FinTech Hacks For A Professional Dining Business
Restaurants operate at pretty tight margins. If you’ve been struggling with food waste, tracking complaints from diners about your staff, or struggling to track and manage your HR, it’s a good idea to review your tracking and inventory process. Knowing how to be efficient in your dining business requires data. Logging, tracking, and accessing this data is the challenge. If your filing cabinet is filled with post-it notes, maybe it’s time to look at these fintech hacks for a more professional dining business. For more on smart business handling you might want to check this new bog post about What is a CVL.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at your storage options. For example, you may have a walk-in freezer or refrigerator. Depending on where things are in this space, their risk of spoilage will go up. You may need to rearrange the shelving and racks inside these spaces to be sure that meats are kept further at the back, dairy toward the center, and produce at the front.
Let’s talk about your food bins. Are they labeled with information such as
- A conception date?
- A throwout date?
- Name of the product? This is especially important when using non-transparent containers in a stacked environment.
If you’re using a sharpie, chances are that this crucial information is being rubbed off way too soon. When your kitchen prep crew is in a hurry, they may not leave the most legible notes either. Maybe it’s time to start talking about modern ways to drastically enhance productivity and efficiency with your inventory.
FinTech In The Kitchen
A very low-tech, cheap solution for your kitchen needs is a label maker. With a few programmable templates, you could easily and quickly print out clear labels that won’t wash off until you want them to. This can help speed up your labeling and inventory management process. You may also find a label maker useful for your shift manager too when it comes to creating schedules for your employees.
The best high-tech solutions have endless possibilities for your business. There are technologies available to you now that simplify your
- Payroll process.
- Employee scheduling, company notices, shift-fill requests, and more.
- Facilitate communication between you and the staff.
- Use real-time data tracking to enhance the way your business handles food inventory and waste. Some businesses are even using AI to help manage better inventory PAR levels to cut down on overstocking errors and food waste.
Schedule Regular Deliveries
It’s critical that your suppliers meet your PAR, or periodic automatic replacement, needs. If you serve a breakfast buffet that includes granola and fresh fruit, you will need a regular delivery of fresh strawberries to clean and serve. Foods with a quick rate of spoilage will need to be delivered more regularly, of course.
According to Synergysuite.com, a restaurant scheduling software provider, they say that “Restaurant PAR levels are a critical component of effective inventory management and cost control… Operators must maintain adequate inventory levels to meet customer demand, including a little extra in case they get surprised with large orders. At the same time, they must keep supplies at a minimum so they’re not running up against expiration dates, or running the risk of throwing out food or tying up too much cash in unused inventory.”
Determining a proper PAR level for your restaurant may be a little bit tricky. You can really save yourself a lot of time and stress by utilizing the services of a restaurant scheduling software provider like the one named above. Doing so can give you options such as
- Tools to help manage your kitchen inventory. You can use your standard printer to print out QR or BAR codes that can then be used to quickly scan inventory for reconciliations.
- Predictive analytics to help you prepare for holidays or events without being too wasteful.
- Set up a better automatic replacement system for your inventory. Ask your software provider if they have any tools to help facilitate communication with your distributors. You could potentially automate this system to where your distributors automatically receive the PAR level orders for the week without the need for human intervention.
Inventory’s A Big Job
Inventory is not a task that should be assigned to the newest person on staff. Depending on your location and your providers, you may need to bring in more food at certain times of the year. Making sure that you have enough fish to sell in Lent may be an issue, or you may need to have more greens to sell to a lunch crowd that loves a chef salad.
The person in charge of inventory will need to pay close attention to the spoilage sheet. If you’re losing berries to mold or leafy greens to wilt, you may need to up the number of deliveries and bring in smaller amounts. In any case, the person in charge of inventory, the head chef, and the restaurant manager will need to work together to make sure that as much of what comes into the kitchen through the back door makes it to the dining room in great shape.
Make sure that the person in charge of inventory also has the time to go through
- fresh herbs
Inventory used to take hours to complete. But by using modern software, every employee could potentially have a scanner that could instantly bring up any information they may need about a certain item. These tools can allow your employees to instantly mark a tray as contaminated to alert your inventory manager, enabling quick approval of new orders to your dining business’s distributors.
Because raw meat products can increase the risk of cross-contamination, try to keep frozen meat away from standing water. It’s too easy to wash something in a sink that recently contained frozen chicken, for example. Instead, create a thawing rack with a separate drain container far from the sinks and label each packet with the date it came out of the freezer.
If you can get this thawing rack on wheels, do so. At the end of each shift, empty and clean the drain pans as necessary to kill active bacteria. Put the drain pan back in place and roll the rack into the closest refrigerator. The meat packets will be marked, so you know how long it’s been thawed, and the meat will be ready to cook and serve. Of course, remember your label maker in order to ensure you have necessary information marked down such as freeze-by dates, and other food-safety critical information.
Serving safe food and avoiding spoilage is a science. Noting what food spoils before you can sell it can help you create a more effective delivery process. Careful attention to seasonal purchases will help you keep your diners happy. Protecting staples, such as oil, from spoilage, can avoid a crisis.