Restaurant Inventory Isn’t What It Used to Be

The words “taking restaurant inventory” are enough to make you and your staff cringe and scatter in 20 different directions.

You’ve tried taking it yourself. But every time you pick up the pen and clipboard, there are a dozen other fires to put out. So you put it off.

You tried getting staff to do it. And it… Didn’t go too well.

You can tell their numbers are off. But it’s not like you have the time to check them. So, you go with what they gave you.

And surprisingly, they’ve been working ok so far. Your restaurant’s still open, after all.

It might not be making any money. Actually, it’s slowly losing it. But not enough to feel scary just yet.

For years, these mediocre methods for taking a restaurant inventory have gotten you by. Your staff (or sometimes, you) do guesstimated counts, and from there you sometimes find some sort of Cost of Goods sold. Then you use those inaccurate numbers to guide an order or two before things get busy and you forget all about it again.

But, times have changed.

And your old methods? Well, they just won’t cut it anymore.

What happened to restaurant inventory?


For starters, customers have evolved. And so have their tastes.

They don’t just want a meal, they want an experience. They want something memorable, something they’ll be able to share and talk about.

For example, according to the National Restaurant Association, 57% of customers say they want their food to be locally sourced.

So if all your ingredients are coming from the same big-name suppliers, you may see customers start to turn the other way.

Maybe it’s time to switch your food sources. Set up meetings with local farmers, butchers, and suppliers.

It’s important to note, however, that this will also mean a change in the way you manage your restaurant inventory.

What will this do to my restaurant inventory?

We’re getting there.

When you change your menu, you change your stockroom.

And when you change your stockroom, you’re going to have to change how you take restaurant inventory.

Those spreadsheets aren’t just gonna cut it anymore.

Because when you go local, you have more suppliers to deal with.

And ingredients will change. You won’t just have piles of Romaine, you’ll have Arugula. Spinach. Kale.

They’re going to cost you a bit more. And with more numbers to keep track of, if you still have a halfway-done restaurant inventory, it could really cause a problem.

With your current system, you won’t be able to keep up.

Luckily, it’s 2018. And restaurant technology has adapted with the times.

No need to waste hours in the walk-in when technology can do the counting for you. And do it way more accurately, to boot.

That’s what we strive to do here at Orderly.

The Orderly Way

No long afternoons taking a restaurant inventory.

No more arguing with your staff to see who will stay late and get the counts done.

With Orderly, all you have to do is snap photos of your invoices and update your sales. Then we calculate your COGS for you.

We’ll also be able to help you set a weekly budget, have productive conversations with your suppliers, and prepare an order.

So, when we say restaurant inventory has changed, it’s actually because with Orderly, it’s obsolete.

See how much time – and money – you can save.

Try it for free, or schedule a demo and see Orderly in action.

Don’t let restaurant inventory get in the way of your success. Enjoy your profitable future with Orderly.

Danny Barry

As Orderly's Content Marketing Manager, Danny is always in the weeds of the restaurant business. He's having conversations. He's scouring the internet for research. He's writing until his fingers start to hurt. And it's all to help you run a smarter restaurant. When he's not writing about restaurants, Danny can be found eating at restaurants. Or, you may find him cheering on his beloved Miami Hurricanes.

Follow Us

Recent Posts

Top Resources

Liked this article? Subscribe & Get Weekly Updates.