30 Nov 20 / Blog

5 reasons operators should invest in restaurant inventory software

In recent years the hospitality sector has frequently hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, with many operators struggling to combat rising food and drink prices, wages, business rents and rates, as well as the unknown impact of Brexit and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic.

Research by Access Hospitality has consistently shown that the best way to address the increasing challenge of staying in business is not to raise prices but to manage costs. In 2018, nearly half of respondents to a survey carried out with The Caterer said they saw their best ROI by controlling costs.  A year later, 47% of operators agreed that reducing costs was a top priority.

Switching from a manual restaurant food inventory system to a digital solution is one way operators can make a significant dent in their costs and improve profitability. When it’s integrated with the business’s EPOS system, the impact on the bottom line will be even greater. Here are five reasons why.  

1. Good restaurant inventory software saves time

With a manual restaurant or hotel inventory management system, operators must ask suppliers to send them information about their products, which they then input and update themselves, a time consuming and costly task.

If you invest in an advanced restaurant food inventory system like Procure Wizard, which integrates with Access’s hospitality EPOS system, the onus is on the suppliers. It’s their responsibility to manage their own products, allergen and nutritional information and prices.

This not only saves operators processing time but also guarantees that the supplier data fed into the EPOS system is always accurate and up to date. The result? A massive 95% reduction in purchaser administration and processing time.

2. A digital solution tells staff what to up-sell

Menu engineering technology was rated as fundamental to the growth plan of almost a third of operators. Procure Wizard can help operators build and engineer fully-costed menus using real-time accurate supplier product data, which means the anticipated gross profits for each recipe are literally at their fingertips.

This is particularly useful for individual units when general managers are briefing staff on which items to up-sell to guests. As suppliers update their products and prices on a real-time daily basis, margins will alter in line with special offers and promotions, optimising the opportunities for everyone.

3. Restaurant and hotel inventory management systems helps manage allergen information

One finding that stood out in the 2019 research Access carried out with The Caterer was the importance operators are placing on improving their allergen procedures. 33% said they were looking to invest in menu engineering technology to include allergens and calorie information over the next 12 months, ahead of data analytics and reporting, workforce management and rota scheduling.

It’s no surprise, given that the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016 after she suffered an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette led to the announcement of new legislation, which will come into force in 2021. Natasha’s Law will tighten existing rules by requiring foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients, giving allergy sufferers greater trust in the food they buy.

With Procure Wizard, when an allergen changes in a supplier’s product, it is updated in real time and the whole process is fully automated from supplier to customer, leaving very little room for human error. This provides clarity for customers with specific dietary needs or wishes and is highly likely to boost loyalty.

4. An integrated system shows how the business is performing

When a digital stock management system is integrated with EPOS, operators can see if the business is performing above or below budget or simply breaking even. 

This reporting can be as simple or complex as you want. From group-wide margin, expenditure, expected and theoretical gross profit business sheets, to individual units or even business sections within an outlet.

And integration doesn’t have to stop at stock management. Access Workspace is a new platform that connects many different technology solutions together. Users log in once and have access to sales data, wage costs, stock levels, bookings, maintenance call-outs and more all in one place. 

When digital solutions are integrated, data from different aspects of business can be absorbed into one business intelligence solution, providing complete control and visibility.

5. A good stock management solution reduces food waste

It’s not just the domestic kitchen where food is wasted. WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) reports that the hospitality industry wastes £2.5 billion worth of food each year, meaning that some venues will lose as much in food waste as they bank in profit. 

Technology such as Access Hospitality’s waste management module, which integrates with its stock control and menu control solutions, can help alleviate the problem by recording waste, tracking it, highlighting why it’s been wasted and providing the management tools to set in place a waste reduction plan that will improve profitability.

A study based on research for ‘Champions 12.3’ found that, regardless of the size or location, operators see a return on investment from systems like this. With every £1 invested in cutting food waste, you can expect to see £7 back in saved profit.