Supply chain issues remain a constant challenge for all industries as the nation continues to recover from the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the restaurant industry was hit hard by government shutdowns and social distancing, it now faces another wave of hurdles including product shortages and increasing food costs. Supply chain disruption is forcing many restaurant owners to once again pivot and adapt to a new environment. Here are just a few strategies to navigate the treacherous waters of the current restaurant supply chain.

Embrace Technology
Inventory management goes hand in hand with supply chain management. Keeping precise records of your stock of ingredients ultimately impacts your purchasing decisions through your supply chain. Leveraging technology through your POS system may be the game-changer. If you have an inventory management feature already built into your POS or if there is an integration for one, this process could be automated, eliminating the guesswork. Embracing technology for your inventory management can allow for forecasting, order planning, and automated inventory tracking based on customer orders.

Consider Substitutions
Can’t bear to pull a dish from your menu? Then think about replacing costly ingredients or those that are tough to buy. Another approach is to offer up seasonal items which utilize popular and abundant ingredients at a given time of the year. Serving up a limited-time item can create a buzz and an increase in demand. Finally, consider the cross-utilization of ingredients to get the most out of each item.

Revisit Your Vendor List
This should be on your annual to-do list if not semi-annually. Assess pricing and quality to determine if a change should be made. You may also want to consider diversifying your vendor list to compensate for the lack of available goods. Other owners have turned to local sourcing as a solution. Through the use of local farms and bakeries, some restaurants have been able to get ingredients in a timely fashion. In addition, directly supporting the local community in which they operate is an added bonus.

Think Outside The Box
Lastly, take a step back and assess how you can resolve your supply chain issue in a creative, proactive manner. Popular poultry chain, Wingstop has taken a distinctive approach to control their supply chain issues including considerations of raising their own chickens to joint ventures with suppliers. For some, this could mean bringing production of a given product in-house if ingredients are readily available. For others, it may mean joining a co-op. Taking the time to think about the specific issue at hand and brainstorming options is a great first step.

All in all, remember to build relationships with your food suppliers, keep an eye on agricultural reports, and look for software that can help you streamline your supply chain and restaurant logistics. WVC RubixCloud is here to help you determine the best approach for your organization. Connect with us today!

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Nicole Menden, Director