Why Should I Employ Stocktakers?
Stocktaking is essential in any catering business because it is where you can detect and reduce pilferage or wastage at an early stage, it means that you can check items are priced correctly and the cost-effectiveness of stocking and selling your products.
Completely regular and thorough stocktakes will save you and your business time in the long-run and gives you a better opinion of where your business is at while enabling you to improve your results in between audits; but why employ or hire the services of a stocktaker when sure you can do it yourself?
Stocktaking can be a real hassle, it needs your full attention and it takes up a lot of time. When you are busy running a restaurant the last thing you want to do is to come into work early or leave work later because of stocktaking duties so why not hire a stocktaker to do the stocktaking for you?
When you are a small catering business with lots of stock, or perhaps a brand new business in the catering industry you will find that stocktaking is a huge undertaking and a stocktaking service can take a lot of this hard work away for you.
The biggest benefit of hiring a stocktaker is not just the time they will save you, but they will be fully trained and experienced in completing stocktakes for a wide range of businesses; they complete stocktakes for a living so they will do a much more effective, thorough and quicker job than you or your staff. This also means that you will able to see much more accurate results than if a member of your team completed the stocktake for you.
Your stocktaker will also take your data to the next level for you and with you; they will take you through the whole process, confirm their findings and explain how these findings can affect your business and what you can do improve the reporting to save money and stock within your business.
The hiring of a stocktaker is dependent on individual needs but if you would like to find out more about how we can help your catering business achieve more, then please contact us directly.
Why Should You Do A Wet Stocktake In Your Pub?
If you can’t answer what your biggest sellers are, how much gin you sell each week, what your weekly wastage is costing you, if you are losing stock, what your gross profit is and if your tills are accurate then a wet stocktake for your pub will be of huge benefit to you.
A Wet Stocktake Will Tell You How Much You Have
During a wet stocktake everything will be counted, from the alco-pop bottles and barrels, right through to bags of peanuts and the random bottle of liqueur that may have been there since the beginning of time. You then need to process the stocktake results on the day the count is done so you are able to re-check any variances.
You will need to have information on your takings, purchases and delivery notes, promotions, complimentary and wastage details as well as any cheap sales details to hand so you can get an overall cash surplus or deficit of wet stock, while being able to see your actual Gross profit against your Potential Gross Profit.
A Wet Stocktake Will Check You’re Selling at the Right Cost
You need to check all your selling prices during your wet stocktake ensuring that all cost prices are updates and individual Gross Profits are scrutinised. During your wet stocktake you’ll be able to see where your buying habits are affecting the business; for example 1 product from 2 suppliers and you get a high gross profit from one and a very low gross profit on the other?
By being aware of the gross profit for each product you can then put those items with a higher gross profit at eye level and on display. You also need to make sure your team know which items to be promoting, selling and recommending to your customers.
A Wet Stockcheck Will Show You Which Products Are Selling
Your wet stocktake report will show you how much of a product is consumed in a stocktake period, therefore showing you the most popular products and perhaps products that are not selling at all and can be used in cocktails or special offers if you are coming close to the best before date. If you’re short on fridge space then check all the products are actually selling; you may have numerous flavours of shots, but if when flavour is a slow moving line then consider delisting it.
Your wet stocktake will highlight where tills have multiple buttons for certain products or if there is rouge pricing for some products. While completing your wet stocktake it is recommended that you check for voids, no sales and refunds on your till reports as this will show you if you need training for employees or if possible dodgy activities are taking place.
These are just three of the many reasons that you need to do a wet stocktake on a weekly or monthly basis in your pub; if you haven’t got the time to do it yourself then why not call in a professional wet stocktaker who can do it for you?
Properly Set Up POS
Your POS system is only useful when you have it set up properly; it can have an in-depth data collection, offers spend and efficiency when it is set up correctly. Talk to your POS vender about what you need your POS to do and how you can do it. Your POS is there to make running your business easier; if it isn’t then you’re doing it wrong.
Up To Date Cocktail Recipes and Training
Check that all your bartenders are making cocktails the same way with the same amount of ingredients; not only will this help manage wet stock, but it also offers consistency for your guests and this will help build up your reputation.
