Getting a Handle on Inventory Control
Proper tracking saves on your bid, improves cycle menu effectiveness and reduces food waste.
When it comes to saving money, K-12 education foodservice directors can benefit by understanding inventory control. It helps with purchasing, streamlining products and reducing waste.
Inventory management helps narrow bids during procurement season. It’s also a component of cycle menus, and it prevents wastefulness of buying too much or choosing the wrong product.
Start inventory control by measuring what’s in stock. List the non-perishable foods and supplies. Then, review your menu and note the products needed to produce daily meals.
Next comes communication. Talk to your students about what they liked or didn’t like. “Taste test and buy products that students like. If the food isn’t eaten, it’s waste,” says Gordon Food Service Nutritionist Jenny Bambacht.
Communication also includes talking to staffers. They hear from students every day, and they can explain food-handling and prep concerns.
Armed with this information, you know a lot about your inventory needs. But how much do you need and when do you need it? Guidance awaits in your point-of-sale (POS) records. A POS system can help the bid process with daily, weekly or monthly reports of product usage.
The Gordon Food Service Inventory Manager tool provides online help, tracking food costs and integrates with Online Ordering, Recipe Manager™ and invoicing systems.
Another key to inventory control is cycle menus, which help schools narrow the number of items they order before rolling out the menu. This saves money, economizes storage and improves inventory rotation.
Measuring inventory and usage plays a role in waste prevention. Bambacht urges watching waste in the dining room. Tracking food that comes back uneaten helps in adjusting production and ordering. It’s also a signal to revisit the cycle menu and change out less-popular ingredients.
Ask your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative about inventory tracking tools that can help with efficiency.