Does stock taking or taking inventory really help?

It’s considered quite a lengthy process and people often question the value of regular stock taking and whether it benefits the business. In this article, John Wood looks at why it’s only worth doing if it’s being done properly.

The benefits of stock taking and the way to do it is often widely debated and processes vary hugely in the hospitality industry. Some companies do this for food and beverage, some only do this for liquor/beverage. Some companies do this weekly, some monthly and some only annually. There is no right and wrong answer as to how often you should do it and whether should you do food and beverage or just one of them. In fact, some would question doing this at all. My experience of stock taking/taking inventory is mixed. Over the last 35 years my teams and I have spent many hours with sheets of paper and clipboards flipping backwards and forwards to find the product and then having to manually write in the figure. I recall standing in front of pre-made bulk recipes and plated dishes just guessing a figure for those items and then handing these dog-eared papers over to the finance person or a cost controller to try and decipher what we have written and then they tediously add that to an XLS spreadsheet to get a final stock count figure and ultimately the financial worth. I always had a problem with this process and not only did I find this a huge waste of many peoples’ time, but most importantly by guessing up to 30% of my stock value (which was made up of pre-made bulk recipes and dishes), I was only getting a figure with a 70% accuracy rate! It seems pointless when you look at it like that.

So why should I take stock?

The key reasons for taking taking stock/inventory are as follows:
  • So you get a value of the differences between your opening and closing stock, to know what your usage has been.
  • To be able to add/reduce this value to the value of your purchases taking into account the stock increase/depletion for that period.
  • So your F&B Gross Profit and Food cost % you report is accurate – by just taking purchases against sales you could be reporting fake figures.
  • Creates better awareness of stock value and stock holding in relation to your business.
  • Encourages better stock management and stock rotation.

Accurate stock taking with Kitchen CUT

My view is, if you only get 70% accuracy on a stock take, then what is the point in doing it? While developing Kitchen CUT, we’ve been very aware that this can be an extremely time consuming process involving many people and many hours each time. That is why we have created a unique way that you can:
  • Set your store areas up exactly as you have them on the system.
  • You only see the products you have and use in the order they appear in the store, fridge or freezer.
  • You have the ability to easily and accurately add bulk recipes (sub recipes) and pre-made dishes with live prices for 100% accuracy.
  • Your ingredients work off a ‘live’ price list.
  • You can create multiple areas at the same time and then Consolidate them all in a few clicks.
  • They are costed by item and total as you create the report, so no one else has to do anything.
  • In tests this take 48% less time to carry out, without finance or cost controllers having to do anything.
  • You can email/ print the reports instantly when they are finished.
So it does not matter how often you decide to take stock/inventory and whether you want to do do this for food and/or beverage – Kitchen CUT will make this easier, faster and more accurate. Now it is worth doing. If you’d like to find out more about how easy and accurate stock taking can be with Kitchen CUT, please get in touch HERE.

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