Consistency In Serving Sizes
Do all your bar team know that a small glass of wine is 125ml, or do some think 175ml is a small glass? How about spirits? Do bar staff know that Baileys comes as a 50ml drink, but Smirnoff Vodka is 25ml for example?
If you have mixed glassware you’ll through your bar team off and they make mistakes when it comes to serving sizes. Complete a glassware audit to ensure that the right volume is known for each glass so over or under-pouring mistakes can be avoided.
These are just some ways in which you can reduce the beverage costs in your business, but if you are concerned you’re still losing too much on beverages then why not call in a stocktaker to run a wet stocktake in your business and you will quickly see if and where mistakes are being made so you can reduce your beverage costs even more.
Can I Use A Stocktaker When Buying A Restaurant?
Whilst most of our business is working with catering & hospitality business owners who want regular periodic stocktakes to give then a snap shot of how their business is doing and to protect their stock and money, saving their business money, we also work for people who are buying a bar, restaurant, pub, club & café. They need a stocktaker on the day off handover as most hospitality businesses are sold at a price plus SAV (Stock at Valuation). This means that they need to have the stock valued on the day, making sure a fair price is paid and that all the stock is of saleable quality.
When you buy a catering or hospitality business you are buying the liquor and food stock too so it is essential that you make sure you are very clear on the value of the stock. An independent stocktaker will make sure it is fair and there is a level playing field for both buyer and seller. This will help reduce stress and provide peace of mind in what can be a very stressful time.
What Is Covered By A Stock Valuation?
A stock valuation will usually be completed at the change of ownership; this stock valuation will show at cost the value of stock holding and the drink will be broken down to individual products. In some cases remaining food will be handed over, but it is recommended no food that is made up on the premises is left for handover. The Stocktaker will also value the glassware (non-branded), bottled gas, LPG, logs & cleaning materials & disposables where required. They also take the Utility Mater readings.
Both parties will receive a copy of the stock valuation figure and report. On top of this both parties will be given documentation by the independent stocktaker that is suitable for accountants of both the buyer and the seller.
Can An Independent Stocktaker Work For The Buyer And The Seller?
A professional stocktaker can work for either the buyer or the seller but both parties will often agree to use the same independent stocktaker to make the process quicker and cheaper. By completing a joint stock valuation is means there is no duplication but also ensures consistence while removing the need to compare and contrast two stock valuations from different stocktakers.
How To Choose An Independent Stocktaker For Your Stock Valuation
When looking for a stock auditor that both parties can trust it is recommended that you look for a stocktaker that is a member of the ILTSA which is the only qualifying body for the Licensed Trade Member of Institute.
They will provide you with copies of the ILTSA “Best Practice with Regard to Licensed Trade Stock Valuations at Change of Business Ownership” and will issue Agreement Forms and Engagement Letters before the Stocktake day. It is therefore vital that you book your stocktaker in plenty of time so that these documents can be issued , read and returned in time.
Why Does Spending More On Stocktaking Save You Money?
Here at Sterling Stock Auditors we understand that the hospitality and catering industry is a tough and tight market for many business owners. It is understandable that you may want to cutbacks, after all making cutbacks or looking at what you’re spending and where you’re spending it is completely normal.
The reason that spending more on stocktaking now will save you more money in the long run is that stocktaking as a service is about policing performance. Stocktaking is vigorously forcing you and those within your business to concentrate on your margins.
We don’t sit breathing down your neck every minute of the day, but for a few hours a month or every other month a stocktaking service gives you some breathing space, time and focus to concentrate on your business and your margins.
By employing a stocktaker for your stocktaking you are putting more value into the job and will want to get the most from it. This is often not the case when you complete the stocktaking yourself, or arrange for staff to complete the stocktaking on your behalf.
In our many years of experience, we see that if a business is not forced to focus their attention on all other aspects of running their business, like a stocktaker enables them to do, then focus can easily be lost.
When a stocktaker arrives at your door, he or she is forcing you to look at your business, to look at areas of the business that may seem unattractive or boring, but can be a key point to succeeding in business and a key selling point in your business.
