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Retail and Hospitality

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EPoS tackles restaurant shrinkage

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. 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.

Order management
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.

Inventory management
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.

By accounting for everything purchased and everything sold, restaurants can make real wastage reductions and automate replenishment levels too

Stuart Coetzee, TISSL
 
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 eg. pricing errors by your suppliers, paying the same invoice twice
Unrecorded and/or excessive wastage
o Pipe-cleaning
o Fobbing
o Ullage
o Kitchen prep wastage
o Over-production
o Poor stock rotation
o Over-ordering
Theft from serving and storage areas
Theft from fridges and freezers
Till malpractice
Over-portioning
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 reduce: “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.

Stuart Coetzee is business development manager at TISSL

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