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How do you feel about taking a monthly inventory?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

 Over the years I have turned down several positions because they required a monthly inventory be taken on the last day of the month.  I have always considered inventory a waste of valuable time. The only thing that would change your inventory or food cost is if you had to make a large purchase for a banquet on the last of the month to prepare before the event on the first of the next month. Otherwise you should only need to inventory once a year on New Years Day. The only reason for a monthly inventory is the lack of confidence in the Chef.

post #2 of 13

If the "chef" personally receives ALL shipments and issues ALL food stuffs, equipment, supplies, etc., you're probably right, once a year is enough. Oh, that also means checking ALL waste/garbage as well.

 

Is monthly necessary? That depends on the size and complexity of the operation. When I ran my own, one-man-show, I effectively "took inventory" every night so I knew what I needed for the next day.

 

Why "take inventory"? Well:

  • To "know" what you have  on-hand, and
  • To "know" what to order, and
  • To "know" you have received what you ordered, and
  • To "know" you have been billed for ONLY what you received, and
  • To "know" that you or your staff is not "wasting" stuff you buy, and
  • To "know" that your staff is not "stealing you blind", and
  • To "know" that your "food cost calculations" are accurate, and
  • To give the accountants the information they need to compute income taxes and other taxes that might be involved.

 

IMHO, anyone who questions WHY inventories are necessary is not fully aware of all the costs involved in running a business, let alone a restaurant, and a "chef" is in charge of "running a business" and HAS to be aware of ALL costs.

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 13

 

Quote:
The only reason for a monthly inventory is the lack of confidence in the Chef

 

Why even take an inventory at all?

 

Have you ever been an owner? I would imagine it might change your view on inventory. Inventory taking is a valuable tool for many reasons. One such reason is, it aids in keeping your money liquid. I have worked places where we did weekly inventories.

 

The only reason for a monthly inventory to bother a Chef is the arrogance of the Chef.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #4 of 13

Technically you take inventory every day when you put in your order.

post #5 of 13



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by caterchef View Post

 Over the years I have turned down several positions because they required a monthly inventory be taken on the last day of the month.  I have always considered inventory a waste of valuable time. The only thing that would change your inventory or food cost is if you had to make a large purchase for a banquet on the last of the month to prepare before the event on the first of the next month. Otherwise you should only need to inventory once a year on New Years Day. The only reason for a monthly inventory is the lack of confidence in the Chef.

 

 

Whoa, quite a statement there.  I'd love to work at places you've been Chef at, from your attitude it sounds like:

 

-The owner was God, who merrily signed paychecks with no thought to food or labour costs

-The F&B was Jesus

-The employees were all nuns....

 

As Pete pointed out, there are quite a few reasons to do inventory, and I think every Chef on this site can agee with them.

 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 13

Agreed Pete. Do inventory!

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

If the "chef" personally receives ALL shipments and issues ALL food stuffs, equipment, supplies, etc., you're probably right, once a year is enough. Oh, that also means checking ALL waste/garbage as well.

 

Is monthly necessary? That depends on the size and complexity of the operation. When I ran my own, one-man-show, I effectively "took inventory" every night so I knew what I needed for the next day.

 

Why "take inventory"? Well:

  • To "know" what you have  on-hand, and
  • To "know" what to order, and
  • To "know" you have received what you ordered, and
  • To "know" you have been billed for ONLY what you received, and
  • To "know" that you or your staff is not "wasting" stuff you buy, and
  • To "know" that your staff is not "stealing you blind", and
  • To "know" that your "food cost calculations" are accurate, and
  • To give the accountants the information they need to compute income taxes and other taxes that might be involved.

 

IMHO, anyone who questions WHY inventories are necessary is not fully aware of all the costs involved in running a business, let alone a restaurant, and a "chef" is in charge of "running a business" and HAS to be aware of ALL costs.

 


I worked in hotels with 300+ rooms and a ballroom that seated over 1,000 people and we took inventory once a year. The kitchen, butcher, pantry, bakery, and coffee shop had a production inventory that never changed and  got our daily needs from the hotel steward. Food Costs were based on what was purchased that month. The steward just didn't place a large meat order on the last day of the month and if he had to it would balance out the next month that's all. As far as being aware of "running a business" and aware of all costs, the Chef stayed in the kitchen all the time instead of in  a "chef's office" or in a"meeting" with the manager all day. I worked in a country club once that the chef was in "meetings" half of the day and the Sous Chef  ran the kitchen. If something went wrong the GM would just fire the Executive Chef and promote the Sous Chef, it was a continuous circle and the then the Sous Chef would promote the "Tournant- Roundsman" to Sous Chef. ( I take the "old school and the good old days" anytime)  over these Walk-in Freezers we have to use today.

post #8 of 13

Interesting thread.

I've never come across a situation like that.

 

When I worked for Hyatt we had a system in place where each department placed a requisition for daily needs.  Every morning, everything I'd ordered was on a cart for me.

