Business Insights

Is your inventory management up to speed?

SOME PIZZAMAKERS CHOOSE the traditional approach of wood fired pizza ovens but most prefer to utilise today’s contemporary conveyor cooking options. Which is best for your business depends on many factors include the size of your kitchen and whether you own or rent your premises.

5 MIN READ 07 Sep 2021


  • Keeping a tight control over your inventory management can improve both operational efficiency and profit
  • You should have a designated inventory manager responsible for signing off on receipt of goods who checks pricing, quantity and condition
  • Accurate record keeping and effective portion control is imperative for keeping track of your inventory
  • Dedicated restaurant management software systems make it easy to track your purchasing, flag daily use items, conduct virtual stocktakes and more 


INVENTORY is one of the key cost centres of any foodservice operation, and badly managed inventory can end up wasting tens of thousands of dollars.

With many foodservice business working on a profit margin of less than 10 per cent, and ingredients costs making up to one-third of total expenses, it’s imperative that you make the maximum use of everything you’ve paid for.

By keeping a tight control over your inventory management, you can improve both operational efficiency and profit. Here are four key steps to take to ensure your inventory management is up to speed:

1. Designate a staff member to oversee all inventory

A designated inventory manager or leader has the responsibility for ensuring that all incoming inventory corresponds to purchase orders. Before signing off on the receipt of goods, that staff member should check pricing, quantity and condition and have the authority to refuse to accept goods or negotiate price adjustments in the event that what is delivered is not up to specifications.

It’s preferable that this same staff member is also responsible for signing for receipt of goods (with delivery hours thereby restricted to when they are present) and ensuring that all inventory is stored according to safety and hygiene requirements and both date of receipt and use-by date are recorded on paperwork as well as on the goods themselves.

Stock levels also need to be monitored to ensure that orders are placed for new inventory before existing stocks run too low, and inventory should also be rotated on a First In First Out basis.

2. Ensure adequate documentation for all purchases

Attention to detail through accurate record keeping is a good habit to get into and will help you keep track of your inventory at all times. Records should be kept for both receipt of inventory as well as distribution. The receiving journal should list time and date of delivery, quantity, unit price, total price and where the goods came from, while the distribution journal records the use of the goods in the kitchen or elsewhere.

Keeping detailed records can also help guard against pilfering or unnecessary wastage which can otherwise go overlooked.

3. Utilise standardised recipes to ensure effective  portion control

You’d be surprised how fast over-portioning of ingredients due to non-standardised recipes and food preparation procedures can deplete inventory. This can be due to inadequate supply of measurement tools but often is simply because standard measurements haven’t been written down and staff haven’t been instructed how to ensure effective portion control.

You should therefore make certain that standard recipes exist for everything on the menu and that food preparation staff know precisely how much of each ingredient goes into each dish. From weighing out toppings on a pizza to precisely measuring how much wine goes into one glass, it’s imperative to ensure that effective portion control is followed at all times.

4. Take advantage of restaurant management software which integrates with your POS system

Some restaurateurs utilise tally cards to record inventory while others run spreadsheets or store data in their POS system. There are now also dedicated restaurant management software systems available which enable you to track all your purchasing, flag daily-use items, conduct virtual stocktakes etc.

Such systems are designed to take the hassle out of inventory management and can make it much easier to find the likely cause of inventory loss by cross-referencing various factors and identifying which products have been used when, by which individual staff member and in what quantities.