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Sarah Ward

Inventory Management Plan: 5 Cafeteria Inventory Ideas

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An inventory management plan can take a corporate or company cafeteria from standard food service to a top-of-the-line, in-house restaurant for a business. Inventory management techniques are key to any successful business. When it comes to a corporate cafeteria that wants to run with maximum operational efficiency, there are specific inventory management strategies that stand out.

In this blog post, we’ll cover crucial aspects of an inventory management plan for a corporate cafeteria. If you’re managing a corporate cafeteria, these are factors you need to keep in mind. These five factors might not show up in everyday inventory work, but they are important for the success and long-term profitability of your cafeteria.

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5. Order Management

Order management is a critical part of every inventory management plan. The first step of inventory management and a perpetual inventory system is figuring out what you’ve sold and how quickly you went through your inventory. That sets you up for proper demand planning. The second step is order management, where you set up a system to order and find your reorder point to get supplies in a timely manner.

For corporate cafeterias, order management is made increasingly complex based on the variety of food stalls within the cafeteria. The order management process for the cafeteria is often an umbrella system. Each food stall always has its own inventory needs. Order management can be arranged based on each menu item and ingredient for recipe costing.

4. Menu Planning

An inventory management process simplifies the connections between your back-of-house supplies and front-of-house menu planning efforts. From studying the menu meaning for food stalls to learning the menu types for different meals, there’s a lot that goes into menu planning. That’s not to mention company cafeteria menu ideas.

For a corporate cafeteria, menu planning in light of inventory needs may be more of a job for individual food stalls. The stalls should take note of what they need for each menu item and how often they use each ingredient. Once that initial work is done, stall staff can meet with the management team to check inventory and order what they need.

3. POS Integration

POS integration makes most aspects of inventory control easier because when the POS system is operating correctly,  inventory counts are more accurate. Restaurant POS systems make everything run smoothly by keeping track of orders and sales through sale records.

BinWise, BlueCart, and Revolution each integrate with over 50 POS software systems. If you already have a preferred POS system, chances are we work with it. If not, our sales teams can make a recommendation. The restaurant tech our clients work with gives us insights into the right restaurant POS system for each business.

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2. Count Schedules

Inventory count schedules make an inventory management plan easier to conduct for a full team. When you use BinWise for your beverage inventory management, your whole team has access to the counts. Such convenient access makes for faster and simpler inventory. 

Count schedules don’t have to be rigid. Your count schedule will depend in part on whether you do perpetual or periodic inventory. Once you’ve decided, designate a day to get inventory done. For a perpetual inventory system, aim for brief, once-a-day counts, and a weekly full count. 

1. Food Station Coordination

The most high maintenance part of inventory management for a corporate cafeteria is the fact that there are multiple food stalls. While each stall is responsible for daily maintenance of its own inventory, they’re all one part of a larger system. From an inventory standpoint they need to operate as one when they take inventory.

If the various food stalls coordinate effectively, the inventory management plan as a whole will work better. The inventory management plan for the cafeteria relies on every food stall knowing its own inventory and coordinating inventory practices with the other stalls.

"Key Takeaway: An inventory management plan can take a corporate or company cafeteria from a standard food service spot to a top-of-the-line in-house restaurant for a business."

Frequently Asked Questions About Inventory Management for Corporate Cafeterias

Inventory management for corporate cafeterias involves many moving parts. From the individual food stall inventory to the cafeteria order management, the management team to the wait staff have a lot on their plates. Going into the process armed with useful information is the best way to start.

Our answers to the following frequently asked questions will give you a strong foundation to master corporate cafeteria management. Some of these answers apply primarily to inventory management. We included multiple answers to show how wide of a reach inventory management has, and what it means for corporate cafeterias:

How Do You Keep Track of Cafeteria Inventory? 

The best way to keep track of cafeteria inventory is to maintain a consistent counting schedule, including inventory cycle count management and perpetual inventory. Inventory moves quickly, especially if your cafeteria is well-managed and appreciated by employees in the company. Regular inventory counts will keep it from slipping out of your fingers.

In general, the best way to keep track of inventory is to stay up to date with your products, sales, and reorder point. There will still be days or weeks when inventory gets messy, but when you stay on top of it, those times are minimized.

Why Is Inventory Management Important In the Food Industry? 

Inventory management is important in the food industry because of the constant food inventory turnover. Food products in the industry can be related to grocery store sales or room service selections from hotel inventory. Ingredients, single-serve products, and full meals get consumed quickly on a regular basis. That’s excellent, but it also means inventory management needs to be a top priority.

In any given food service business, the inventory program is responsible for keeping products in stock to keep customer satisfaction up. The program also works to keep the budget on track. Essentially, inventory management keeps businesses in the food industry profitable.

How Do You Store Food Products? 

Proper food storage is dependent on the food products or ingredients in question. Some common food product storage techniques for food safety include:

  • Freezing food in vacuum-packed bags
  • Storing produce that will sell quickly in crates or boxes
  • Refrigeration for commonly refrigerated ingredients that will be used on a regular basis
  • Basic shelving for dry goods–such as rice, beans, and spices

Some food products should be stored for immediate use, while others should be protected in an airtight container to last longer. Some can be frozen, while others need to remain thawed for ease of use. It all comes down to what the product is and when it will be used.

What Is the Best Way to Manage Inventory? 

The best way to manage inventory is with regular counts and an organized system. An organized system means something different for everyone, but in general, keeping products in marked, specific locations in your storeroom is a good idea. Tracking and reviewing your counts in a cloud-based software system also helps.

BinWise Pro, paired with the BinScan mobile app, can help you manage your beverage inventory with ease. The BinWise platform is designed to give you everything you need to keep track of your beverage inventory in the palm of your hand.

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Corporate Cafeteria Inventory Management: Your Corp. Management Plan

Corporate cafeteria inventory management brings together all the moving and edible parts of a corporate cafeteria. From an order management system to stock coffee to beverage inventory software for company happy hour, inventory management will keep you in corporate shape.

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