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Developing an Airtight Inventory Control Scheme

Inventory control is a vital part of a restaurant’s success

Inventory control is a vital part of a restaurant’s success. Without a proper approach, you will be left with wasted unsold inventory which can add up to cost your restaurant money. Here's how to develop a proper method for inventory control.

The Basics

Inventory control is about knowing where all your products and stock are and ensuring that everything in your Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) is accounted for an any given time. Most QSRs are already employing stock control systems in order to monitor the amount of stock in the restaurant at any one time and determine how reordering happens.

The basic features of a stock control system (generally run via software) are:

  • Ensuring that the products and stock are available to be sold in your QSR are available in the right quantity for a day’s sale or a week’s sale.
  • Recognizing when a customer has purchased an item that depletes the stock of that item.
  • Automatically signaling when more products need to be shifted from storage, the stockroom, or the walk-in to be made available for sale.
  • Automatically producing inventory and sales reports for management that can be used by local managers, the franchise owner, or the head office.

Sales and inventory reports may detail what products have been sold, how quickly they sell, and at what price. These reports can also be used to predict the inventory need around anomalous events such as the holidays or special promotions. For very large QSR chains, this data may be automatically linked to the factory where the products are produced in order to optimize production and delivery.

Raising the Bar

Traditional QSR inventory management systems use barcodes and radio-frequency identification (RFID). But more advanced QSR operators are turning to advanced video surveillance and analytics to manage all aspects of their restaurant operations. Because the video surveillance system and applied analytics can be integrated not only with the inventory system but also the point-of-sale system and more complex operations like heat mapping, it offers unprecedented advantages over traditional inventory control systems. The outcomes for QSR operators are multifold:

  • Internal theft and cash mishandling will be reduced and more easily identified using strategically placed high resolution cameras to capture detailed video that can be searched or refined to key moments.
  • Profit margins rise due to improved risk management and more efficient, streamlined operations.
  • Customer satisfaction improves due to availability of product and more refined and personalized menu options.
  • Video-enabled inventory control allows managers to review store maintenance and daily prep activities remotely, while field service employees can record inventory transactions or look up inventory stock in the field, away from the store.

About the Author — Kimberly Bremner

At Envysion, Kim works with QSR and Fast Casual Restaurant owners to help improve their customer experiences, store operations and profitability by providing an optimized partnership. With over 10 years of successful experience in enterprise software sales, Kim has worked with a diverse range of clients to help them improve and grow their businesses. She brings value to many markets, including hospitality, telecommunications, education and the non-profit sector. Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Denver.


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