a successful restaurant.
In addition to helping you make informed decisions about menu pricing, monitoring food cost also helps you identify waste and inefficiencies in your purchasing and inventory management processes. By tracking your food usage, you can identify which ingredients are being overstocked or wasted and make adjustments to reduce your food spend and improve your bottom line.
By keeping a close eye on your food expenses and inventory, you can make informed decisions, control expenses, maintain profitability, and ensure the success of your business. So, don’t ignore this critical aspect of your operation.
At Branded, we subscribe to the theory that it takes a village. If you’re interested in exploring investment opportunities with Branded, please contact us directly.