If I forgot something, I was SOL because the storeroom was locked by 3:00pm. If it was an emergency I had to get security to open storeroom and watch me as I picked up what I'd forgotten and, of course, had to write it down.

Inventory was taken by F&B each month.

 

Hah!!!!  I know some one right now, as I type this who takes his inventory from his armchair with a beer in hand.....

 

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm let's see, last month I had 12 cases of chicken, I bought 4 more, but I had 2 parties that used 6 of them, Oh and I remember the stock I made last week,

I'll just write down 5 cases."

 

I can't for the life of me ever remember NOT taking inventory at the end of the month where ever I may have worked.

Marriott accounts I worked for took inventory every Friday.

post #9 of 13

And inventory can also save your butt. 

 

FNB:  You are $200 over this month

Chef:  Oh I forgot that's the case of foie gras in the walkin.

FNB:  I see.  That puts us under.

 

(meanwhile inventory is 47% of sales)  biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

Interesting thread.

I've never come across a situation like that.

 

When I worked for Hyatt we had a system in place where each department placed a requisition for daily needs.  Every morning, everything I'd ordered was on a cart for me.

If I forgot something, I was SOL because the storeroom was locked by 3:00pm. If it was an emergency I had to get security to open storeroom and watch me as I picked up what I'd forgotten and, of course, had to write it down.

Inventory was taken by F&B each month.

 

Hah!!!!  I know some one right now, as I type this who takes his inventory from his armchair with a beer in hand.....

 

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm let's see, last month I had 12 cases of chicken, I bought 4 more, but I had 2 parties that used 6 of them, Oh and I remember the stock I made last week,

I'll just write down 5 cases."

 

I can't for the life of me ever remember NOT taking inventory at the end of the month where ever I may have worked.

Marriott accounts I worked for took inventory every Friday.



Yes! Each department turned in a requisition sheet each morning and each evening because  the morning crew prepared for the night crew and the and the night crew prepared for the day crew so there was never any emergencies. If someone forgot something, someone got fired. And we did not have a F&B person, we had a Comptroller that took care of the accounting. We had 30-50 cases of iced chicken delivered every Wednesday that was processed  and 90%+ sold by Sunday night. The beef we needed had been aging in the walk-in  for 2-3 weeks. The kitchen was in production 18-20 hours every day, we didn't have room for someone walking around with a clipboard. ( And  the drink was Bourbon not Beer)

post #11 of 13

Remember one Large-ish club I worked in in S'pore, 5 F&B outlets.  F & B described himself as a "Benevolent Dictator" and made every department do bi-weekly inventories. F&B had been there for 5 years and durinig his first 18 mths had 4 people arrested: one purchaser, two bartenders,  and one waiter.  After his second year he appealed to all 4,000+ club members to bring in a "cashless" payment system where all members had a monthly account and were billed.  

 

'Nother place I worked at, the "purchaser" was the owner's bro-in law.  Chef and I knew something fishy was going on, and despite the owner, the purchaser, and the accountant's pleas that "We never did an inventory and there's no need to do one"  we did our own inventory.  Purchaser was padding the orders and selling it--mostly dry/canned goods--down the street.  The month we caught him it was almost 4% of our monthly food cost.  He never got fired until the head bartender finally woke up and did the same.  Bro in law was gone the next day.....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #12 of 13

Refusing to do a monthly inventory and not doing one automatically are both nuts

 

You could be the most honest, careful guy in the world but unless it's a very small one or two man operation you need more control than an annual inventory. 

 

If you were an employer what would you think about an employee who refused to carry out ordinary audit and control procedures at ordinary intervals because they were a "waste of [his] time?"  And if, heaven forbid, something went wrong, who should shoulder the responsibility?  The employee?  Or you -- because you went along with it?

 

(As an attorney) I've litigated a few restaurant partnership disputes.  Suppose for a minute you were a juror in such a case. If one party was a chef/partner who had insisted that monthly inventories were a waste of time, would that make him more or less believable as a witness in his own behalf?   If the "accounting" showed shortages would you believe they were innocent?  If it were in issue -- and it ALWAYS is -- would you say the chef/partner fulfilled or breached his fiduciary duties (a fiduciary position is one of great trust -- not necessarily just about money) to his partners by not only faling to take inventory at regular intervals but refusing to do them? 

 

If you were a prospective purchaser, would you trust the books of a sizable food operation which only took inventory once a year?   If you asked and the prospective seller said, "We discussed it with our chef, and he said it was a waste of his time to take monthly inventory and he said if we insisted he'd leave," what would you think?  Assuming you did buy the business, wouldn't you replace the chef first thing? 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/19/10 at 8:30pm
post #13 of 13

As chef of a one outlet operation you basically do inventory with every order and I like to set my order sheets up kind of like an inventory sheet so I can go through the walk in / freezer and dry goods with everything in order on the sheets and shelves. After a bit you know your par levels and this is what you order . Inventory sucks  IMO but is a necessity of the biz as was posted and it could save your butt.

Happy counting

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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