How to Keep Product in the Store When You Need It

Posted by Patrick Maness +

It’s good to move product, right? Until you reach for more and … there’s nothing left. Then you’ve got a problem. You can scramble off to resupply — if that’s even possible — or you can tell the customer you’re out of said item. Neither option is appealing and both are preventable if you can successfully manage your supply chain.

But the task gets bigger and more difficult when that chain spans several restaurant locations. To help you keep tabs on the product in each location, here are four ways you can support your restaurant inventory so that, when the moment comes, you won’t be left empty-handed.

* Pick the right vendors. Many of your supply chain issues can be resolved by this simple suggestion. In the past you may have shopped for food or restaurant equipment and supply vendors based solely on price. Now, however, take a look at your vendors again with speed in mind. How often does the vendor deliver to you? How quickly can they send a rush order? Do they have what you need in stock? You’ll run out of inventory eventually, but even a day’s notice may be enough time to get the replenishment your stores need.

* Shop local. Physical distance is the greatest barrier when you're looking for a quick restock, so cut that distance whenever you can. Many chefs, if they have the space, have chosen to start their own urban gardens to ensure the produce they need is always at their fingertips. If that doesn’t work for you, consult the local farmers market or other area options when you need that special product quickly.

* Order in bulk when you can. If you have the space, bulk ordering can prevent unexpected shortages, especially when it comes to napkins and other disposables. Buying in bulk may also lead to cost savings, ensuring you can boost your bottom line even as you support your inventory.

* Make use of your space. Every restaurant is different, including every restaurant in your chain, and some are simply bigger than others. If you have a location or two that are larger than the rest, make sure they are using that space to maximum capacity. If not, consider ordering additional product and storing it at that location as a resource for other stores. If the stores are close, you can get additional inventory more quickly than if you were to order it — and you’ll save money as well. 

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