The Restaurant Inventory Technology Checklist

restaurant inventory technology checklist

Technology has changed the way you run your restaurant.

These days, you likely use a POS system, not handwritten tickets. You probably have a website with your location and menu. And you use social media to share updates about your restaurant.

If you’re not doing any of that… Well, we hope living in the 90s is fun for you.

It’s 2023. And tech is everywhere.

It’s made your life better, easier, and more efficient.

But there’s something else in your restaurant that could use a tech-infused update.

Something that’s time-consuming, clunky, and inaccurate when done by hand.

Something that’s vital to the long-term success of your restaurant…

Your inventory counts.

Nowadays, there are dozens of software solutions to help you with this vital task.

But with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to pick restaurant inventory technology that ends up not really helping.

That’s where this Restaurant Inventory Technology Checklist can make a difference. It walks you through every question you need to ask yourself when choosing a software solution for your business.

It’ll ensure you make the right choice for your restaurant.

By helping you get accurate counts, the perfect restaurant inventory technology will save you thousands.

Let’s get started.

Q1: Does the Restaurant Inventory Technology Save You Time?

If you’re taking a weekly inventory (which you SHOULD be doing) by hand, it’s likely a time- consuming process.

It probably requires staying late on a Sunday night and hanging out in your walk-in for three hours.

Maybe you try to get your staff to join in, and then have to double check their work when they slack off.

If you invest in restaurant inventory technology, don’t you want to make sure it’s going to give you your numbers in less time?

There’s no reason to pay money to still spend those same three hours freezing every Sunday.

That’s time you could be spending on your couch watching a certain show that involves dragons, or simply just sleeping.

Restaurant inventory technology comes in all shapes and sizes. When looking at software, see what’s going to be required of you before you pull the trigger.

Some just offer you organization for your counts. And while yes, organization helps you stay in line, you’re still stuck doing those long inventory counts.

But do they also require you to enter all your ingredients yourself? And specify unit measurements, and categories and prices?

That sounds almost like it’d be more work, not less.

Other restaurant inventory technology solutions only require partial counts, or – in some instances – no counts at all.

Tech like that can be intimidating. After all, how can you get good numbers with less counts? Well, that brings us to our next question…

Q2: Does the Restaurant Inventory Technology Get You Accurate Counts?

The biggest issue with taking counts by hand? They usually end up inaccurate.

You’ve got a million other things to be doing instead of taking inventory. So you’re going to fudge some numbers.

You guesstimate how many eggs are left in each carton. You accidentally skip the broccoli, then you’re too busy to go back and re-check. You just eyeball your proteins.

And all this gives you numbers that aren’t exactly… exact.

But having iffy numbers leads you to calculate iffy food costs. And when your food cost numbers are off, you’ll be making incorrect profitability decisions for your restaurant.

If you’re making the plunge into restaurant inventory technology, you want a software that spits out accurate numbers, not the same messy ones you’ve already been dealing with.

Do your research. Read reviews. Chat with sales reps. See what the technology has to offer you, and how the numbers stack up.

Some companies will offer you free trials and demos. These can help you see how accurate your numbers can be.

A free trial will also allow you to answer our next question:

Q3: Is the Restaurant Inventory Technology Easy to Use?

And not just that, but do you actually like using it?

This isn’t high school. You don’t have to pretend to like something (or someone) that you can’t stand.

As you check out demos and free trials, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the software easy to use?
  • Will your team members understand how to use it?
  • Will you be able to teach them?

Figuring these things out will help you make smarter decisions for your restaurant.

Reading reviews, as we talked about in the last section, will come in handy here too. You can also ask the company to provide you with customer testimonials.

If you don’t enjoy using the restaurant inventory technology you decide to purchase, you’ll likely stop using it altogether.

And the whole point of investing in restaurant inventory technology is to make a miserable process easier – so if you put yourself with a difficult-to-use, confusing software, you’re not only out a few hundred dollars, but you’re back to square one.

Q4: What else can the Restaurant Inventory Technology provide?

Nowadays, it’s rare to find software that’s a one-trick pony.

Restaurant Inventory Technology has evolved and adapted to offer so much more than just counts.

