Fall Forward: 5 Steps to Prep Your Restaurant Inventory for the Fall

Fall Forward: 5 Steps to Prep Your Restaurant Inventory for the Fall

Take a deep breath in. Can you smell it? That’s right, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back. It’s time to get ready for fall.

Whether your restaurant serves a super-popular LTO or just offers delicious seasonal specials, the changing seasons will be sure to affect your menu. As the weather turns, guests will get more excited about hot drinks, hearty flavors, and decorative gourds. Don’t squash this trend! You can use data about their seasonal preferences to increase guest loyalty, boost profits, and celebrate the season.

As you update your menu, you should also be prepared to update your restaurant’s inventory. Here are 5 simple steps to get your stockroom ready for fall.


1. Take Stock

Before you make any changes, make sure you have an accurate account of every item in your stockroom. Which items need to be used up before they go bad? Which ones will last forever? What’s taking up too much space? Cross-reference a physical count with the information in your cloud-based POS. Make sure you know how much every item costs, and how much your restaurant profits from its sale. Remember, the best-selling items might not be the most profitable!


2. A Pinch of Seasoning

Review your sales data from the past season. Which items sold best this summer? What about last fall? If an item is popular enough, you may want to include it in your permanent menu – or perhaps you’ll just offer it again next summer. Of course, this is only possible for certain menu items: seasonal vegetables may only be available at certain times of year, no matter how popular they are among guests. Make sure you’re working with a supplier who can meet your changing needs, and grow along with your restaurant.


3. Don’t be Shelf-ish

Make sure your store room is well organized. The changing season is a perfect opportunity to sweep out any cobwebs lurking in the corners: you might invest in new containers, relabel your shelves and bins, or even resell appliances you no longer need. Keep track of how much space each item is taking up. If you run a bakery, it makes sense to have an entire room devoted to different types of flour. If your restaurant serves only salads, on the other hand, you’ll need a different strategy. Don’t be afraid to get rid of items that are taking up valuable space. Donating food to local food pantries and shelters is a great way to make space in your restaurant without wasting it.


4. Menu Makeover

When your stock is organized – in both your Point of Sale system and your physical restaurant – you’re ready to draft your fall menu. Pay close attention to how you price your new seasonal specials, since they will have a major impact on your profit margin for the next few months. Consider including LTOs in addition to a more predictable fall menu. Guests are more excited than ever to try limited-time offers at restaurants, and kicking off the fall with your own version of the PSL might boost profits all season long.


5. Sale Away

Once you have a plan to transition your stockroom from summer to fall, it’s time to move forward. Take a close look at your POS data: if you can afford it, you may consider offering extra-special low prices on seasonal items that are about to disappear. Alternatively, you can turn these ingredients into LTOs for your guests to sample while the weather changes. Give your chef a chance to shine, and your guests will start getting excited about your new seasonal menu.

As LTOs take over the restaurant industry, your guests are starting to expect regular menu updates. Whether you serve Unicorn Lattes, venison sandwiches, or pumpkin anything, this is a great opportunity to get new guests in the door. Share your seasonal menu across social media, and get ready for the rush of new business.

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