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Among the new challenges many restaurants face today, supply chain disruption has affected everything from inventory, hours of operation, and staffing. Under-performance at any of these layers will ultimately affect customer satisfaction. Restaurant managers cannot always count on the right items being delivered at the expected time. Below are 3 ways to offset this uncertainty and maintain an inventory that facilitates successful operation.

1.  Increase your inventory of durable goods with a long shelf life

Take a look at your current inventory. Investing in items with a long shelf life will protect you from missed shipments or wasting items with shorter storage periods. With this knowledge, you can rework your food budget to rely more heavily on these items in your everyday food prep.

2.  Get a handle on the inventory you do have

The current inconsistency of supply chains timeliness and reliability calls for awareness of exactly what you have in stock. It is more crucial than ever to be able to use this information to quickly alter your menu options based on missed deliveries or food prep staff shortages. You may find this agile work process a better overall practice, even outside a pandemic.

Ensure all inventory, whether it is food or supplies, is counted. Take the additional step of identifying expiration dates where necessary. Food recalls appear to be more prevalent these days and require an established process from identification through disposal and reporting. Even though you may have less inventory, you can be confident that it is stored properly and accounted for.

3.  Use technology for accurate use analytics and forecasting

It’s estimated that 4-10% of restaurant food is wasted before it is even served. https://www.merchantmaverick.com/restaurant-inventory-food-inventory/ Much of this food waste can be tied to employee mishandling or even product theft. Supply chain inconsistencies impede your ability to overcome missed deliveries or out-of-stock items.

If you have not already, invest in an inventory management system to properly track stock from arrival to usage. This will give you a clear picture of which items are being used most and which remain on the shelves. Inventory management systems can also establish a reliable usage method, such as FIFO (First In, First Out) to mitigate the loss of expired items.

Perform audits regularly to identify incidents of stock loss among staff. This data can be used for retraining and reiteration of store regulations. Envysion has industry-leading audit software for health & hygiene, operations, and loss prevention. To find out more, click here.

Regardless of the inconsistent flow of each component of the supply chain, simple steps can push your restaurant to be a top performer. Taking the time to completely audit your supplies will pay off in the long run. Using technology to log and track item movement will give you a real-time look at inventory and identify possible shrinkage due to employee mishandling or theft. With this information, you will be empowered to accurately project the usage rate and amount of supplies needed in the future. This knowledge will give you a leg up when deliveries are late or missing altogether. Conducting audits regularly will also help identify and address non-compliant practices and inventory shrinkage. Preparing now will go a long way in streamlining your operations and being ready to adapt to ever-changing supply chain practices.