Having your most popular or high profit items in stock is a must — especially when your most loyal customers come around. Doing your part to justify their time in seeking out your products is paramount to keeping them around.
But when you simply don’t have what they want, what can you do? This article will tell you a few effective tricks to help mitigate disappointment.
What to do when you run out
You may have closed up shop for the day — whether you sell online or in person — only to find one of your items is dangerously close to being out of stock. The item may not get restocked for some time, too, so you’re forced to stop selling it for the time being.
But, that item still appears on your menu. So, customers may order it, only to be informed that it’s not available.
Sometimes customers get their heart set on food that makes their mouth water, and when they hear that their favorite vegan tiramisu is gone until further notice, they may just choose to leave the restaurant and seek out another spot — and who can blame them?
Additionally, a difference in what customers can order and what can actually be produced can lead to logistical nightmares for everyone.
So, how could you go about negating your customer’s disappointment? One way is not to include the item on your menu at all. Thankfully, with digital menu boards for restaurants, there are myriad ways to play with out-of-stock items so that your customers remain satisfied with your services.
How to hide out-of-stock items
If you have a paper menu, you may be forced to place a sticker over the option that says ‘Out of Stock’, or you may just instruct the staff to inform customers that you don’t have what they’re looking for. Neither of these options are ideal.
That’s why we recommend setting up digital menu boards.
Automate your inventory management
For many restaurant managers, keeping track of their inventory and making notes of what is in or out of stock can be a daunting and time-consuming task. However, the days of using excels, making notes, and manually tracking everything in your inventory should be behind us.
There is plenty of inventory management software that will automatically track the inventory that you have left, then let you know when you need to order more of a certain product, or even when you are ordering too much.
When you close each day, this software will update what inventory is out of stock, and subsequently which menu items are no longer available. At which point, with a digital menu board, you can easily update your menu so that the unavailable menu items are hidden.
That way, no one ends up disappointed by trying to order out-of-stock options, and you just saved yourself a lot of time.
While cooking at home, maybe you like to “eyeball” the amount of spices and items that go into your signature recipes.
But, of course, eyeballing it isn’t exactly reliable when you’re trying to keep track of how much stock you’re using up each week.
If you closely manage your recipes and exactly how much of each ingredient goes into each dish, then your inventory management system will work much better.
With precise recipes, you only have to report how many of a certain dish was ordered for your inventory management system to know when you will run out of ingredients and when you need to purchase more.
You will subsequently know when to update your digital menu so that out-of-stock options are hidden, and nobody gets disappointed.
When you first get your inventory management system, you can input your order history from previous months and years. Using that information, the system will forecast how much you need of which ingredient going forward.
Without an automated and precise system, you might be overspending on certain ingredients and therefore wasting food, or underspending on other ingredients and therefore running out of dishes on your menu. For that reason, be sure that you forecast the stock you have, and the stock you’ll need for your hungry customers.
Automating your inventory process will certainly make your life easier, but resist the urge to let it do everything for you.
Choose two members of staff to go over inventory at the beginning and end of every day to make sure there are no errors and you won’t run out of any ingredients in the middle of a busy Friday night.
Your staff should also be fluent in your inventory management systems. This will ensure that everyone is accurately reporting foods ordered and any differences between your ideal stock numbers and the true physical stock numbers.
Digital menu boards for restaurants
With a digital menu board, you can easily update the menu on the fly so that out-of-stock items do not appear. Doing so is easy in your digital signage CMS (content management system), which can be accessed remotely from any device with a browser.
Along with the ease of hiding out-of-stock options, there are various other benefits to switching to completely digital signage, such as:
- Digital menus are dynamic, and can be used to display videos, graphics, and photos as well as text.
- Digital signs are more engaging, brighter, and eye-catching.
- Most importantly, digital menu boards for restaurants are easily customizable, and you can access and manage the content of your sign from any device. Meaning changes, additions, or deletions are always simple.
With an easy-to-use digital sign and menu, hiding items that are out of stock becomes simple and it saves you the hassle of disappointing your guests by saying their favorite dessert is unavailable.
Automated inventory and digital menu boards can make or break your restaurant
One of the most common mistakes in the restaurant industry is failing to properly keep track of your stock. And no one likes to see the disappointment on their customer’s faces when they’re informed that their favorite food isn’t available.
Missing certain ingredients and running out of items is normal. In fact, restaurants expect to see a 3-5% variation between their ideal stock and their physical stock simply because food management isn’t always exact. For example, sometimes your ground beef starts to brown before you expect it to, and sometimes you accidentally use a meat knife on vegetables, and food needs to be tossed.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive for better. With digital menu boards for restaurants and automated inventory systems, you can make a major upgrade and improve the overall process.
Get in touch with Mandoe Media today to learn more about how your restaurant can leverage the power of digital menu boards.