Imagine the food that you bring into your own home that at one point or another gets thrown away. Over the days the accrual of money here can be substantial. Now take that number and multiple it significantly, that is the amount of loss restaurants can incur by not taking the proper steps to reduce waste.
So, how can a restaurant take steps to prevent heavy losses? The following are a few solid suggestions:
Think about what you are buying
Consider the items that you need to operate at a full capacity, and with this knowledge, order accordingly. Consider a few key factors such as:
- Perishable items- Product such as vegetables and fruits have a much shorter expiration date, order them based around business expectation.
- Sales- Sales are a great way to save money, but don’t over-order. A sale only provides positive results if the items purchased go to use.
A healthy inventory comes from strategic planning, prevent waste and you will experience savings, but a much more organized work place as well.
Organization and Storage
Products each have instructions about how to properly store them, adhere to the instructions. There are a number of reasons as to why to do this, but among the most important are:
- Cross contamination- Plain and simple, if meat drips on any kind of fruit or vegetable, loss is going to occur. Cross contamination is among the most financially costly mistakes, but also the most dangerous. Improperly monitoring this can cause health problems and comes with a large list of loss and misfortune.
- FIFO- This is an abbreviation used in any kind of business that involves consistent orders of products, first in, first out. Properly labeling shipments based on their arrival date helps insure that product is sold within proper expiration dates and prevents inventory from going bad.
- Storage conditions- Make a point of noting specific requirements for the storage of a particular item. Products like meat needs specific temperatures to prevent them from going bad, without taking this into consideration a lot of loss can occur.
Sometimes loss is simply unavoidable due to having more product than business, if this is the case than it is important to manage the loss best as a business can. Create innovative ways to minimize losses and lessen the damage, consider the following:
- Create a sale- If you are aware of having over-abundance of a particular item then create a sale that will push orders for that particular item. This may cause a small loss in overall profit, but it will prevent a larger loss that would be experienced from the product going bad.
- Contribute to a cause- If you are in a position in which you know certain product is going to go bad and you have no solution for it, than contribute it to a cause. Donate it to a food bank, do something that will help the community.
When you have loss on your hands it pushes you into a corner, rather than let it make you feel helpless, make the most of a tough situation.
Preventing loss in the restaurant business is without question a make or break point. Taking the time to properly manage it and take control. The only time that loss will truly get out of hand is when you choose to give up, take the steps above into consideration and the rest will work itself out.