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Sarah Ward

Cafe Inventory Management: 15 Facets of Cafe Inventory 

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Cafe inventory management is a key component of the work that goes into opening a cafe and running it smoothly. Cafe inventory management comes up when you look into the cost to open a cafe and writing a cafe business plan. All the types of cafes you can start have similar inventory management needs. 

In this BinWise blog, we’ll walk you through 15 facets of cafe inventory management, from the standard inventory lists to the software you should use. We’ll also dive into inventory management ideas to smooth the process. 

These lists will help you with everything from customer experience to customer satisfaction. Some of these inventory plans even tie into customer retention strategies. Whether you’re hosting brunch, having a cocktail hour, or collecting customer data in general, quality cafe inventory management will help you keep it all organized and headed for success.

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Cafe Inventory Lists

These five cafe inventory lists are the main categories of inventory you’ll have in your cafe. Overall, everything in your cafe that needs to be kept in stock, in some form or another, is under the umbrella of these categories of cafe inventory management.

5. Food Inventory

Food inventory makes up a large and very important portion of your cafe inventory management. Food inventory management will help you focus on getting the best foods, and always having them ready for your customers. Your executive chef can be a crucial help in this process.

4. Dishes and Cutlery Inventory

Dishes and cutlery inventory isn’t something you think about immediately when you think of food and related inventory, but it’s especially important to stay on top of. Replacing dishes and cutlery as needed is the main function of dishes and cutlery inventory. 

3. Cleaning Supplies Inventory

Cleaning supplies are a part of every working part of your cafe business. From cleaning the tables after customers have dined to keeping the kitchen clean, you need plenty of supplies. 

2. Business Maintenance Inventory

Business maintenance inventory is a broad category, as it covers everything you need, from a business standpoint, to keep the cafe running smoothly. This could be anything from office supplies, technological support, or accounting supplies.

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1. Beverage Inventory

Beverage inventory goes hand-in-hand with food inventory for a cafe business. Your beverage inventory starts with the general list of the beverages you serve and the different liquor bottle sizes you need. It gets broken down from there into ingredients, bottle volume levels, and bar glassware. Your mixologist can help with the process.

Inventory Software Support

Inventory software support eases every step of the inventory process. Counting by hand and keeping endless spreadsheets is an exhausting way to do inventory. These five software support systems make inventory streamlined, to give you one less thing to think about while you run your business.

5. Warehouse Inventory Software

Warehouse inventory software is a subset of general inventory software. Getting software that encompasses your inventory warehouse gives you greater control over your inventory every step of the way.

4. Accounting Software

Accounting software will help you when it comes time to have your books in order. QuickBooks is a piece of accounting software that is loved and trusted by many business owners industry-wide.

3. Food Inventory Software

Food inventory software will help you keep your menu fresh and ready for customers. Food inventory software helps you keep track of what you’re low on, so you never have to worry about your reorder point

2. Beverage Inventory Software

Beverage inventory software goes hand in hand with food inventory software. It’s there to help you keep track of drink ingredients and general beverage stock, so you can confidently serve up all the best drinks.

1. POS Software

POS software, or point of sale software, is a critical part of the software support of every business. Choosing the right POS system for your cafe business will keep your finances moving smoothly.

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Cafe Inventory Management Ideas

Beyond cafe inventory management techniques and software support, there are ideas you can implement to make your inventory process more efficient. These five cafe inventory management ideas will help you stay on top of your inventory, and make it a helpful, headache-free part of your cafe business.

5. Make Use of a Perpetual Inventory System

A perpetual inventory system is one idea you should implement right away. It’s a system where you do regular counts, so you can avoid an intense inventory count and keep everything in line.

4. Stay Organized Every Step of the Way

A good inventory system starts with organization. From the moment you start your cafe, keep your inventory organized so you can stay on top of it.

3. Focus on User-Friendly Features in Software

When it comes to choosing the software that will help you with your inventory process, focus on user-friendly programs. When you’re in the throes of inventory, the last thing you want is inventory software that is complicated to use.

2. Share Inventory Duties with Management Employees

Sharing your inventory duties with managers and supervisors at your cafe will help to ease the process and build up your team. A cloud-based software will help with this endeavor.

1. Build Inventory Time Into the Schedule

Inventory can easily become something you dread every time it comes around. Avoid that situation by building inventory time into your schedule, so it’s never something that you have to struggle through.

"Key Takeaway: Mastering cafe inventory management will give you control over the ins and outs of your cafe business."

Frequently Asked Questions About Cafe Inventory Management

Cafe inventory management is a vast portion of the work you’ll do to keep your cafe running smoothly. Because of how much goes into cafe inventory management, it’s a topic that tends to inspire questions. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will get you headed in the right direction.

How Do You Manage Inventory In a Cafe?

To manage inventory in a cafe, stay organized and keep your inventory practices consistent. There are many forms of inventory management you can use. For a cafe business with a lot of traffic, perpetual inventory is a great way to keep on top of your inventory on a regular basis. 

How Much Inventory Should a Cafe Have?

A cafe should have, at any given moment, enough inventory to last for 5 to 7 days. Generally, this means you’ll get inventory shipments once or twice a week. Having enough inventory to last through the next week means you don’t have to worry about having the right inventory on a day-to-day basis. 

What are the Top Three Principles of Inventory Management?

The top three principles of inventory management are:

  • Demand forecasting: inventory forecasting helps you to see what inventory you’re going to need and how it’ll go to get it for a piece of the foreseeable future. 
  • Stock rotation: stock rotation keeps your inventory fresh, and keeps it easier to count and manage as you check it each time you rotate stock.
  • Cycle counting: cycle counting is a constant across the world of inventory management. In addition to your general inventory management, cycle counting gives you a consistently accurate view of your inventory situation.

These three principles come together to make inventory a more manageable experience. As you master them over time, inventory will become a streamlined process for your cafe business.

What Is the Simplest Way to Manage Inventory?

The simplest way to manage inventory is to keep up with it. The inventory management tips outlined throughout this blog will help you build up your inventory management process. On top of all the specifics of inventory management, keeping up with your inventory is the simplest way to stay on top of it and keep your cafe running well.

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Managing Cafe Inventory: Put Your Management Where Your Mouth Is 

Mastering cafe inventory management will give you control over the ins and outs of your cafe business. From inventory management to order management, BinWise and BlueCart have you covered.

The BinWise Pro inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, gives you peace of mind every time you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software streamlines your order management system.

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