As a stocktaker, all too often when visiting sites the same products are accounted for on consecutive visits. Such items often include dry products on the shelf or meat from Sunday roasts in the bottom of the freezer – perhaps put in and forgotten about over time.
Ah the freezer, we are all guilty of forgetting what’s in it and by when it needs to be used. It can be all too easy for the kitchen staff to freeze surplus on a Sunday evening, but the following week may overlook finding anything in it they can utilise. For example, Sunday roast meat can be used for so many different things, with the lovely summer we had why not put a salad special on the menu or, moving into the autumnal season, for the chef to make lovely homemade pies.
The abundance of freezers, and often chest freezers, can cause both traders and accountants challenges in terms of stock control and inventory. What’s in them, when were they last emptied, tidied etc?
Good inventory control accurately identifies your food costs, helps a hospitality business make profit-driven menu decisions and allows your accountant to give a true picture of financial status.
What can you do to manage the content of your freezer?
1. Keep Your Coolers, Freezers and Chest Freezers Organised
Every ingredient has its place. If an ingredient is removed but not used up, make sure that it is back in the freezer in the right place. Organise inventory and label shelves. Keep all ingredients as visible as possible.
Create a list of items in your freezer after a stocktake. Why not tape it to the freezer or storeroom so that your chefs can use it as a quick reference.
2. Have a proper stock-taking system in place
It doesn’t matter how sophisticated (or not) your system is so long as it is consistent. Empty the freezer/s once a week, count and record your stock and most importantly, jot down what’s in it and prioritise what can be utilised that week. Doing this weekly will show how much of your hard-earned cash is tied up in your freezer and what you should be promoting on your menu before needing to dispose of outdated product.
3. Ensure your chef joins you when stocktaking your freezer
Why not have your chef or sous chef help you stock take – that way they also know what’s in the freezer, giving them the information they need in order to utilise ingredients before their best by dates.
4. Create daily ‘specials’
Create a daily offer for your customers based on what’s available in your freezer that may be near a best by date or can be used to create a seasonal dish. Why not set your kitchen staff a challenge to look at what ingredients there are and see how creative they can be!
5. Manage your buying
In understanding the stock in your freezer you can start to identify trends as to what is regularly been frozen and perhaps even why? Should you reduce your order on a particular meat? Why has fish been left in past best by date etc? Think about adapting the ingredients you may need to meet customer demands and start ordering at those levels to minimise surplus.
By regularly stocktaking your freezer contents you will start to see emerging trends. These will help you make certain that you have enough food for your busiest periods but that you don’t overstock during slow times and will help minimise waste.
The priority should be to ensure that stocktaking focusses on the optimal volume and turnover of ingredients and product to maximise profit, minimises excess stock held in your freezer/s and reduces the associated energy costs of excess freezing.
How can Everett King help?
Our team of specialist stocktakers understand the challenges of rotating your stock and ensuring your freezers are working to deliver the best Gross Profit margins. Why not contact us and book in for our stocktaking service and let us work with you to improve your yields and gross profits.