Chef with clipboard doing inventory at kitchen

The Ebb and Flow of Stock Control

How long is a piece of string? It doesn’t really matter, as long as you know where the beginning and where the end is, it does not really matter you can follow the piece in-between. 

What is the beginning and where is the end of your stock items. The system below is incomplete if you do not follow each step in the process, like the string it is the piece in the middle that matters. Stock usage and or consumption of stock is not a guessing game. Even when you know how much you have used or consumed you also want to know what happened to it, how much waste did you have and how many were sold?

Your POS System of choice will have to give you complete control of your business. Easier said than done. Your Point of Sale system is the most important tool that your restaurant owns, you can ask anyone that has one and uses it in their business. The right Point of Sale system will help you manage your restaurant’s sales and payments, track inventory and understand customer profiles.

Simple, ha! that’s what you think! Using your POS is the easy part, maximising the system and making the most of it, working to your advantage is another cup of tea.  

  • Determine the need, do not guess.
  • Do actual counts and comparisons.
  • Interrogate, cost and quality comparisons.
  • Placing the order correctly, keep reference numbers as proof of order.
  • Recording the ordering and delivery details.
  • Checking in the order, checking the invoice details.
  • Was the cold chain followed if applicable?
  • Were the correct handling procedures followed?
  • Stock rotation followed, FIFO was practised.
  • Correct capturing.
  • Defrosting, manufacturing and recording of manufacturing and waste details.
  • No-Slip No Food, and ZERO Tolerance rules implemented and practised.
  • Variance checks, variance explanations.
  • Training and Testing.
  • Disciplinary process.
  • Reliability and accuracy of your suppliers to be considered.
  • Keep it simple clean and organized.

  • Always record stock going out on loan and coming back in, formally account for it on your system through positive and negative purchases.

Stock flow and stock consumption levels:
  • The aim is not to be overstocked and to carry the correct stock on hand.
  • THE FLOW OF NEW – PREP USE – SOLD – NEW – PREP USE – SOLD – NEW Has to be understood and maintained. If not you might have too little stock or too much of the wrong stock items. Defrosting and preparation in advance has to be considered during planning.
  • Too much of an item might spoil due to waste or premature maturation and if too little you cannot supply your guests and they will go eat elsewhere.
  • Regular stock counts are imperative, daily sales balances and the weekly cost of sales are paramount, the difference between a profit and a devastating loss!
  • Place your weekly orders and top up on a Thursday for the weekend.
  • Order fresh produce daily.
  • Always consider the time of the week, month and year, holidays and long weekends! The season and the weather will have a meaningful impact on your trade.
  • Always note the impact of any of the above in your management and orders diary, and your year planner for planning during the following year. Make cell phone reminders for important eventualities.

Stock items cannot be monitored remotely and if you are not in touch with the daily consumption, preparation, and defrosting cycles you ARE out of touch with your kitchen, as good as you think you might know what is happening, BE THERE!

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

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

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