In a start-up catering business, it is essential that you control costs as much as possible. For a catering business like yours, where the market is intensely competitive, every facet of your catering business must be kept under tight fiscal control. Equipping your catering business with proper storage and practicing responsible inventory control will contribute greatly to your catering business profitability. Here are some ways that will help you keep a tight rein on inventory keep costs to a minimum. These principles apply for both home-based and location-based catering businesses.
- Have an organized storage system. In an earlier chapter we discussed the need for organization in your catering business. Nowhere is this more vital than in storage. Your products and supplies represent a substantial ongoing investment. If your catering business is handling catering events every day it’s usually easier to keep track of inventory. It’s a little more difficult for the home-based caterer who may only cater a handful of events every month. An organized storage system, both dry storage and cold storage, will help you keep a close eye on your inventory.
- Keep your storage area clean and organized. It’s easy, especially in a location-based catering business where things can get hectic on a regular basis, to just grab an item and go without thinking. Keeping your inventory neat and tidy as well as clean, will help you keep a closer watch on inventory and prevents waste. A clean storage area will help prevent loss due to contamination.
- Most food industry businesses, including catering businesses, do a full inventory of all products and supplies on a weekly basis. Some even inventory their stock several times throughout the week as part of their ordering process. By organizing your storage and keeping it clean and tidy, inventory is much easier to count and saves time and money.
- Create an inventory worksheet. This worksheet should list every item you purchase for your catering business on a regular basis with room to write in new items. Your worksheet should list your quantities on hand from your previous inventory. It should have columns for purchased inventory to be added, current inventory levels and costs of supplies and products. Simple math will determine how much of each item you’ve used over a given period of time and you can cost out the percentage against income to see if you’re within your projected budget.
This is a good way to control costs, manage waste and to make sure inventory isn’t being stolen.