If you’re in charge of a hospitality business or venue you’ll know that there are always a hundred and one things to be thinking about. So what happens when you’re managing not just one, but multiple venues simultaneously?
Multi-venue management comes with its own challenges and things to think about.
Not only are the venues separated by location, but it’s also likely they’ll each have different teams, setups and, as a result, different processes. This means it can be difficult to keep everything running uniformly, under your control.
Multi-location inventory management is also something most operations folks spend time trying to work out. In one venue you may have two restaurants and a bar, and in the next you could have three restaurants plus an event and catering programme to contend with. This means that applying the same principles across the board may not work.
The answer? You’ll need a system that both works across all of your venues, AND that allows you the flexibility to make changes based on each individual venue’s needs.
In this guide we’ll be exploring how inventory management works when you have multiple locations, and looking at which key features you’ll need from your inventory management system to meet the demand.
How to manage stocktaking across multiple venues using inventory management software
1. Use a system that’s made for multi-location inventory management
The first step to mastering stocktake across multiple venues is to invest in a multi-location inventory management system. This means having one system for inventory management that can be used across multiple locations, even when they’re all unique venues.
Some of the features to consider are:
Accessible from anywhere
As someone in charge of multiple venues you’ll likely not be in the same place for long. Having an inventory management system that’s fully cloud-based, that will let you check stock, make orders or look for discrepancies while on the go can be a game-changer.
It means that wherever you are on-site, you’ll have access to everything from stock levels, to waste records and supplier ordering. This helps to make decisions on the go, prevent losses and ensure you have visibility while talking to your team.
Ability to easily transfer stock between venues
This can come in handy internally within each venue (say you need to borrow some stock from another restaurant on-site), but also if you ever need to transfer stock between locations.
If you’re low on stock in one venue and decide to transfer existing stock from another to fill in the shortfall, this would usually be flagged as a discrepancy in your system. If it’s happening across multiple locations and managed by different staff, it can quickly become difficult to pinpoint where you’re actually losing stock, and where you’re simply using it in another location.
Being able to seamlessly transfer stock between your venues as needed, with a digital trail of all stock movements, will ensure your inventory levels remain accurate.
growyze enables you to transfer stock between different venues and locations while keeping a digital record of all stock movements for easy reference.
Granular user permissions
Not every staff member will have the same role internally, let alone across each venue. Your multi-location inventory system needs to provide the ability to segment what each user can have access to based on their role, and also their location.
For your chef that might mean just access to menu management, including creating and editing recipes and ordering stock from specific suppliers.
For restaurant managers you may want to just give them the ability to order stock for their location, and from specific suppliers (for example the ones that are local and won’t incur expensive delivery charges).
Then you may have operations managers who need access to everything, including the ability to change orders, dispute deliveries with suppliers and review profit margins across venues.
Having the ability to set granular user permissions will ensure your teams only have access to what they need, and helps you to keep closer control over costs, even when managing multiple venues.
2. Have one system where everything lives
Opting for an inventory management system that allows you to manage not just inventory control, but all stock and supply processes further simplifies your role.
An ideal inventory management system shouldn't just enable multi-location stocktake. It should also facilitate stock reordering, invoice reconciliation, supplier price tracking, vendor management, and even data and reporting.
Take stock ordering as an example. In most venues not only is the team expected to order stock from multiple different suppliers, they’re also expected to use multiple systems to order that stock. To create a simple dish like fish and chips, you might have to place the fish order by phone, the potatoes order by email, then log into an online portal to order accompaniments like tartare sauce and ketchup. Suddenly ordering becomes time-consuming and extremely confusing - and that’s only one dish, at one restaurant, from a menu of hundreds!
One thing our customers love about growyze is the ability to keep all suppliers in one place, and to simplify the ordering process so every item gets ordered in exactly the same way.
Then you have the ability to join other systems, like POS and accounting, which in turn helps you to bring even more processes into a single place. Now you can not only track what items you’re selling (so you know exactly how to improve menu profitability), but you can see the invoices for the items you’re ordering, and get auto-validation against orders and deliveries too.
Instead of juggling multiple systems and processes, everything is in one place reducing the time needed for day-to-day tasks, and increasing efficiency in everything you do.
3. Ensure you have the ability to segment data in each location
Although you’ll want to manage inventory for locations all from one system, having access to granular reporting on each location’s performance is essential.
Without being able to pinpoint trends and patterns at each location it’ll be near-on impossible to spot where you’re wasting stock, losing money or seeing price discrepancies.
Say your stock count for red wine is showing far lower than you think it should be. If you’re looking at red wine across all venues, you won’t know where to start when it comes to finding out if a) the stock is actually missing and b) what’s causing the discrepancy.
Digging into the data for each location will help you get to the answer far more quickly, so you can see if there’s a simple reason (perhaps the stock hasn’t been logged properly, or the supplier didn’t deliver but still sent an invoice for the missing items).
When you’re able to manage all of your inventory from one system yet have the ability to look at each location individually, this gives you the power to increase efficiency across all key performance areas.
4. Use automation to help remove time-consuming, manual processes
Managing multiple locations means that your time and focus is always going to be spread thinly. Harnessing systems enabled with automation to run manual, time-consuming tasks, like data input and reconciliation, can simplify your management across all locations.
In a tool such as growyze, automation can help remove the manual day-to-day processes that have to be done in each location. An example of which is how you manage and reconcile your invoices.
growyze auto-scans invoices and loads them into the system. Next, the smart engine cross-references invoices and checks them against orders and deliveries. This immediately flags any discrepancies, helping you to see where items are missing, or where you shouldn’t be paying for items.
When you start to multiply this effect across locations you’ll start to see how quickly you can reduce losses, and increase profit.
Multi-location inventory management made easy with growyze
Having complete control over your inventory management processes at one location is hard enough, never mind several! The good news is that it doesn’t need to be. With growyze’s advanced but user-friendly features, you can transform your multi-location inventory management from a logistical headache into an efficiency and profitability powerhouse!
Book a demo to see how growyze’s inventory management app can help your multi-location hospitality business.