Inventory Tracking and Management Techniques for Restaurants. Restaurant inventory consists of the items required to prepare dishes and beverages, for example, vegetables, fruits, spices, cooking oils, and other raw materials. A restaurant inventory management system helps you keep track of all such items. Moreover, if you integrate your inventory management system with restaurant POS management software, you can have better control of all operations, keep stock organized, maintain supply, and all of this helps you attain overall business profits

As your business will grow with time, inventory management will become a necessity for the smooth run of your restaurant operations. Therefore, follow these tips to prevent any inventory management issues in your restaurant.

Restaurant Inventory Management Techniques

Get a POS System

Point of Sale systems are utilized in restaurants, retail stores, and bars around the world. It is typically a computerized system that helps you manage inventory and track sales as well as cash flow. Once an order is entered in the POS, only the authorized person, for example, an employee with the password or key card, will be able to modify the entry; reducing the risks of fraud.

This system can also provide you with an accurate count of money collected during a specific shift. This way, you will know how much dishes are sold, how much inventory is used, and how much money is entered in your books. With real-time updates on inventory and sales, you save a lot of time and money. A POS system will not only help you prevent employee theft but also give you a precise inventory list, helping you determine the items that need to be reordered/replaced.

Raw Material Management

Managing your restaurant’s inventory is vital to avoid wastage of raw food materials. For this, restaurant management software is essential. To ensure your stock is used efficiently, follow the below-mentioned tips.

  • Try to purchase limited stock, especially the perishables. For example, get the stock for a couple of days instead of buying it for the entire week in one go.
  • Make use of seasonal products, using seasonal products, and offering season’s special dishes will attract more customers, and this will also help you avoid wastage.
  • You can also use software for raw material management, for example, POSist. It notifies you once you need to reorder supplies. You can set a reorder level for each different item, and once it reaches that level, you receive a reminder email about reordering the item in advance.

This way, you never run out of raw material during the operating hours. The software helps you by sending real-time alerts for restocking and, thus, enables you to avoid wastage too.

Real-Time Inventory Tracking

POSist’s Restaurant Inventory Software is a smart system that helps you keep complete control of the stock and prevent theft.

  • It helps you keep track of the stock currently available at your multiple outlets.
  • Its ‘Stock-In & Stock-Out’ features provide you with details of the stock available at the beginning, as well as the stock left at the end of each day.
  • It allows you to check the difference between the stock that should ideally be utilized during a day and the actual stock available at the end.
  • You can view detailed reports on stock consumption and make decisions accordingly.

The Use of FIFO Principle

The FIFO principle – first in, first out is used by many restaurants and bars across the world. The concept simply tells that the inventory items that you bought first should be used first. It avoids wastage and helps you maintain the freshness of items. Paying no attention to when the supply comes in can lead to items crossing their expiry date, and you might end up disposing of them.

The FIFO principle is the best choice for your restaurant if you use more of perishable items or the items that require being fresh enough to use. Moreover, accounting for restaurants is already a burdensome task, but by following this method, the accounting functions can also be streamlined. It maintains a reliable system for tracking your restaurant’s inventory on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, allowing you to purchase what is required when it is needed and keep records of the same.

Reporting and Analytics

Reporting and analytics are essential for proper management of your restaurant inventory. The raw material usage reports and sales reports are helpful in inventory planning and forecasting. Profit and loss reports are generated using data on stock consumption and sales. You can use these reports to –

Analyze inventory trends: analyze inventory trends so that to make informed decisions, for example, preparing the menu. Reports with detailed data about the stock consumption can give you insights into the items that are most popular, that go out of stock quickly and that you need to use in recipes, etc.

Accurately maintain inventory: Accurately maintaining the list of items available in stock helps you keep track of the exact inventory usage.

Place Future Orders by Using Past Inventory Insights

By determining the items that are commonly used and the items that are used rarely in a specific period in the past, you can predict your requirements for the future and place orders accordingly. By using your inventory records, you can get to know which items your restaurant is frequently purchasing and which items you are throwing away as they were not used.

Considering all these details, you can choose the items and place the order for the same as per your requirement.

Have a Dedicated Person to Track Inventory

Designate someone to take care of your inventory, such as a restaurant bookkeeper. The person will be responsible for recording how much your restaurant is spending on inventory and tracking how many items are added in stock, how many are used, etc. The bookkeeper can manage all of these on either a weekly or monthly basis. This will help reduce stock inconsistencies.

Also, train the bookkeeper thoroughly about how your restaurant manages stock to ensure accurate inventory management. Tell your entire staff how proper inventory management helps improve the bottom line of your business.

Set Restaurant Inventory Goals

Once you start understanding the patterns of your stock coming in your inventory and how quickly it gets used in your kitchen, it is the right time to set inventory goals. Whether you take reports of sales, average inventory usage percentage, or even turnover, setting targeted goals can help your staff make improvements in different areas of your restaurant. By observing the patterns of inventory purchase and usage, you can predict a specific period during which you can expect growth, for example, weekly, monthly, and even yearly.

However, just setting objectives would not make much of a difference. You and the entire staff of yours need to consistently monitor the restaurant’s performance and implement solutions to problems that might arise on the way to success.

Forecast Inventory Requirement

According to a report by ReFED, the restaurant industry wastes almost 11.4 million tons of food per year which makes wastage of food a significant factor in inventory and profit management. Overstocking is a big reason behind this which results in raw food getting spoiled before it gets used. To prevent such wastage, it is essential to forecast your inventory requirements.

Forecasting includes calculating items your staff use within a specific time and estimating how much your restaurant will require in the coming days. According to this, place an order and purchase limited stock. The best way to forecast is to use an inventory management system that tracks items and analyzes related data, such as purchasing of stock and stock consumption, food sales, etc. Using accurate insights, you can minimize food wastage and save enough money while restocking.


For the smooth run of your restaurant, you might be having enough of efficient and skilled staff. But the use of technology in your restaurant can help you have better control over its inventory, helping you use the raw material efficiently, prevent wastage, theft & fraud, and save money when you place your next order, every time. The technologies, software, and techniques discussed above will help you keep your restaurant on track, run its operations smoothly, boost its efficiency, and take it to new heights of success.

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