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Everything you need to know about Food Inventory Management

  • Published on : 26/10/2021

Offering delicious food to customers is one of the core activities of every restaurant. But what’s more important is, maintaining stocks for all the necessary ingredients to make those signature meals. A restaurant does this by maintaining a food inventory where all the items are stored for future use yet there are times when things have fallen apart because of not building a proper food inventory management system.

Everything you need to know about Food Inventory Management

To understand better, the following article will talk in detail about what is food inventory management and how to reduce waste in restaurants.

What is food inventory management?

Food inventory management helps you in keeping track of all the food items that you need for the restaurant. It includes both perishable and non-perishable items. You can use the traditional (pen and paper) or modern (spreadsheets) method to jot down the stock you ordered to avoid overbuying.

So, what happens if you fail to maintain your restaurants’ inventory? There can only be either of the two consequences, the inventory takes over the demand causing a lot of wastage and another might lead to customers walking out because of the unavailability of their favourite meal.

And, there are plenty of examples for both the situations in the market. On average a restaurant wastes around 14,325 pounds of food every year. It’s like throwing money in the trash.

An efficient food inventory management system helps you determine the items your restaurant needs, the next order date, and the cost of each item in your stock. This will help you manage your restaurant and apply cost-effective strategies to boost profits.

How to reduce food waste in restaurants?

1. Take suggestions from your staff

You must engage with your staff before implementing any of the waste minimizing strategies because they are the ones always present in the restaurant. The food managing team knows the daily requirement of stock and the exact bifurcation of the quantity that is used every day.

After culminating all the advice, you need to create a structured workflow of how your team will bring down the waste percentage. Train your staff to follow all the waste-reducing policies and make them realize the change they can make for the restaurant.

2. Invest in good inventory management software

Humans make mistakes, they can never be error-free. So, to avoid any inventory calculation mistakes you can switch to an advanced inventory management software that will take care of your stock and send alerts when food items are running out. It can store all kinds of inventory data which will help you in making effective restaurant strategies. 

inresto’s SCM model is one of the most efficient solutions that helps reduce food wastage in restaurants. They can minimize inventory wastages by 25% and improve the bottom line by over 40%.

inresto’s inventory management platform i.e SCM allows you to generate purchase orders from the kitchen itself. The orders are directly sent to the vendors through inresto. The inventory is regularly checked depending on the recipes cooked on a particular day. The application automatically updates the inventory when orders are received. It offers a detailed report on the inventory status of the restaurant, making it easy for you to understand its waste management capability.

3. Practice stock rotation method to save food for a longer time

To avoid your food from rotting, you must adopt two of the very famous methods FIFO and LIFO. FIFO (First In-First Out) can be used for non-perishable items that can be stored within a specific time period. These items need to be used first, before buying any of its extra stock which will eventually reduce overbuying.

The second method is LIFO (Last In-First Out), this can be applied to perishable food items like fruits, vegetables, milk, bread, etc. These items can only be stored for a very short period of time, so they need to be bought at the last but used at the very first.

4. Make an integrated inventory management team

A restaurant is divided into multiple departments that handle specific tasks. Like all other activities, it is essential to create a team that dedicatedly works towards reducing food wastage in the restaurant. These people need to be finely observant in making decisions and must be well versed with the inventory software of the restaurant.

 You need to set up certainly viable targets for the team so that they can strategize and work towards them. All members should be well trained and suggest steps that can be taken to reach the goals.

5. Avoid overbuying

Your staff must keep an eye on the food inventory and order only when it’s needed. Overstocking is very common in the food industry but it’s important to understand the long-term impact it will cause on your restaurant.

Restock food items only after finishing the prior stock or purchase edibles which can be stored for a longer time frame. Do not overbuy perishable items, they will serve no purpose to your restaurant and will mostly end up in the trash.


If you follow all the steps mentioned above, your restaurant will be able to reduce its food wastage by a significant amount. An inventory management system is essential for both small and large restaurants to be head-to-head with its demand. 

In case you are unable to do it by yourself, the market holds some excellent inventory management software like inresto which will help you in maintaining your restaurants’ inventory. A systematic inventory management software can reduce overstocking and inventory mistakes by 17% which will eventually boost your restaurant profits.


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