Most managers and chefs see stocktaking as tedious chore and often rush through it. But stocktaking should be seen as a pivotal point in the week or month. The objective of the stock taking is not just to get a total financial value for the stock on hand, but also it as an opportunity to better understand your business. It can assist in the detection of pilferage and shrinkage and it will show up slow moving lines.

Restaurant chef in the kitchen

  • Keep your stock sheets updated and arrange stock sheets to match stores. Ensure count sheets have been updated, all old food removed, multiple entries for the same product have been removed.
  • Never ever rush the stock take. Double check, no treble check you stock for discrepancies.
  • Spot checks can be made to ensure that accuracy in the stock take has been obtained.
  • Get the staff to clean and organise all stock rooms prior to doing the stock take. Do they need to sweep the floors, face out all packaging? With case size labels faced out. Having your store rooms organised before the stock take will make the process much easier.
  • Complete the inventory using the Person Process. This reduces the margin of error in counting. One person counts and weighs product and calls them aloud. The other person records and calls back. Remember all inventories should be completed by management.
  • Be sure all scales are placed on a table & solid surface to avoid scales fluctuating and always use a clipboard.
  • Start counting from the back of the kitchen and move forward.
  • Count at the same time every week and ensure the same managers are counting every time. Count all food at the same time. Enter counts immediately and the person who counts should also enter the date to avoid confusion.
  • Have a goal every week after you complete your inventory. Set out an action plan.
  • Be thorough. Complete each storage area before moving on to a new area. Make sure there are no mistakes

Managing Theft

Remember theft from the business can occur through many areas, be they customers, staff or delivery persons and be in stock or cash.

  • Watch out for tell tale signs of theft in your store rooms such as tampering.
  • One beverage ripped out of a case. Always a sure sign of a theft problem.

  • Don’t allow staff to bring in personal bags into the kitchen or the storage areas. Have a properly assigned area.
  • When you hire a new staff member make sure they are very aware of all the security systems and procedures in place. Try to scare them away from any thoughts of dishonesty and make sure they know any theft however small will be easily detected. Ensure all employees sign the employee directory.
  • Most cash theft happens at the tills. Pay attention to the number of voids, refunds, shorts or over by any cashier. Watch to see if any patterns emerge.
  • If you have a theft problem ensure receipts are issued to all customers. Minimizing the possibility of short changing or under ringing. No staff member should be allowed to balance up their own till at the end of their shift.

10 Simple Ways to Control Your Food Cost

  • Instill a sense of ownership among your staff, most importantly among your kitchen staff. You need to include them in loop. This means keeping them aware of the current food costs, areas where we need to improve and what our goals are for the next period.
  • Listen to your staff. Have a “best suggestion” competition every month. Have a prize for the best cost control idea generated. Do you have weekly managers, chefs meetings? Are they held at an agreed time and place every week? Is there a time limit put on the meeting? Are minutes kept?
  • Restaurant chef in the kitchen

  • Identify 2 or 3 cost cutting efforts every week. This way your staff will feel that it’s an achievable even fun project rather than a massive undertaking.
  • Make a rule that no leftover food can be taken home by staff, even if it is surplus. This will create a culture where excess production starts to be made and the line blurs between legitimate leftovers and pilfering.
  • Make sure that your staff are not deliberately creating mistakes or too much so that they can consume them. Do not allow employees to consume mistakes.
  • Spot check all product received by weight. Ensure weights match the invoice. Meat and fish should be trimmed and ready for use and free of excess fat. How much are you losing? Also look for signs of thawing and refreezing, such as large crystals, solid areas of ice, or excessive ice in containers and remember reject anything that you are not happy with.
  • Keep all storage area’s organized daily to aid in ease of counting & ordering. All product removed from open cases, only full and sealed cases, All labels facing out, All like products together in one place and neatly placed on properly labelled shelves, Reduce the amount of multiple storage areas.
  • Why not try working out how much you need to cut purchasing by to improve your GP by just 1%. For example if your business has a turnover of £10,000 per week, you need to cut purchasing by only £100 a week to improve your GP by 1%.
  • Do you know the cost price of everything you buy? Do your managers and chefs know the cost price of everything they buy? You should, they should. Test yourselves.
  • Reduce your inventory levels and organize your food storage areas. Only keep the amount of product on hand that will be used. One of our chefs calls this “the toothpaste tube theory”. The end of the tube seems to last almost as long as the rest of the tube. Remember when you have excess you have waste.

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