Chef examining his food orders

Do You Know Where Your Stock is Moving to Next?

Once weekly stock counts are completed it is possible for the manager responsible for this task to establish what stock items need to be ordered for the coming week to ensure complete availability of menu items.

This blog ignores the fact that there could be stock variances and other procedures to follow that are not referred to here. Orders are placed and the system below will ensure a smooth kitchen operation regarding stock items.

Receiving the Delivery & Checking the Invoice

  • When receiving the order, pack the stock that is being delivered away from your current stock on hand.
  • This will avoid delivery confusion of whether certain items were delivered or not.
  • Ensure that you lock the back door once the delivery person confirms that all the stock was delivered.
  • Check for broken and or damaged goods and boxes.
  • Check all expiry dates of newly delivered stock.
  • If any broken or damaged goods are found, make a note on the invoice and send a confirmation email to the supplier.
  • When frozen and refrigerated stock is delivered please follow the cold chain procedures.
  • Check the delivery vehicles’ ambient temperature and the core temperature of the stock items and record these.
  • Check that all the temperatures are within specifications and maintain the cold chain integrity of the product.
  • Check that all stocks delivered are according to the invoice.
  • Once the delivery is accepted the delivery people leave through the front door and no stock can move back out through the back door.
  • Start your stock rotation process.
  • Find the ordering diary, tick, and sign off the corresponding order.
  • Double-check the brand names, quantities and prices are correct.
  • Double-check the quality and packaging.
  • Circle the amounts, and record the weights and units for accounting and capturing purposes.
  • Sign off the invoice as received with your signature and your name.

Packing Away the Order

  • Ensure that the cold chain is maintained.
  • Start your stock rotation process.
  • Do the required issues to the sections of the kitchen and prep stations.
  • Transfer stock into the required defrosting cycles from the freezer to the cold room and or fridges.
  • Organize, wipe and clean all the shelving.
  • Check all expiry dates.
  • Bring all the new stock in and move the new behind or underneath the old stock on hand.
  • Keep your shelving organized according to your stock count sheet where possible.
  • Zero tolerance on the Expiry date and First in First out principles.
  • Avoid cross-contamination.
  • Keep all defrosting, cold-chain, and maturation cycles in mind when rotating your stock.

When Maturation of Products are Required – Check the Following

  • Temperature, sunlight exposure, oxygenated air, enzymes, proteins, and the packaging.
  • Meat, fish, chicken, dairy, or fresh produce. Fresh items are not an exact science.
  • The way items are packed and or stacked.
  • You need to look at items, touch them, pick them up and turn them around. Look at items against the light.
  • Smell and taste products.
  • The production and expiry dates.
  • The conditions on the day of harvest or slaughter or production.
  • The risks with Frozen, fresh or cooked items vary extensively.

Defrosting Frozen Products

Working with frozen products takes skill and experience to maintain the integrity of the item. 

Each time a product is frozen and defrosted it loses flavour and moisture. When you look at the icicles in cells they are very sharp pointy crystals and these sharp pointy crystals puncture the cell membranes and cause fluid loss and flavour loss. 

Once you refreeze an item and defrost it a second time you end up with a dry and tasteless food item. Exactly the reason why these foods are flavoured and in many cases sauces are added or sold with the item. 

If you manage to maintain the cold chain within the temperature danger zone of these products you have a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the taste and moisture. 

Keep the following in mind:

  • Propper planning will keep you ahead of the race.
  • Avoid cross-contamination, when bulk items are manufactured attempt to set out a morning or specific day and work with specific items exclusively.
  • Propper planning will keep you ahead of the race.
  • Keep all temperature danger zones into consideration either below 5 degrees or above 64 degrees Celcius.
  • Maintain avoiding the temperature danger zone for as long as practically possible.
  • Plan stock movements from the freezer to the fridges and the prep stations or back to the freezer meticulously.
  • Defrosting is to take place in the cold room.
  • Consider all special requirements of different stock items during the manufacturing process.
  • Record all the temperatures during the stock movement.
  • Capture all the bulk manufacturing and stock transfer data meticulously.
  • Colour coded date system to be maintained to ensure stock rotation and flow is maintained.
  • Once the stock is moved, wash down shelving and do rotation and check all expiry dates before packing back stock or tidying your shelves.

Ensure to maintain your stock rotation and always be on the lookout for damaged items. Leaking of milk or blood from bags. Look for discolouration of packaging or colour changes in stock. 

These are red flags and indicate to you that those items need to be used first.

Capturing Stock Conversions

Stock conversions are an internal process. Every restaurant has its own menu and the owners or franchisors have their specific methods of manufacturing and preparation in advance.

When you are working with fresh products that can spoil due to cold chains and temperature danger zones that are not controlled. Unhygienic manufacturing processes and poor working habits, all of the above will cost you hard-earned money and negatively influence your profitability.

It becomes extremely important to track the flow of the stock during the conversion process. The evening shift or closing managers will appreciate the effort to get the stock conversions captured correctly. This habit will save them time when closing the store at night. During the closing procedures, proper planning will prevent poor performance the following day. 

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

Founder of the first true community for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

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