Inventory Planning: A Data-Driven Approach to Optimizing Restaurant Profits and Customer Satisfaction


As a restaurant owner, keeping your customers satisfied while maximizing your profits is a never-ending balancing act. One key factor that can make or break your success is inventory planning.

An Inventory planning software determines how much inventory you need to keep on hand to meet customer demand while minimizing waste and maximizing profits. This includes everything from food and beverage ingredients to disposable supplies such as napkins and straws.

The traditional approach to inventory planning involves manual forecasting based on historical data and intuition. However, this approach is often unreliable and can lead to overstocking or understocking, resulting in wasted food and lost revenue.

On the other hand, a data-driven approach with AI-powered inventory software for restaurants which uses real-time data to make more accurate and informed inventory planning decisions can be very useful. By analyzing sales trends, menu item popularity, promotional data and other key metrics, you can more effectively manage your inventory and reduce waste while still meeting customer demand.

Implementing a Data-Driven Approach

Automating Replenishment Planning at the Raw Ingredients Level

Automating replenishment planning is a smart move for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) that must manage inventory across multiple locations with several menu items. By automating the replenishment process, QSRs can ensure that they have the right amount of inventory at the right time without the need for manual intervention.

One of the benefits of automating replenishment planning through inventory software for restaurants is the ability to make data-driven decisions to optimize revenue and minimize waste. With a system that can build plans based on factors like current inventory levels, storage and freezer capacity, and truckload optimizations, QSRs can ensure that they’re using their working capital effectively. For example, the system can help identify which stores need inventory replenishment and in what quantities to ensure high availability of menu items without risking overstocking that may lead to waste.

Moreover, automated replenishment planning can help QSRs reduce food waste by ensuring they only order what they need. By taking into account real-time demand and inventory changes, as well as the shelf life of ingredients, the system can generate replenishment plans that minimize the risk of spoilage or expiration.

Demand Sensing at the Granular Level

It’s important for QSRs to have the capability of demand sensing at the menu item level for every restaurant and commissary. This will help them accurately plan inventory through the supply chain, reducing the risk of stockouts. Additionally, this level of detail can provide insights into the demand for new menu items.

Kronoscope is a solution that can assist QSRs in predicting daily demand for their perishables. It considers both internal and external factors such as promotions, day-of-the-week effects, holidays, seasonality, and waste.

Purchase Planning at the Raw Ingredient Level

It is recommended that QSR automate its entire purchase planning process to enhance its efficiency. This can be achieved by implementing a solution that can accurately break down menu item demand into ingredient levels and consider important factors such as ingredient shelf life, required inventory levels, inventory aging, supplier MOQ, supplier fill rates, and supplier lead times to automatically generate precise purchase plans. Manually carrying out this process can be time-consuming and prone to inefficiencies and stockout situations, particularly when managing many outlets.

Using inventory software for restaurants, QSR can easily generate daily purchase plans with just two clicks, which take into account real-time demand and inventory changes while also accounting for shelf life, inventory requirements, inventory aging, supplier MOQ, supplier fill rates, and supplier lead times.

Promotional Impact on Demand

Planning promotions for restaurants is a complex task. When done manually, it can result in inefficiencies and out-of-stock losses, particularly when trying to reduce food wastage while accurately predicting demand.

Machine learning algorithm integrated into inventory software for restaurants simplifies this task by learning from historical promotions data and incorporating the impact of future promotions on demand predictions. In addition, it identifies how promotions affect one menu item/category and their crossover impact on other associated menu item/categories. Finally, it establishes a visual correlation between the impact of promotions and demand, making it an ideal demand planning platform for QSRs.

Automated Out of stock or Overstocking Warnings

In the QSR industry, providing excellent service is critical, and any instances of stockouts must be carefully reviewed. To prevent these occurrences, QSRs should implement inventory software for restaurants that automatically alerts demand planners of potential out-of-stock situations and suggests the necessary stock levels, the number of days remaining stock, and the value of out-of-stock losses based on ingredient prices. With this system, QSRs can proactively avoid out-of-stock losses altogether.

By utilizing an inventory software for restaurant control tower, demand planners can preempt and prevent the risk of out-of-stock loss and food waste using dedicated dashboards. This ensures that QSRs can always offer the freshest products to their customers, delighting them with exceptional service.

About the Company

Fountain9 offers restuarants & QSR’s the best demand forecasting and inventory software for restaurants – Kronoscope, that takes into account nine different factors, such as seasonality, historical sales data, consumer behavior, commodity indices, and unfavorable weather events. With this software, companies can accurately anticipate demand, optimize their stock management, and meet client demand on time.

The inventory planning software provides teams with valuable insights into stock levels, best suppliers, dynamic safety stock, and other critical information for the ingredients needed for menu items on a daily basis. Additionally, the dynamic inventory planner streamlines the purchasing, procurement, replenishment, and distribution process, essentially automating the entire inventory operations process for the business. This ensures that supply planning is efficient, enabling businesses to easily meet customer demands.

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