It may seem like a better and cheaper option to cut out the middle man and do the stocktaking yourself, but this could cost you more in the long run. As we said, paying out for the services of a stocktaker and therefore spending more on stocktaking will result in you saving more money for your business in the future!
Research shows that 75% to 85% of all theft in a restaurant is committed by the employees of the restaurant; this theft can account for 4% of all restaurant sales and shrinkage (due to spilt liquor or waste) can account for 25% of alcohol sales!
Some of this theft will be accidental, some dissatisfaction, others desperation and sometimes it will be down to pure malicious behaviour. Whatever the reason, employee theft is a real concern and as stocktakers we can help your restaurant fight employee theft in your establishment.
Inventory management and stock taking is your first line of defence in tackling employee theft; using an independent stocktaker for your stock taking will allow you to establish pour controlling, stock counts, stock rotation, wastage reports and such like. This means you will quickly be able to see areas of concern or places to keep a close eye on, from the reports you get from your independent stock taker.
Another way that employees may steal from your business is through giving out complimentary items, also known as comping. A stock taker can help you put a comping policy in place for your business and even help you allocate a daily or weekly budget for complimentary items. This budget will help your staff see what is expected, as well as showing them this is an area of the business that is watched closely, and it will help you keep the business on track with your sales goals.
Here at Sterling Stock Auditors we feel that the single most important device you can use to prevent employee theft in your restaurant is a POS system that will track inventory, cash flow, sales and tips. By having a POS system in place that records all of the transactions and requires the permission of a manager or supervisor to alter a bill you will be able to eliminate the abuse of voiding and deleting items.
If you’d like help preventing employee theft in your restaurant then why not contact us directly to see how we can help you.
What Does Independent Bar Stocktaking Involve?
We have written blog posts previously explaining the importance of using an independent stocktaker for your bar stocktaking, the benefits of an independent stocktaker and the benefits of regularly undertaking a bar stocktake for your business. However, we haven’t spoken about what independent bar stocktaking actually involves.
Why Should You Have A Regular Independent Bar Stocktake?
When you use an independent stocktake for your bar stocktake, you have independence. This means the stocktaker is honest in their feedback and reports and has no hidden agendas. Your independent stocktaker can also detect any staff dishonesty early on, but will also work as a deterrent against theft for your staff.
When you use an independent stocktaker you will have your bar stocktake completed by an experienced counter, it’s a job they do every day and highly skilled at doing. This means they will complete the stocktake quicker and there is a much smaller risk of error. An independent bar stocktaker will also release you and your staff from the time consuming job of counting stock.
What Is the Bar Stocktake?
Your stocktaker will do a physical count of your stock and collate information for you. They will process the count and numbers on site to allow for fast resolution of problems and so the stocktaker can answer any questions you may have.
Your independent stocktaker will also complete a till analysis to pinpoint any problem items and as well as providing a report on-site, one can be sent via email or post after the stock take if required.
What Will Your Bar Stocktake Report Show?
You will see your trading account showing surplus including deficit, stock on hand and gross profit along with other figures you require. You will get an itemised purchase and stock report showing you all possible information regarding each item and numerous graphs will clearly show you the reports and figures so you can keep your business on track.
If you would like to know more about a bar stocktake for your business then please contact us directly. We would be happy to answer any queries you may have.
How Can I Minimise Stock Loss In My Catering Business?
As independent stocktakers we are often asked how a catering business owner can minimise their stock losses. We often notice stock losses during stock takes and it is at this point that our client asks how they can avoid them in the future.
There are lots of different ways this can be done, but first you have to understand what a stock loss is.
What Is Stock Loss?
This is the loss of physical stock and it is something that happens in every business, it just happens more in some businesses than others. Simply put, stock loss is the difference between your accounting records and the stock count. If you’ve ever noticed you have less stock than your records say you should have, then this is stock loss.
Stock losses can be down to various things such as data entry errors, undelivered stock, miscounted stock, employee or customer theft, incorrectly stored stock and much more.
How Can You Minimise Your Stock Losses?
