5 Ways to Streamline Your Inventory and Save Time

Jan 10 2017

Cost of Goods Sold Inventory

There’s a balance between speed and accuracy when taking inventory. With the limited amount of time between close of business and opening the next day, coming up with the most efficient way to take inventory will maximize your results. Here are five suggestions: 


  1. Shelf to Sheet

Taking sheets can be set up to mirror how the items are kept on the shelves. A common Shelf to Sheet method is “left to right, top to bottom”, where you take inventory as if you’re reading a book. Whichever method you choose, the time spent flipping pages and hunting for items will be reduced.

  1. Organized Storage Areas

Organized storage areas will make Shelf to Sheet even easier. Within a given Storage Area, try to implement practices and procedures that will ensure everything gets kept in its own, dedicated spot. If anything gets taken out temporarily– like from the walk in to the prep area – make sure it gets returned to the same spot. As time goes on, employees will get used to where these items are stored.

  1. Inventory Only Key Items

The Pareto Principle states that 20% of your ingredients are responsible for 80% of your costs. You can implement this by reducing your most frequent inventories to include only key items. Then, at quarter or year end, take an inventory that includes all items. This will save you time, day-to-day.

  1. Consistent Pack Sizes

Taking sheets should be set up for certain pack sizes. Make sure your manager always orders in those pack sizes, and that the vendors always send in those same sizes. If the pack size does need to change, be sure to advise your managers and update all taking sheets accordingly.

  1. Include Whomever Does the Counting

Be sure to include those who actually take the inventory in the setup of your taking sheets, as their experience will help the sheets to align with the process. Kitchen managers can be involved with the food, while bar managers can be involved with the alcohol. Some BI solutions allow for multiple users to be taking inventory at the same time, as long as they are counting in different storage areas.

These tips will help you streamline your inventory and save time. It will take a little extra work on the front end to utilize some (or all) of these tips when setting things up, but once in place, less time will be spent on taking inventory, and more time can be spent on the floor

Jeremiah Anzelc

Jeremiah Anzelc

Jeremiah is a former chef and restaurant manager. He has been a valuable member of Ctuit’s Client Services department since 2011 as a restaurant industry adviser with an emphasis on implementing cost of goods sold practices to ensure efficiency and profitability.