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Efficient Ways to Manage Restaurant and Food Service Supply Chains

Aug. 5, 2021
Succeeding in the commercial kitchen business is a challenging enough endeavor without factoring in poor supply chain management.

A restaurant can make it big in the business due to a range of factors, but the most essential element that ensures smooth functioning, high revenue and productivity is efficient supply chain management. Well-managed supply chains decide whether you have all the material required to keep your restaurant functioning properly.

Whether it's spare parts for commercial cooking equipment, raw material, produce, consumables like straws and paper towels, or pre-made offerings, a dysfunctional supply chain will derail daily operations, cause losses and wastages, and affect your overall revenue.

Managing a supply chain without hiccups is an important part of your duties if you intend on succeeding in the commercial kitchen business. However, it’s not straightforward and requires a fair amount of planning, effort and tools to help you while you’re at it. This article discusses the importance of restaurant supply chain management, improvements to implement and tips for managing your suppliers so you can make the best of your commercial kitchen.

The Importance of Supply Chain Management

Supply chains enable restaurants and commercial kitchens to keep their businesses running as restaurants procure material from the suppliers to fulfill orders placed by patrons. A well-maintained supply chain can help you fulfil orders on time, reduce wastage, cut losses and pull in a larger margin of profit each month.

Well-maintained supplier relations ensure that you get your material on time so you face no problems day-to-day at your restaurant. Even the most basic necessities have to be fulfilled by suppliers, and you must always have backups and systems in place that can restock your inventory if your primary supplier is incapable of making deliveries on a given day. Commercial cooking equipment forms one part of your functional efficiency, while supply chain management turns the cogs in the wheel.

Tips to Improve your Supply Chain Management

1.Analyze Demand in Real-time

  • One of the most important aspects of efficient supply chain management involves demand analysis.
  • While doing this manually might be tedious, digital solutions like supply chain software and point of sale systems automate this integral task.
  • Point of sale systems can be integrated with your inventory and equipment for increased efficiency and tracking.
  • This software helps you analyze purchases, orders, the movement of products and demand to give you an accurate supply forecast.
  • Any changes in customer demand will result in an immediate modification to the supply forecast, warranting correspondence with the supplier to modify any upcoming orders.

2. Supply Sourcing and Tracking

  • Food and health guidelines are never to be trifled with. You must track and verify the quality and health certification of all the products you source from your suppliers, as well as make sure to purchase fully authorized commercial cooking equipment.
  • In the unfortunate event that there's a breakout, contamination or product of poor quality, you must source the defect back to its origin so you can make the necessary changes to your supply chain.
  • Having a digital point of sale system aids in this as well, thanks to order histories and digitally maintained archives that can be accessed at the click of a button.

3. Manage Promotions with Care

  • Be sure to avoid product shortages when you’re offering promotions, as this would tarnish your restaurant’s image the most.
  • Quality and inventory management systems have to be kept up-to-date to avoid running short of material when you’re running promotions at your establishment.
  • Software that aids in inventory management must be referred to before announcing any such events, so that you have the time to take a look at supply forecasts and place any orders or automate them to avoid cutting short your special deals.

4. Maintaining Digital Inventory Management Solutions

  • Software programs that help you manage, track and order supplies are readily available to be deployed at your establishment.
  • This type of software can automatically place orders and send out payments at regular intervals so you don’t have to expend extra labor in managing this aspect of the supply chain.
  • Point of sale systems have adaptive forecast settings helping you map out demand patterns and supply orders by tracking orders, sales and even linking with commercial cooking equipment.

Develop and Manage Supplier Relationships to Expand your Network

Maintaining good supplier relationships goes a long way in helping you stock your establishment. However, a lot of these relationships aren’t set in stone and a supplier can cut you off without valid reasons. To avoid shortages, make sure you have a minimum of two backup suppliers at all times. You can also explore the option of online procurement to manage your supplies in a more hassle-free and guaranteed manner.

The Takeaway

Establishing and keeping a commercial kitchen functioning is no easy task, and neither is maintaining a functional and seamless supply chain. However, these suggestions and methods will provide you with a more holistic view of the challenges at hand, allowing you to address them in a timely fashion so that your reputation is maintained and your establishment continues to reap profits.

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About the Author

Emily Andrews

Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.