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Between wages, operating costs, investments and more, good cash management is vital to any organisation. When you have access to cash assets, you are better prepared to handle any unexpected developments, from replacing equipment to extraordinary situations like a pandemic. Purchasing has a major impact on an establishment’s finances and is of course essential to its business. So, it’s important to consider your storage capacity and trends in your business activities when it comes to ordering sufficient quantities to avoid running out of stock. Both at commercial restaurants and in institutional catering, it is important to find the right balance between inventory and cash assets. Here are some points to consider when you want to define and optimise this process.
Calculate the quantities you need
First of all, it is essential to know how much of each product you go through each week. This involves stock-taking so you can track the goods you use, familiarise yourself with your customers and their habits, and gain an understanding of the factors that cause consumption levels to vary (seasonality, weather, events, etc.). To take the example of egg products, peeled hard-boiled eggs are in particularly high demand in summertime, as they are used in a wide variety of dishes like salads and hors d’oeuvres.
When you know how much of a product you use in a given period of time, you can order the right amount for your needs, no more and no less, whilst maintaining a reasonable buffer to absorb any fluctuations.
Manage your storage space and product shelf life
Once you have calculated the quantities you need, it’s important to look at them from a perspective of storage capacity. The arrangement of your storage space can be restrictive, especially refrigerated and frozen areas, which tend to be much smaller and use a lot more energy. In addition, shelf life is a vital food safety point for you to consider, as the health of your customers or diners will depend on it. Some food has a relatively long shelf life (like the 39 days for Cocotine’s liquid egg and pasteurised whole egg products), but others need to be eaten sooner. This means you should take these timeframes into account to avoid having an overstock and not have to worry about your inventory’s expiry dates. In any case, you should always follow the FIFO (first in, first out) system for managing food items and adjust your deliveries accordingly.
Optimise your deliveries
Whenever possible, geographic proximity is a key factor to consider, as it affects transport costs. Regular contact with suppliers is essential to ensuring they meet your needs and expectations. These interactions can help improve your ability to adjust your order quantities or respond to a stock outage of a product. As concerns order sizes, it’s best to find the right balance between storage (with larger quantities ordered each time), stock rotation (product consumption) and the number of deliveries. This calculation can reduce your expenses while maintaining your cash assets and providing for business continuity. Your delivery frequency should be determined so you can get the goods you need without overloading your storage capacity or investing too much at once in supplies. In other words, accurate delivery management can save you money whilst giving you flexibility.
In short, cash and inventory management can be optimised through frequent supplies of provisions. Your suppliers’ responsiveness and proximity can ensure you have access to all the products you need to prepare the dishes on your menu and satisfy unexpected demand. It’s vital to choose the right suppliers. See our tips in about supplier reliability.