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Top 3 Inventory Considerations to Prepare to Reopen

With 4th July signalled as the earliest date that UK hospitality businesses can reopen, we know you will be thinking about and planning for readiness to make the reopening run as smoothly as possible. Supply Chains will have been affected, so existing menus will need reviewing and you will need to adapt your operating model to allow for stricter controls, smaller kitchen teams and a leaner and more efficient business.

Whether you operate hotels, restaurants, cafés, quick service or leisure operations, we know that the approach your business needs will be unique, but here’s a few inventory focus areas every business should consider in the run up to reopening.

  1.       Product Availability and Utilisation:

It is very likely that your supply chain will be impacted by current events and that some product lines will be unavailable or in short supply. Some suppliers will have changed regional coverage or may no longer be trading as a result of the Covid 19 crisis. These factors will inevitably impact product pricing.

Now is a good time to start looking at what products are still available and how pricing has been impacted. You will need to understand the specific impact this will have on your business and what you can do to adjust and mitigate.

Here are the things you may need to consider:

  • Are you easily able to understand what ingredients will be affected?
  • Will you need to provide a reduced menu? If so, how long for? 
  • Will this mean that your menu will be shorter for the foreseeable future?

There are a number of systems that can give you this kind of visibility, but a review and change will be necessary regardless.

  1.       Menu Review, Engineering and Publishing:

In addition to the product review, a menu review is key, as product unavailability is likely to impact numerous dishes, which will need to be removed. And there are other considerations, such as complexity to produce certain dishes, or suitability for a delivery only model if this is a channel you are now exploring.

There are many factors that can impact the cost and profit of a menu, such as:

  • High or low sales mixes of certain dishes
  • Product pricing
  • Dish pricing
  • Wastage through underutilisation of a product
  • Additional elements such as take-out or delivery packaging

Whilst there are systems that can help you do this, any form of review of your menu will be essential. It will enable you to see the costs and GP of your entire menu and granularly at a dish by dish level, to understand how profitable each item is and find the outliers.

This is only half of the task. Once you’ve found the outliers, the low sellers, and the dishes with the highest profitability, it’s time to react, and model different scenarios:

  • What happens when you remove a dish?
  • Can you re-engineer a dish? Swap out or adjust products?
  • What impact does a selling price change on certain dishes have[A1] ?
  • Regional variations based on differing customer bases?

Modelling these different scenarios will allow you to make smart, financially informed decisions about your menu offering.

Another key consideration in your menu review process is how you publish your menus moving forward. To minimise risk, you may want to consider single use disposable menus or digitally publishing your menu. If you opt for a reusable menu, ensure they are disinfected between every use.

  1.       Stocking policies and supplier availability:

Reviewing your products and menus is likely to have an impact on your stocking policy, the suppliers you use, and even the frequency of deliveries from suppliers.

Introducing some form of automation for your stocking policies ensures that the products available to order by location are in-line with the offering, whilst mandated supplier lists and enforced delivery days ensure the right suppliers are in use, driving the best GP & quality outcomes, whilst ensuring costly out of schedule delivery days are avoided.

Already a Fourth customer? Be sure to check out the Customer Community for more information on how Fourth’s products can help you to navigate the COVID 19 landscape.

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