Like every other business, restaurants are trying to make a profit.  Few things are more important to the success of a restaurant than inventory management.  

Restaurant owners who keep track of inventory levels and costs make better decisions when it comes to menu planning, ordering and cost management.

Why It’s Important

Proper food inventory management keeps food service running smoothly.  Mismanagement of food inventory can lead to shortages, waste and inaccurate pricing.  These all affect food and beverage cost control.  Up to 10% of the food inventory of a restaurant is wasted.  In poorly managed restaurants that percentage can be more.  Whatever food is wasted cannot generate revenue.

The biggest risk for restaurant owners is rising wages and food costs.  If you aren’t tracking your food cost it will quickly eat up your profits.  You have to know what each dish is costing you so you can price it properly to ensure your restaurant stays profitable.

Food Waste 

Hotel inventory management software can help eliminate food waste.  

There are situations where food waste is unavoidable.  If a customer doesn’t like a dish and returns it to the kitchen, the food is wasted.  Things like cooking errors, preparation waste, and spillages are avoidable.  With proper training and equipment staff can become more aware of food waste and how to minimize it.

To track food waste you have to know your inventory and how much is allocated for each dish.  This allows you to compare sales to inventory and calculate whether your food inventory is generating profit.  For example, if you look at your sales of steak, and then compare it to your starting and ending inventory, you can calculate how many steaks you should have on hand.  If your inventory is less than what is supported by your sales, then you have waste.  Now you have to figure out how the food was wasted, lost or stolen.

Over Ordering

Chefs frequently order more products than what is necessary.  Poor inventory management leads to ordering food that isn’t needed.  

Ordering more non-perishable goods than are required isn’t good, but it’s not the end of the world.  You can always cut future orders until you consume existing stock.  Ordering more perishable goods than what is needed leads to food waste.

Poor inventory management leads to increased overhead which eats into your profits.

Poor Portion Control

If you are throwing away bags of untouched food every night, your portions are off.  Effective portion control lets you stretch your food supply and budget further without sacrificing quality.  

Standardized measurements and equipment for each dish prevent food from ending up in the trash.  You will never eliminate food waste entirely.  You can reduce the amount of food waste by taking a few simple measures.  This helps keep money in your pocket.


Being diligent with your food inventory allows you to meet Health Department regulations regarding food safety.

How well a restaurant handles inventory is vital to its success.  Today’s restaurants need systems that track inventory and sales and provide other information that restaurateurs need to run their business successfully.