Whilst restaurant shrinkage may be hard to eradicate, TISSL's Stuart Coetzee argues it's simpler to reduce than many believe.
Restaurants often fail to realise that an EPoS system acts as an invisible in-house sleuth, working day in day out, capturing the data necessary to help you cut shrinkage. Then, using EPoS as the operational hub, digital kitchen displays and other linked systems such as stock management can play their part by cutting down the errors and inefficiencies that result in wastage. There are a few easy steps worth implementing, which take very little effort but can produce spectacular results.
EPoS Audit Trail
Any EPoS worth its salt provides an audit trail of till transactions. We’re particularly proud of TISSL’s audit trail and have been told by the industry’s most demanding chef-patrons that moving to our solution enabled them to identify till malpractices and take appropriate disciplinary action. Usually within the first month of using TISSL EPoS, some 50% of our customers identify an instance of till malpractice.
A good EPoS system will allow you to monitor service patterns key indicators that may be indicative of malpractice. By logging every aspect of a transaction, your EPoS system will allow you to completely reconstruct every event that occurred in your restaurant—who did what and when? You need to make sure that your EPoS system has comprehensive reporting and a full audit trail that will provide you with the tools to detect and combat both malpractice and shrinkage. This results in improved turnover and improved margins.
As we saw at Rick Stein’s Padstow restaurant, EPoS has a lot to contribute when it comes to queue busting and driving up turnover. We made a real difference by equipping his staff with handhelds, thereby reducing input errors.
It’s not infrequent for chefs to be unable to read what servers write on a chit, so they produce the wrong dish. Or perhaps the server is interrupted on the way back to the till to enter the order, and they do it incorrectly. With handhelds, it’s farewell to handwritten orders. We recommend linking EPoS (fixed or mobile) to a kitchen printer so orders go through fast and correctly.
Every single sale and every single transaction is stored in your EPoS system. You know what you sold, where and when you sold it. This level of detail opens up the opportunity to have an integrated Inventory Management System. How does this work?
You define a recipe for every item that you sell. When combined with your sales data, the recipes generate a theoretical consumption. The Inventory Management System also provides you with the tools to monitor and control your physical stock (both the order process and the physical stock counts). The Inventory Management System then compares your actual usage with your theoretical usage and produces variances at item level.
Variances are caused by:
- Errors at the point of delivery (short dropping)
- Errors in the procurement process (errors with your orders)
- Errors in invoice matching e.g. pricing errors by your suppliers, paying the same invoice twice
- Unrecorded and/or excessive wastage
- Kitchen prep wastage
- Poor stock rotation
- Theft from serving and storage areas
- Theft from fridges and freezers
- Till malpractice
- Procedural errors in recording sales
Most of these issues will be happening in your restaurant to some degree. An integrated Inventory Management System allows you to drive down your stock and revenue losses and drive up your turnover and margins.
Digital Kitchen Screens
The use of digital kitchen screens equates directly to reduced food wastage. Where serving staff and kitchen teams communicate solely via handwritten chits, there’s a risk of dishes being lost from an order or overlooked. Additionally, this can mean that the other dishes ordered for the table may have to be binned and started again.
Rick Stein’s Martin Renshaw is a fan of digital kitchen screens. Since his system went in, he’s seen wastage significantly reduced. “Previously, orders were verbally communicated through to the kitchen, which could lead to mistakes being made and incorrect orders being wasted.” Now orders come directly from fixed point and handheld POS to a digital screen above the prep stations, and are never lost. The chefs communicate with staff and bounce messages up when dishes are ready. As a result, food spends less time under the hot lamps, so is better presented and better received.
By accounting for everything purchased and everything sold, restaurants can make real wastage reductions and automate replenishment levels too. Only by using the data generated by EPoS and linked systems can you balance demand from the restaurant with stock purchased.
Do you agree with Stuart’s views on reducing restaurant wastage? Have you got any other tried-and-tested methods? Share your thoughts with him at firstname.lastname@example.org