How Do Restaurants Not Run Out Of Food

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Restaurants have many ways to keep themselves from out of food throughout the year. Some establishments are so good at it, that they never run out of food any day of the year. It would be silly and probably a little bit embarrassing if a restaurant that serves chicken only, had to tell their guests that are ordering that they don’t have any chicken. The guests would certainly think that this has to be some kind of joke, now give us the chicken.

So how do restaurants not run out of food? They use the experience that they gained over the years to handle the situations the best, because it most likely has happened before in the past.

Restaurants thrive off of selling food, so when tough situations come up that might jeopardize their business by not having the necessary items to sell the food, they go into ‘survival mode’ type of thinking. Managers will come up with near genius ways to keep their restaurant going at all times.

They mainly use an inventory count that keeps track of what foods they have and order atleast 2 times every week on the same scheduled days to prevent running out of food.

Ways That Restaurants Keep Themselves From Running Out Of Food

  1. Having good experienced managers doing the inventory.
    • When it is time to do the inventory and see what is running low and what they need, an experienced manager that has done it many times can make sure everything is checked and ordered. They know all the places to check in the store, so they rarely miss any items when checking.
  2. Having a book or record that keeps track of past sales.
    • A book or a record on the computer of the exact sales of last year on the same date helps to keep restaurants from running out of food. It lets them see when they are the busiest during the year or month for next year, so they can future plan and order extra food supplies on their inventory to arrive in time on marked days that they have to.
  3. Improvising.
    • The managers learn to improvise when certain things change that could possibly result in the restaurant running out of food soon. Restaurants will borrow food from other restaurants of their own kind to keep themselves stocked when they are in a pickle.
    • Employees are sent to other restaurants carrying the needed supplies to deliver to their fellow co-workers in another store location. General managers will even sometimes travel to other nearby cities to get the supplies, and then return back to their own store. They also deliver to other stores any surplus of items another store might need as needed.
    • Worst case scenario, restaurants will go to local grocery stores to get what they need.
  4. Storing leftovers.
    • As long as the food that was used for the day is still good, restaurants will seal them into containers and save them for tomorrow. The food might become specials on the special menu the next day, or just reheated and sold along with everything else.
  5. Keeping their foods fresh.
    • Dates are placed on every food that is prepared and placed in containers, so that the food that was prepared first can be served first, while it is still servable. This prevents foods from being thrown away too early or too soon.
    • All foods are kept cold in commercial coolers and refrigerators at all times. This prevents extra unnecessary food waste from happening later, and keeps the restaurant from running out of food.
  6. Hot holdings and food warmers.
    • Hot holding foods in food warmers, ovens, and heating cabinets prevents cooked food from spoiling so fast. If the cooked food is kept from spoiling by keeping it hot all day long, then it reduces food waste, saving food and preventing the restaurant from having a food shortage.
  7. Managing employee snacking.
    • If the restaurant keeps control on how much and what foods the employees are eating throughout the day, then they can prevent food shortages of certain types of food from happening that customers order frequently.

Reason Restaurants Would Run Out Of Food

  1. Foodborne illnesses spreading in food.
    • If food becomes contaminated, then the food has to be thrown away, which will result in a food shortage. This can happen either in the restaurant, locally, international, or nationwide. Things like this do happen on certain types of food, which can make a big impact on a restaurant. An example would be mad cow disease in a beef plant.
  2. An inexperienced manager or new manager doing the inventory.
    • New and inexperienced managers doing food inventory can miss important food items, even when they are doing their best. It is best for another manager to do the inventory with them when they are training them.
    • Sometimes they may get all of the food ordered, but underestimate the stores volume by not ordering enough until the next inventory needs to be done on its normal schedule every week.
  3. Not keeping track of current events.
    • Not keeping track of certain events that happen every year that causes the restaurant to go through more food than usual in a short period of time, will end up causing a food shortage of certain foods in the store.
    • These events can be school starting up again, a concert, high school graduation or a large catering order from a big business party.
  4. An unusually high amount of customers in a short period of time.
    • An unexpected high volume of customers coming in in a short period of time can cause the restaurant to run out of food sooner than expected. Also this can happen when customers order large amounts of foods that the restaurant normally has a low stock of because guests don’t order it that much on a regular basis. The restaurant itself isn’t to blame for this, it just happens sometimes.
  5. Forgetting to put food away.
    • Restaurants can’t leave foods sitting out in room temperature too long. They need to be kept cold or hot at certain temperatures to prevent foodborne illnesses. When they forget to put food away and it is inevitably bad now, they have to throw it away, resulting in a possible shortage of that specific food later on.
  6. Equipment breaking and not working properly.
    • Malfunctioning coolers and food warmers can mess up the temperatures of foods and cause foods to have to be thrown away before or after they are cooked and prepared.
    • A refrigerator full of food that is not working can be devastating for a restaurant, resulting in all of the inventory being dumped and wasted. The restaurant will inevitably run of food without a solution.
  7. Their food supplier forgot to ship some of the items.
    • Sometimes key food items don’t arrive as planned because the food supplier forgot to put them in the shipment, or mixed it up with someone else’s order.
  8. Their food supplier doesn’t have any stock.
    • The food supplier didn’t forget the food, they just don’t have it because they are out of stock at the moment. This can happen if they get an unusual high volume of orders coming in, or their crop is infected with a foodborne illness.

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