The importance of stock control: why is stock taking (inventory) so important?

In this article, Kitchen CUT Co-Founder John Wood looks at why stock taking (or inventories as it is also referred to) is important and the impact it can have on your business. It needn’t be a time-consuming task…

What is it?

Taking stock or Inventory is basically the same thing in regards to hotels and restaurants. They are both a process of counting the amount of stock (whether that be food, drink, equipment, linen or any other products) you use in your business. The quantities are then matched up with the cost of each ingredient and then a report is produced allowing the team to see:
  • How much they have of each item in quantity.
  • How much the value is of each item and a total value.
  • A comparison against previous stock takes/ inventories in both quantity and value.
Many operators only take stock once a year, which when asked why – it came down to a three main reasons:
  1. Their stock value does not change that much so why keep taking stock?
  2. The job takes too many man hours and involves a number of people with sometimes double or triple handling of the process.
  3. The figures are highly inaccurate, especially with food, as many kitchens can have up to 30% of stock value in pre-made recipes, bulk production and dishes.
All of these reasons are understandable when you have to take stock manually at the end of the month and the final figures are only available anywhere from 3-8 days later, what use is that?

Stock Take using Kitchen CUT

At Kitchen CUT we have developed a unique system that will allow you take stock/inventory in a fraction of the time, with accurate and up-to-date prices from your suppliers automatically linked to your items. In addition, it links to all of your sub-recipe and recipe costings to give you a 100% accurate figure of the stock you hold. All of this will be costed and calculated in front of your eyes as you take stock!

What does this mean for your business?

  • No more double/ triple handling with different people and departments.
  • No more searching through printed reports and manually writing the figures in.
  • No more guessing pre-made products or dishes to what their value should be.
  • No more waiting days to get value and details from your reports – they are instantly ready to view.
  • Save hours of time and labour creating simple easy to use reports on smart phones/ tablets/ laptops.

So why should I take stock/inventories?

There are four main reasons why you should consider making this a regular part of your operational routines:

1) Theft

None of us like to think that our colleagues and teams would be stealing, but the truth is – it does happen… In most cases when temptation presents itself, human nature shows that people will take a few things here and there, thinking it is ok and acceptable. I have considerably reduced food and beverage deficits just by locking items away and physically taking stock each month, then sharing the information with the team.

2) Accurate food cost/GP %

Just looking at nett sales against purchasing is a very simplistic way of finding a Cost or GP %. This will give you a figure presuming your stock stays at a static level (which it won’t). As previously mentioned when chefs and beverage managers are faced with a bad monthly margin they will cut back on ordering and use stock up, which only distorts and falsifies the figures for the following month.

3) Stock control/rotation

By taking stock/inventories on a regular basis the teams see and understand stock value, manage stock rotation better and become more aware of slow moving stock and can make decisions on creating specials, new menu items to use this stock up before it expires.

4) It is smart business sense

Many businesses would love to take stock more often, but find it draining on resources, but with Kitchen CUT’s unique system you can do this very quickly each month.

How often should I take stock/inventory?

Ideally once a month. But even you take stock every 2 months that is only 6 time a year. Also if you can do this in a couple of hours and have immediate results, it will be much easier on you and your teams.

What other features are on Kitchen CUT for stock taking/inventory?

On Kitchen CUT you can have multiple areas/people taking stock at the same time and then consolidate all the areas (providing you a package with multiple users). You can review your stock and filter by – supplier/vendor, ingredient, category. You can see what items hold the greatest value on graphs and the balance per supplier/vendor and category. You can create variance reports to show you every detail of the differences between two different stock takes/inventories plus much more.

Will it really save me time?

From a survey of our members that use our stock taking/inventory feature on average they have reduced the man hours required to carry out this process by up to 75%.

So why not try it out for yourself?

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