Best Practices for Restaurant Supply Chain Management
When it comes to restaurant supply chain management, don’t leave things up to chance! A trial-and-error approach can be disastrous, as simple mistakes can create severe problems. These problems will further decrease revenue or create more food waste. In the bigger picture, supply chain issues can also hurt your branding efforts, resulting in a loss of customer traffic — a restaurant’s lifeline. We also have to mention the danger of customers suffering from foodborne illnesses due to supply chain issues.
In 2020, the restaurant supply chain faced many challenges. The way things functioned before the Covid-19 pandemic won’t ensure survival in this new foodservice climate. And when you add that to the already increasingly complex supply chain in this field, the pressure intensifies.
Any new issue that arises can serve as a reason to improve restaurant supply chain management, though. Here are some best practices that will create more transparency, precision, and innovation in the restaurant supply chain.
Assess Your Restaurant’s Productivity and Bandwidth
The pandemic has slashed many resources and thinned restaurant rosters. In such an environment, there’s no room for inefficiency. And the most significant causes of these inefficiencies are dispersed data and manual efforts. These issues become evident very quickly and render proactive management virtually impossible.
To address this and reduce the time necessary to manage supply chain data substantially, restaurants and the entire foodservice industry should use powerful analytical tools to provide them with enhanced data. Moreover, automated processes will further increase productivity. These tools might include inventory management systems or other restaurant technology pieces that can indicate peak usage and average prep times. Remember that restaurant data gives you an accurate window into your productivity, predicated on real activity, so you don’t have to assume how productive you are — you can identify it with numbers!
Focus on Food Safety and Traceability
Having a Quality Management (QM) system in place is an absolute must. These systems will manage the qualifying and onboarding of new products and catch any possible quality problems. Moreover, they can prepare and implement product recalls, if necessary, throughout your supply chain. Choosing an adequate QM for your operations’ size and scope will reinforce your efforts to protect your brand.
Such a quality and safety system will quickly resolve potential customer safety issues and mitigate risks. Also, in the case of a product recall, good communication is crucial. Quality data analysis will quickly shed light on problematic products or suppliers and prevent the spread of an issue.
There is supply chain technology that can successfully foster large-scale communication and enable all involved to move fast. Furthermore, task automation streamlines collaboration and quickly resolves issues with suppliers, distributors, or stores.
Achieve Cost and Quality Control by Ensuring Purchasing Compliance
Complete visibility and transparency of food and other spendings can significantly reduce the non-compliance impact. Off-contract purchasing and the substitution of distributors require immediate attention to ensure cost control and consistency in quality.
When individuals involved in restaurant operations decide to disregard the corporate office-approved plans and buy from a different supplier, it can affect the costs, impose risk on quality, compromise brand consistency, and even endanger customer health. Therefore, the corporate office must immediately receive notice about off-contract purchasing to address these compliance issues before the problems escalate.
Catch Inventory Disruptions on Time
Utilizing supply chain technology that provides centralized data and automation will help address inventory disruptions and various other challenges. Insight into stockouts or surpluses, shifting purchase orders, ingredient substitutions, consumer traffic changes, and delivery patterns can help teams mitigate risks and prevent money losses and wasted time.
In case a restaurant needs to move to a new location, such insights can prove invaluable. With the help of technology and, of course, a reliable moving company, the relocation of your entire business can be much more straightforward. It will enable the undisrupted continuation of your operations in new premises.
Pay attention to how you Organize Promotions
If you decide to organize promotions or limited-time offers, improper structuring of such deals can lead to disasters. It may involve the shortage of products or possibly even obsolescence. Thus, if you want your efforts to be a success, your supply chain must provide visibility into your inventory and offer insight into product flow. Moreover, it must alert you if a product does not meet the demand you have anticipated.
Therefore, before you begin your promotional activities, involve those members of on-the-ground staff and seek their input so you can accurately make predictions and modify your plans. Only then will you minimize waste, circumvent shortage issues, and drive the best possible results.
Ensure Contracted Price Accuracy and Identify Data Errors
Human error is a significant factor in restaurant supply chain management. And manual data entry provides enough opportunities for it to occur. Therefore, it’s essential to verify contracted pricing by comparing them to the prices on the invoices. That way, you’ll prevent overcharging and save your restaurant money. Also, it will eliminate the possibility of straining the relationships you have built with your partners.
Organize Events to Explore New Partnership Opportunities
Organizing events to identify new partnership opportunities can confirm that your current suppliers are the most suitable ones for your business. You can validate their prices, quality of products, and services provided. Make sure you invite many suppliers to these sourcing events, so there is enough competition to identify and validate those that are the best fit for you.
Focusing on these aspects of restaurant supply chain management can significantly improve your business operations. Moreover, it will ensure your brand is on the way to success by keeping your quality consistent and eliminating or mitigating risks. The way to accomplish this is by combining technology solutions with solid partnerships and allowing for supply chain flexibility.
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About the Author
Jack Delaney is a freelance content creator for mastermovingguide.com. He writes on numerous topics, but his primary focus is on management, employee satisfaction, and improving customer experience. In his free time, Jack enjoys hiking and brewing his own beer.