Restaurant Inventory Control Software Basics
In short terms, inventory control for restaurants is the management of your stock inventory to deter employee theft and to maintain proper stock levels.
There are many ways an employee can steal from you including, pocketing cash after a sale, giving away free product, or even walking out with hidden inventory. Without tight inventory control procedures, it is almost impossible to know if you have a theft problem or to catch it before you take a big hit financially.
The average restaurant looses about 20% in retail sales monthly to some type of theft without even knowing it. Why? Because most owners and managers only look at their pour cost and if it looks good, then they assume theft isn't a problem. That is the issue, when looking at pour cost it is based on exactly that cost. So if a bartender pockets the cash on a $4.00 shot of vodka that only cost 10 cents to pour, that 10 cents will not effect that pour cost number so it still looks good. However, in reality $3.90 in retail profit was stolen. Not good. Proper inventory control tracks actual product usage during an inventory period, and that is the only way to determine if you have a theft problem. Although some bars might sell food like restaurants, the primary source of theft in bars and taverns is definitely going to come from liquor, beer, and wine sells.
If you do sell some food, like restaurants you will need to have some type of inventory tracking on your kitchen items, but tracking your bar stock will be the most important part of your stock tracking process. If you want to take theft prevention serious and track your inventory as accurately as possible, then tracking your products by weighing open bottles and tapped kegs will be the optimal option. Restaurants and cafes, which sell a large amount in food products need to take proper care in keeping control of their entire stock, including both food and beverage items.
It is essential that establishments selling food setup and maintain a food and beverage inventory procedure to track theft both in the back of the house and front of the house. A lot of restaurant owners neglect back of the house inventory procedures when tracking for theft and only do a simple count for ordering purposes. This can be a big mistake and result in profit walking right out the back door. Without tight inventory control in your restaurant, theft is guaranteed.
How can restaurant inventory software help my establishment?
Implementing restaurant inventory software or an inventory control system into your establishment can greatly increase your bottom line profits. The average establishment with little to no inventory control loses on average 20% of retail profits to their employees over-pouring drinks, giving away drinks, and pocketing money on cash sales.
If you've never put in place a tight inventory control system, not all but some of your employees will take advantage and you will lose money. Restaurant inventory management software is designed to help you efficiently track your product stock from the beginning to the end of an inventory period, allowing you to see your profit losses and help you make the adjustments needed to put an end to theft.
What features should good restaurant inventory software offer?
Although there are different kinds of inventory software and inventory systems for restaurants on the market, all inventory management solutions should show you product usage, costs, losses, and potential profits in it's calculations to give you the data points and information needed to make the correct decisions and changes needed to stop the losses. Your restaurant management software should also be easy-to-use.
How can I know which restaurant inventory system is right for my business?
Knowing which bar inventory system is right for your establishment will depend on a few factors such as, how large your inventory stock is, how much time you or a trusted employee has to perform taking inventory, and the upfront costs associated with purchasing the bar inventory software. Because there are different types of functionality between different systems, it's important to first determine the above factors as a starting point to making a final decision.
There are so many different types and prices, how do I decide?
Restaurant inventory software or bar inventory control systems come in many different variations, from complex automated pouring systems, to scanners or handheld computer programs, to simple programs that are used on a laptop or back office computer.
All of these variations of systems will give you different ways to take physical inventory like weighing your open bottles and tapped kegs, to doing the less accurate way of point counting. The price of a bar inventory system will ultimately depend on how complicated and how much hardware is needed to run the software.
The key factors to deciding what restaurant inventory control system is right for your business, should be based on features, ease of use for your establishment's needs, and the cost of investment into the system. Even if you need free bar inventory software there is an option for you.
What is the difference between restaurant inventory software and POS software?
Most POS software program have some type of inventory functionality built-in, but that type of inventory tracking is usually very different from restaurant inventory control software.
Point of sale software inventory tracking is typically for making orders and calculated based on what your bartenders or waitstaff is ringing into the POs system. Restaurant inventory control software is made to track inventory usage and any employee that might steal from you should not have access to it to keep the numbers and calculations from being manipulated.
Once your inventory management software has calculated your true usage numbers, you can then compare that information to your actual POS sales and narrow down product theft.