Inventory Control at a Private Restaurant

Learning about inventory control over this half of the quarter got me thinking and reflecting about when I worked as an assistant chef at a restaurant.  It was the first time that I got to learn about economic order quantity, safety stock, and reorder point. The managers running the restaurant had vast experience and I was lucky to learn how a private restaurants works. For the two months I worked there only one time did they run out of ingredients. There were times that the restaurant was fully packed. My bosses forecasted this and made sure that we would not run out of supplies until we are at the end of the night. This turned out to be the truth as we still had ingredients left over for the next day after our busiest day. As well there were some nights that there was only a few people that were ordering and my bosses had that under control too. I got to see how management works when there were times where the restaurant was packed and when it only had a few clients. I enjoyed working there and I got to learn even more from my responsibilities. The responsibilities I had were far and wide sometimes I would prepare food for the chef, sometimes I would clean, and sometimes I did some food runs. All this combined made my time there valuable.

One thing I recognized that good control of inventory and having a talented chef making food doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant will be successful. We were open during the harshest time of last winter. But there were opportunities to attract more clients that weren’t taken advantage of. For example the door to enter wasn’t open and I saw people trying to figure out whether or not the restaurant was open due to the dark atmosphere. I learned that one of the most important components in creating a successful restaurant is you have to be able to sell your idea and show people that their product is delicious and worth buying. I am surprised how relevant our Operations Management class is and how many places it is applied too where I have had experience working.


Have you had a chance to apply inventory management in a work situation?

Have you had a chance to apply any concept we’ve learned in Operations Management?

Have you ever worked for a restaurant? If so what were your favorite perks?

One thought on “Inventory Control at a Private Restaurant

  1. I believe that the ability of not running out of stock in a restaurant is a critical skill that every chef needs to master. In fact, working with ingredients that can be used in several dishes just makes things more complicated. The proper demand and sales forecasting do contribute to a successful start in order management. In addition, paying attention to the seasonality that is observed in restaurant sales is also important to ensure that orders are made in a way that ingredients are as fresh as possible. Depending on your restaurant, you most probably be busy on the weekends and on the evenings throughout the week.
    My work with restaurants was focused on inventory control. The control actually would go as follow:
    1.Starts on the level of recipe, where while setting up the system each recipe needs to be linked to several items and a wastage yield will have to be added to every item used.
    2.A daily entry for stock receiving, as well a daily update for any wastage should be made in addition to the sales that were recorded through the POS. Our company used MICROS as software.
    3.Daily entry for any transfer within different branches of the same restaurants. This would include transfers In and Out
    4.Daily entry for any transfer from the warehouse
    5.At end of EVERY month we would do a stock take for the inventory available by business unit and would estimate the variances which are the difference between the ending stock calculated based on the system consumption and the ending stock calculated based on the physical count.
    6.Variances are then analyzed with the chef in order to identify leakages and work on improvement for the process.
    I am not aware of a time we were able to have our variances equal to zero. In fact, with food being an organic ingredient, it is almost impossible to have a 100% control. Simply off season fruits and vegetables will not yield the same output as fruits of vegetables collected in their season. Every menu as well would need a different system setup. The mission might be impossible, but it is one that is full of tiny details and discoveries that are always a fun to take.

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