Inventory Shrinkage Beware!

Ginger HollowellRestaurant POS, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

How to protect your restaurant against food theft.

Waiters can hurt your profit margins in a variety of ways, and rarely is restaurant theft as simple as taking from the cash register, or not ringing up an order and pocketing the money.

Working around food all day can tempt even the most honest employee. I mean restaurant employees get hungry too. But they can also get greedy. Food theft, given ease of access, is very common in every restaurant.

It’s often effortless for wait staff to partake in food from the line, eat returned or misordered menu items, drinks from the bar, or even steal edible inventory from your walk-in! Most servers fail to realize how these actions can inflate, shrink, and misrepresent inventory, inevitably hurting their employer’s (and their own) bottom line.

True Story

One of our clients using our restaurant POS system didn’t want to be bothered with tracking the inventory. So he just rang up tickets with the POS. One day he opened the fridge and noticed a paper sack in there. He thought it was an employee bringing his lunch. In fact, he had noticed the paper sack before. For some odd reason he decided to peek inside. Guess what he found? A package of raw chicken! This had been going on for some time. He decided to start tracking inventory. Remember, a small package of meat worth $10 X 365 days in the year adds up to $3,650! Ouch!

Inventory shrinkage in the foodservice industry can be notoriously difficult to track. Whether you operate a pizza parlor or a full-service restaurant, how much money you makes largely comes down to how effectively you manage your food and drink inventory. Food cost is right up there with labor cost in the overall budget of running a restaurant.

Even the most well-run, established restaurants struggle with this issue. The more inventory you have, the less money you have for marketing, investing in new equipment, or just having more money in the bank, collecting interest.

Not only is most of your inventory highly perishable, but the more people involved in the process of taking raw inventory and turning it into meals served to customers, the harder it is to control waste and loss.

Even a small portion of your food cost dollar lost to waste, loss and theft can equal a huge amount of money. Without a system in place to track inventory and its costs, your food costs can skyrocket and be a major drain on your profitability. Most POS systems have the ability to track inventory.

Besides tracking inventory through your POS system, here are a few precautions you can take to protect against food and beverage theft in your establishment:

  • Perform regular stock checks (perhaps at irregular times)
  • Compare purchase orders against deliveries at the time of delivery
  • Monitor bartender habits when pouring drinks for consistency in volume
  • Review of comp practices against allotment
  • Enforce policies on employee meals and break habits
  • Install security camera

With many years of experience in merchant services integrated with quick service and family restaurants, we’ve done a lot of research on the various ways what seem like, small leaks, can add up to huge losses in profits! Protect your inventory today!

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