A well-stocked kitchen of fresh ingredients is the key to successful service, but a great inventorying system comes first.
Tracking ingredients and managing a purchasing schedule are two of the most effective ways to stay on track with a club kitchen’s budget. A well-organized inventorying system ensures that you will always have the freshest ingredients on hand for upcoming specials, changing menus, and the flexibility to serve all your members. This process also keeps food waste and overspending to a minimum.
Here are some quick tips for the most effective way to inventory in a club kitchen. (See also, How Clubs Manage Inventory Properly.)
1. Stay Consistent
The same team should inventory your kitchen items every week at the same time. This way, the same data and inventorying system can be compared side-by-side to detect trends over time.
By inventorying the kitchen on a regular basis, chefs can keep up with perishable expiration dates, damaged items, or ingredients that have a particular demand in the upcoming days.
Most importantly, remain consistent when transferring orders to your budget. Depending on your club’s preferences, orders should always include the same outline of information, such as:
- Name of the item
- Amount inventoried
- Amount ordered
- Cost per unit
- Total cost
2. Combine Digital and Analog Methods
There are now countless inventorying and POS systems to keep chefs on track in the kitchen. Some programs directly link to vendors, pre-entered budgets, and inventories from previous weeks.
Since none of these systems will be fully comprehensive to every club’s needs, some chefs choose to keep a hand-written inventory list that will link up with the digital option afterward.
3. Record Tips for Improvement
Balancing food waste and customer demand is an ongoing challenge. Keep a list of perished or under-ordered items each week, the reason for the error, and how to adjust in the future. Your inventory system should be the window into how your kitchen can improve.
As the weeks go on, a fine-tuned system should lead to higher net profits, easier menu planning, and peace of mind for the upcoming week of serving your members.