Retail and restaurant overview
Inventory management for retailers and restaurants revolves around stock takes, or physical inventories, conducted on a regular basis.
Inventory management for restaurants
For a restaurant, a stock take may be a daily or weekly operation in which the sous chef or shift manager takes count of all the food item quantities in the kitchen, from which a reorder can be calculated based on reorder points, and from which on a grander scale the business managers may detect loss or fraud based on inconsistencies with tickets, and may forecast trends or seasonal fluctuations based on the array of stock takes over time.
Inventory management for retail
Retail businesses that manage register transactions separately from their orders and inventory tracking follow a stock take process similar to restaurants, but not always on such a frequent basis. The inventory management side of the operation includes purchases and stock takes, and maybe transfers between locations, but generally does not include the individual sales. In other words, like the restaurants, the inventory management process for retail businesses may include direct record keeping of the purchases and periodic record keeping of the stock counts. On the basis of these records, the retail business can ascertain the quantities of products sold or otherwise dispossessed, from which it may calculate reorders or forecast trends over time.
For restaurants or retail, stock is stored in specific locations and sometimes sub-locations. A chain of restaurants or retail stores may keep track of its inventory across multiple stores as separate locations, and may or may not care about a more detailed sub-location specification. A large kitchen for a restaurant or a stock keeping warehouse in a retail business on the other hand may care a great deal about the sub-location level of detail. In general, keeping track of stock levels entails keeping track of quantities per location and sub-location.
Some types of products such as perishables have expiry dates or other properties identified by lot or batch. Analogously, some types of retail products have serial numbers. Thus stock may not just be quantities of a particular product, but of a particular lot.
Stock control software
Retail businesses and restaurants often use a combination of systems to run their business. The front end register systems may themselves include inventory tracking capabilities sufficient for businesses with a single location and simple needs, but when the business grows beyond the simple inventory management needs, companies can replace everything, or more often than not, choose to start using inventory management software in combination with the register systems or accounting systems.
Examples from Finale Inventory
Here are a few example videos of using Finale Inventory.
Keeping track of lots/batches of a particular product