Some can also help you find your Cost of Goods Sold, so you don’t have to get stuck in a pile of numbers and confusing equations.

Others will help you keep your ingredient prices in line. That way, you can avoid hours digging through dozens of spreadsheets just to find what you paid for squid last month.

And still more can provide guidance on your orders, showing you how much you need on your shelves and keeping you within a budget that actually works for your restaurant.

To figure out what works, you first need to define what you absolutely need. Then, decide what features could help you, even if it’s not a necessity. And finally, be sure to remain open to new ideas.

If you go into a meeting with a very specific set of requirements in mind for the product – and won’t take anything else for an answer – you could miss out on software that could actually be extremely beneficial to your restaurant.

Q5: Is the Restaurant Inventory Technology Cost-Effective?

It’s going to be difficult to find a restaurant inventory technology solution that’s absolutely free. Especially if it’s got all the bells and whistles we just talked about.

But, whatever technology you settle on shouldn’t cost you more than it’ll save you.

You’d think this is common sense. But you’d be surprised as to how many restaurants continue to pay for things that don’t actually benefit them.

Most software is cost-effective as long as you’re using it properly. You can’t buy something, ignore it, and then claim it doesn’t work.

Before you buy, take a look at the numbers. Does it seem crazy expensive? Is it a little bit of a stretch on your budget, but you’re sure the benefits will outweigh the costs? Is it so cheap you won’t even notice it?

This will also take some follow-up once you’re using the software. A few months down the road, once you’ve gotten used to the restaurant inventory technology you’ve chosen, take a look at how you’re doing.

Are you saving thousands but only spending hundreds, or are you saving hundreds while spending thousands?

Q6: What is the Setup Time for the Restaurant Inventory Technology?

We live in the age of Millennials. Which means when we want something, we want it NOW.

Not in 3 months, not in a year. Right now.

However, it’s rare to find a restaurant inventory technology solution that will work at full force immediately.

On average, it may take a week or two for it to get fully up and running. Some will be good to go right away. But if it’s been three weeks and you have nothing, you may need to ask a few questions.

That’s not to say you should get rid of a solid software option simply because of setup time.

Some companies need that buffer zone to get your account fully functioning, so they can provide you with the best help possible.

However, it’s something you should definitely keep in mind.

In addition, pay attention to what you need to be doing during this setup time. Some software companies may ask you to send them sales information or weeks of invoices.

If you’re ignoring those requests, it’s going to take them even longer to help you get the accurate numbers you need.

Q7: What is the Restaurant Inventory Technology’s Support Like?

Even if the technology is simple as pie, you may still need help.

If the software you’re using doesn’t have any sort of support system in place, it may not be the best option for your restaurant.

Is there a hotline you can call whenever you need it, or will you be waiting all night for a response? Will you have a person dedicated to and familiar with your account, or are you always dealing with different people?

Do your research and figure out all the support options that come with your restaurant inventory technology solution. Ask the sales rep you’re purchasing from to provide you with details.

Otherwise, you could get left on the back shelf when you’re in dire need of help.

The Orderly Way

When it comes to Restaurant Inventory Technology, you want to ensure that you’re purchasing something that truly works for your business.

And Orderly can provide an incredible solution to your pesky inventory counts.

With our data-driven approach in your pocket, you’ll never have to count inventory again.

Instead, all you do is snap photos of your invoices and update your sales. Then, Orderly uses that data to calculate your Cost of Goods Sold.

From there, you can start to make smarter decisions that will skyrocket your restaurant’s profitability.

Not only that, but Orderly also helps you prepare orders, save money with suppliers, and set a weekly budget that’s specifically designed to help you save.

All of that in just 3 easy steps on your part.

And with all the time Orderly saves you on inventory, you’ll actually be able to focus on all those other aspects of your profitability… And your restaurant in general.

No more putting off your counts to deal with a broken dishwasher. No more fudged numbers so you can rush home for a well-deserved glass of brandy.

With Orderly, your profitability is done for you. And not only that, it’s more accurate then when you did it yourself.

Plus, it’s priced so it’ll save you thousands more than it’ll cost you.

What are you waiting for? Download the free app, or schedule a demo to see it in action.

Change your inventory for the better. It’s easier than you think.

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.

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