Create market lists to save time and manage your kitchen stock list

In this article, Kitchen CUT Co-Founder John Wood explains…

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Every establishment creates orders that they then have to communicate to their suppliers to order, to then receive their delivery.

From writing what you need on a piece of paper and then telephoning your suppliers individually, to fully automated order systems, every chef and/or manager has to go through this process nearly everyday across multiple suppliers.

Most establishments will have a printed ‘Market list or Order sheet‘ that they then fill in, detailing what is required and then this is either phoned/faxed or re-typed in an email to their suppliers.

The trouble with this type of ordering is that you are usually unaware how much you will be spending until the products arrive and you have to sign for it.

Here are 10 tips on managing this process better

  1. Try to set par stock levels for each of your ingredients for both high and low levels of business and put labels on the shelf to remind the team.
  2. Before starting to write Market/order lists it is crucial that the chef/manager has walked through the kitchen and looked in all the relevant store areas so that they know what the stock levels are.
  3. Ideally, ordering needs to be done while you are standing in the areas for the order you are creating.
  4. Fully understand what the levels of business you are buying for and speak to your team about their requirements for the following day.
  5. Consider functions and parties when creating orders.
  6. Consider shelf life on the products you are buying, especially when buying fresh products.
  7. If your suppliers deliver 5-6 days a week, make sure you only hold the stock for that day with a little in reserve for unexpected business increase.
  8. DON”T be afraid to run out of some fresh items, guest will understand if a fresh fish or meat dish has sold out ( as long as it is only 1 or 2)
  9. Ideally have a sheet that can calculate what each order is going to cost with automated calculations.
  10. If you are going to phone orders through onto answer machines, consider emailing or faxing the order through as well to avoid mistakes.

Why do I need to know what each order costs?

By having prices linked to your order sheets you will be able to know how much you are going to spend before you place the order. Having this information to hand and seeing this in monetary terms does make the chef/manager stop and think more before placing the order.

Shopping basket system

As a way of controlling their purchases, some establishments create what is called a ‘Daily shopping basket’. This works in the following way:

  • Forecasting covers and then net food revenues for the following day/s.
  • Then calculating with your targeted/budgeted food cost margin how much you can spend.
  • Then creating orders or Market lists that have your ingredient prices on and give you a total per supplier per order.
  • Then the chef knows if they can spend that amount of not.

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For example:

Your estimated net food revenue for the following day of business including parties is £/€/$ 4,000.

Your targeted food cost is 30% (which is a 70%GP)

Therefore 30% of 4,000 is calculated 4,000/100 x30  = £/€/$1,200

So your purchase for tomorrow’s business should NOT exceed that amount.

Obviously this does not account for the value of the stock you already have that you might use, but as a general rule of thumb if you can keep your purchases below your shopping basket limit everyday, this will help you.

Daily Food Flash

What is a daily food flash?

This is when you start to take actual figures. You take the actual purchases less any returns or credit notes from the day before. Then you take you actual net food revenue for the same day. Then you calculate what that daily food cost% is.

The calculation can be set up in a spreadsheet to automate it more. So as an example:

Nett food revenue for yesterday is £/€/$ 4,250

Your total purchases less credit and returns is £/€/$ 1,190

1.190/4,250 x 100 = 28% food cost for that day or 72%GP

How can Kitchen CUT help?

  • We have created a new Market list calculator on our website, available on Executive packages.
  • You can create market lists that are tailor-made exactly to your storeroom and Refrigeration and freezer layouts.
  • These will pull exact prices and pack sizes and units from YOUR supplier lists stored in Kitchen CUT.
  • As you write your quantity requirements next to each product it will calculate exactly how much that is going to cost you.
  • The system will give you a total value of your order and also allow you to filter that by supplier so that you can still phone this through but you can also email, print and or fax if you wish to.
  • By having a printed copy of the order you can also check your ingredients in the following day and see if there is any variance on the prices, so that you can question the supplier about it.
  • This process will speed up your ordering process, give you a detailed cost breakdown and help you to streamline the process of checking in orders.

We will also shortly be releasing ‘Shopping basket’ and ‘Food flash calculators’ for you to use alongside this superb tool.


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