- Train Employees – According to research 40% of stock losses suffered in businesses are down to employee theft. This could be actual theft of product, a free drink here and there for friends, grabbing themselves some lunch from the fridge, over-pouring error and similar. If employees are trained correctly and understand how to serve meals, pour drinks and what happens if they are caught stealing from the business then stock losses will be reduced.
- Double Check – this goes for staff training and stock takes. If you are completing stock takes in house instead of using an independent stock taker then it is highly recommended that stock taking numbers are double checked, to ensure the right data is recorded. Staff training should all be spot-checked to ensure that all employees are full trained and re-trained on serving drinks and plating food.
- Improve Stock Receiving – look at the process when you order, receive and put stock away. Is the paperwork being kept in an organised fashion? Is the stock being placed in the right place? Is stock being counted as it is delivered or later in the day? Retrain employees on receiving stock to make sure you have the best process in place.
- Hire An Independent Stocktaker – Outsource your stocktaking needs to save you time. A professional stocktaker will give you the information you need. They’ll be able to spot stock losses early on and help you understand why they are taking place. An independent stocktaker can also put recommendations in place to reduce stock loses in the future.
Can A Hotel Stocktake Help With Standards?
While a hotel stocktake is essential to help with end of year accounts, stock ordering and more, there is also an additional benefit to hotel stocktakes. A regular hotel stocktake by a professional independent stocktaker can help with the standards of your hotel.
A hotel stocktake will act as a mini audit for health and safety within your hotel, along with food hygiene and brand standards.
During your hotel stocktake, the independent stocktaker will be observing the hotel team while they are completing their daily roles. Your independent hotel stocktaker will see the general cleanliness and standards and storage areas during their visit too.
But what sort of things could a hotel stocktaker notice that will help improve your hotel standards?
- If stock is being stored on the floor of a freezer, when it should be stored on a shelf or racking this can result in a lower EHO rating. Your stocktaker can make you aware of this so changes can be made.
- If there are beverages that are close to their best before date stored behind the quiet function bar, for example, then your hotel stocktaker can recommend these are moved to a busier bar where they can be sold, instead of being left to go out of date then thrown away, losing profit for your hotel.
- Your stocktaker may see a bar tender serving a large glass of wine, but putting it through the till as a small glass of wine. They can then recommend that more training is needed for your bar team, or inform that a bar tender is stealing from the business.
- A hotel stocktaker may have a beer and find that it is not as cool and refreshing as expected, on looking at the cellar they find you have faulty equipment which could result in unhappy customers. Your hotel stocktaker will make recommendations to get it fixed to avoid further damage to your business brand.
The benefits of a hotel stocktake are huge and improving standards is just one of the many benefits, but often an unexpected benefit of an independent stocktaker. Contact us now to book your free consultation and we can tell you how we can help your hotel business.
Do We Have A Food Cost Problem?
As a restaurant, bar, cafe or hotel owner it is sometimes very likely that you may find you have a food cost problem within your hospitality and catering business.
We would recommend that you monitor your food costs at least once a month, but ideally on a weekly basis. This will help you spot any potential food cost problems or existing food cost problems before they become extremely costly for your business.
If you notice an increase in your food costs there are some thing you should review immediately;
- Check that all goods that are received from the supplier have been checked in and signed correctly, then stored in the right place.
- You need to check that the invoices are correct for the products that you have ordered. These must be the same as the prices you have agreed before placing the order. You all need to check that substitute items haven’t been sold in error or to replace missing stock.
- Confirm that all the items on the invoice are necessary for the business at that time. For example, is too much ice cream being ordered in winter or mince pies in spring? Check that the correct items are being ordered at the correct times of the year.
- Take a look in your bins. How much food stock waste is there by your chefs and kitchen teams? Also look at the food waste from customers. Are you ordering food stock that is not being used quickly enough and is therefore being thrown out, or are your portions too big for customers to enjoy?
Even with proper food cost controls in place, it can be hard for many catering and hospitality businesses to hit their target food cost. If this is you then why not hire the services of a professional and independent stock taker? They can review your food cost targets for you and make sure they are in line with your establishment.
If there are variances between the food cost target and actual food cost then the stocktaker can discover if this is down to production problems, pricing, invoicing errors or theft. This will enable you to fix the problem and continue to meet food cost targets in the future.