Barista checking stock in dessert showcase

Stock-Flow System

Once the weekly stock count is completed it is possible for the manager responsible for this task to establish what stock items need to be ordered for the 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 and Checking the Invoice

  • When receiving the order pack the delivery in an area slightly away from your current stock. This will avoid delivery people creating confusion about what they actually have delivered or not
  • Ensure that you lock the door once all the new stock has been delivered
  • Check for broken and or damaged goods and boxes
  • When a frozen or refrigerated product is delivered please follow the cold chain procedure.
  • Check the external and internal delivery temperatures
  • Also, check the delivery vehicles’ cold room temperature
  • The cold chain is the controlling of the temperature of a product from raw to final product to ensure that the required temperature danger zones were avoided
  • Was the integrity of the product constant throughout the process to ensure the best possible product for the consumer?
  • When a refrigerated product is delivered to your store, do not allow the staff to unload until you have checked their delivery vehicle’s cold box ambient temperature
  • Secondly, check the item that you are receiving to ensure the core temperature is within spec
  • Pack away the item received soonest into your refrigeration before the cold chain is broken
  • Check the stock that arrived according to the invoice
  • Keep your back door locked until the delivery people leave, none of your stock will leave with them
  • Start your stock rotation process
  • Take the ordering diary and find the corresponding order recorded
  • Compare the order placed to the invoice received
  • Check that the quantities are right
  • Check that the brand names are correct
  • Check that the quality and packaging is all in order
  • Check the price on the invoice compared to the quoted price
  • Circle the amounts and record the weights for accounting and capturing. Now sign the invoice off as received and write your name

Packing away the delivery and FIFO

Receiving the order:

  • When receiving the ordered stock pack the delivery away from your current stock and do not muddle stock on hand and new stock up
  • Ensure that you lock the door once all the new stock has been delivered
  • Check the stock that arrived according to the invoice
  • Keep your back door locked until the delivery people leave, none of your stock will leave with them

Packing away the order:

  • Ensure that the cold chain is maintained
  • Start your stock rotation process
  • Do the required issues to the section or prep stations
  • Do the required defrosting cycles from freezer to fridges
  • Wipe and clean the shelving
  • Organise the shelving
  • Bring the new stock in and put the new stock behind or underneath the old stock
  • First in first out is the principle
  • Cross-contamination
  • Defrosting cycles considered
  • Maturation cycles considered

Where maturation of products or fresh products are required it is not just a simple first in first out, many factors play a role:

  • Temperature
  • Sunlight
  • Oxygenated air
  • Enzymes and proteins in dairy, meat, fish, snails, or chicken and any derivative from the mentioned items.
  • Weight
  • These items are not an exact science
  • You need to smell
  • Touch/feel
  • Look
  • Listen
  • Taste
  • These items involve more attention and detail care
  • Where they are packed
  • How they are packed or stacked
  • Production dates
  • Expiry dates
  • Were they frozen or fresh
  • How quickly they defrosted

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:

  • Proper planning will keep you ahead of the race
  • Avoid cross-contamination, when you plan to manufacture do a weeks calamari on one day and the next day you can do fish or chicken
  • Consider the temperature danger zones between 5 and 64 degrees
  • Maintain the cold chain for as long as practically possible
  • Movement from freezer to fridge
  • Movement from fridge to prep station
  • Movement from prep station back to fridge
  • Consider the integrity of the cold chain
  • Defrost in your cold room or fridge
  • Record all temperatures during the process
  • Capture all prep data on the bulk manufacturing sheets and transfer the data to your stock control software
  • Consider special requirements during defrosting ie. Ice cream, premixes, fish products, chicken products
  • Colour coding of all items
  • Date all manufactured items
  • Pack all shelves neat and tidy and wash off where required

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.

  • Stock rotation
  • First in first out
  • Defrosting and cross-contamination
  • Cold chain
  • Is the date correct
  • Were the issued weights recorded
  • Was the blood and bag loss recorded
  • Was the water and or ice loss captured
  • Was waste recorded
  • Was the portions manufactured and counts recorded
  • If you used the last of the specific stock did you notify the ordering manager or did you write a message in the diary
  • Check that the stock file was updated correctly with the new portion price
  • Was the waste and or offcuts repurposed captured
  • Was the stock that was converted taken out of stock by deduction and added to the new item manufactured by addition
  • Sticker colour coding of maturation cycles
  • Dated

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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