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What is stocktaking? (And what is it NOT!)

What is stocktaking? (And what is it NOT!)

If you find yourself reading this blog, then you may already be thinking you know the answer to this one, but please humour me as we look a little deeper into this topic 


I guess we should start with the dictionary definition first and foremost, but trust me when I say there is far more to it than first appearances… 





  • the action or process of recording the amount of stock held by a business.
    “the shop is closed for stocktaking”\
  • the action of reviewing and assessing one’s situation and options.
    “she had some mental stocktaking to do”


Both of these, are technically correct, but the reality is that stocktaking is so much more than just ‘counting bottles’ – as I have heard some people refer to it.


  • What stocktaking isn’t  ‘Just Counting Bottles’
  • What stocktaking is…. An opportunity to prevent loss, maximise profits & have a clearer position to make better business decision. 


Stocktaking is a great way for hospitality business owners to have a regular overview of, not only their stock levels in physical quantities, but a good stocktaking process often also reveals a lot more about the business, both good and bad. And the sooner you become aware of it as a manager or owner, the more you can improve upon it. 


Stocktaking prevents loss


It is no surprise to anyone who has worked any period of time in Hospitality, that staff come and go, and temporary staff are often a great stopgap, or more permanent – despite the name , than we might like. This does however pose certain risks to your hospitality business. Any bar, restaurant, hotel, club or other premises with a high turnover of, or numerous temporary staff, runs a much higher risk of things like theft, as highlighted by larger than average losses usually taking place around Christmas and holiday seasons where there is an uptake in temporary staffing to manage the additional workload. 


Losses are nearly inevitable within hospitality, by the very fluid nature of the business and industry, however there are certainly things you can do as a manager or business owner to reduce or even prevent these.


Stocktaking allows you to keep tabs on where things might be going wrong. 


Is there missing unaccounted for stock? 

The more frequent this check is, the sooner you can spot this and make sure nothing undesirable. Stock audits allow you to document incoming and outgoing stock and spot this earlier than you would otherwise, to prevent any stock issues. 


Has stock been stolen? 

How can you identify where this is happening and by who?

How can you prevent this in future?

Stock checks allow this to be spotted quickly, regularly and easily


Are there excessive spillages / waste? 

What is causing this and how can you better manage this as a team?
Do you know – or do you need to look into this more closely? 

Stocktaking will help you catch this earlier and fix it sooner!

Stocktaking increases profits


Those in the know realise that stocktaking is much more than counting wet or dry stock level. It’s also much more than identifying when things go missing or get broken or stolen. It’s an opportunity to see where you are potentially losing revenue, in various ways, but more importantly identify places where you can increase your profitability. 


Stock checks and undergoing regular stock control such as external stocktaking allows the business to see where stock pricing may have changed substantially, affecting the bottom line, that may otherwise be missed in the day to day. This allows businesses to make changes to the stock they are choosing to hold and promote, where applicable. 


Stocktaking puts you in control!


Most importantly, stocktaking is an essential part of being in full control of the business and pushing it forward to be the best it can be. From reducing waste, theft and spillages, to maximising profits and spotting opportunities to change up supplies that have changes in costs.


How often you do your stocktaking will impact the speed at which you can identify these things in all areas of the business, and improve or prevent them accordingly. 


Having an external stocktaker may seem like an additional expense, however they have fresh eyes and are impartial, there with your best interests at heart. This coupled with their experience means the job gets done quicker, more accurately and they can often read between the lines to help you make the most of what the numbers are really telling you about your business. 


Do you have a stocktaker? 

How often do you stocktake? 

Have you ever though about how a stocktake can improve your business? 


I would love to have a conversation and share more tips and info on how to get the most from your stocktaking. 


Guy Porteous


‘It is not just bottle counting;
It’s profit improvement’
– Guy Porteous 

What is stocktaking? (And what is it NOT!) was last modified: by

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