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Controlling loss and wastage in Food and Beverage operation

There are many new technologies which have been adopted by the hospitality industry to improve or change existing control systems. In most instances, basic control processes have not been altered. Instead, technology has enhanced the accuracy, depth, and effectiveness of these processes, while reducing the labour involved.

Spoilage and Pilferage:

Adequate checks in the receiving portion of the foodservice cycle can help reduce loss due to spoilage and pilferage. if substandard foods are arriving, receiving personnel should be empowered to refuse shipments or accept partial shipments. In addition, storage equipment should be checked regularly for proper maintenance and temperature control.

Other possible causes of spoilage include the following:

  • An inordinate delay may have occurred during the transport of the product from the receiving area to the storage area.

  • Food may have been over purchased, causing inventory levels to be too large.

  • Staff members may be taking food and covering their tracks with a spoilage report.

Automated Purchasing and Materials Management Systems:

  • Automated purchasing and inventory management systems allow for greater ease in auditing these aspects of the foodservice cycle and are a deterrent to theft.

  • Additionally, these systems assist in controlling product quality and food costs by issuing product based on production forecasts generated through the system by management.

Alcohol Storage, Issuing, and Service

  • Storage and Issuing: Alcoholic beverage storage and issuing demand extensive control. The food and beverage manager and hotel controller are often assigned the responsibility for ordering, receiving, storing, and issuing liquor as required.

  • Liquor requisitioned for a cash bar or hospitality bar in a suite or meeting room should be carefully monitored. Since the patron is eventually billed, food and beverage management must be able to provide an exact accounting for liquor consumed during the event.

  • A supervisor or manager should also monitor the service at cash bars on the property. When a cash bar is used for a function, it is preferable for cashiers to sell tickets that are then exchanged for drinks. This makes verification of the drink sale easier than in a situation where the bartender must also collect payment and issue change.

Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems:

  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems have replaced traditional cash registers in all major hotel operations. These computer-based systems allow for a very high level of control for a reasonable price in all areas where guest transactions are processed. The food and beverage department has gained the greatest benefit from this control.

  • Restaurant POS systems have eliminated the need for the manual check control systems of the past. Checks no longer need to be issued to servers at the beginning of each shift. Control numbers no longer need to be recorded on lengthy and time-consuming check logs.

  • The POS system maintains open guest checks in a database and assigns a check number based on the transaction number and the server's identification code. Management may then report on all transactions performed by a specific server for any given period of time.

  • Other POS functions, such as open drawer alarms and magnetic keys that can be programmed for specific menu items or functions, give management more flexibility and greater reporting capabilities to track sales and control losses.

  • POS systems can interface with inventory management systems to trigger reorders of specific items by tracking the number sold over a specific period of time.