Kitchen Conversations: Inventory Management

Cambro Kitchen Conversatins header - Cambro blog

Whether you operate a small restaurant, full-service restaurant, or hotel the profits you make depend a lot on how well you manage your food inventory. Food cost is any foodservice operation’s largest single expense with labor following closely behind.

Even the best managed restaurants have ongoing challenges in this area. To maintain freshness, especially with produce that is more susceptible to spoilage, operators should know the amount of food to prepare for each shift based on anticipated sales. Too much product on hand results in “sampling”, waste and spoilage and too little results in running out on the line and having to make it up via a comp to your guests.

As a restaurateur, you share the same challenges as any business with valuable inventory and unless the merchandise moves, you are not making money.
Here are some of the concerns and challenges operators shared with us relating to Inventory Control:

1. Improper rotation and storage
2. Employee Theft
3. Prepping/cooking errors
4. Spoiled Food
5. Over-portioning
6. Employee Sampling
7. Waste
8. Kickbacks
9. Unrecorded sales

CamSquares - cambro blogOutfitting your restaurant with clear, see-through containers with graduation marks is one way to take control of your inventory costs. Clear containers allow you and your staff to see at a glance how much food is being stored.


  1. This makes it easier to take inventory at a glance without having to open and close the lids; helping to reduce premature spoilage.
  2. Also you can easily establish daily prep levels using the graduation marks and help reduce excessive waste which can hurt your bottom line.

Here’s a video testimonial on how one operator is achieving a mere 2% overall waste level, far lower than the industry-average of 8% by using air-tight storage containers to keep their produce fresh longer and help manage their inventory more efficiently.

Contest: Share with us for a chance to win Cambro Clear Food Storage Containers with Lids. First 20 to respond will be selected to win!

This Kitchen Conversation Series is intended as a learning forum so if you have ideas that could help other operators, we invite you to share! What things are you are doing to help you manage your inventory more efficiently? How often are you reviewing your procedures? How do you integrate Inventory Control best practices during the hiring and training process?

20 replies »

  1. There are a lot of different storage containers out there but I can bro because of the stack ability and the clear view of what is inside the containers.
    I also like them because they are durable and easy to store.

  2. I don’t have a commercial place that I use Cambro products in but the products I do have are some of the best stuff I could ask for .
    I love the Cam Wear containers .
    It doesn’t matter what I put in them weather its dry foods or even my donuts everything stays super fresh .

  3. Thanks for sharing! It’s great to see how other companies manage their stock and keep their ingredients as fresh as possible. I work with more dry ingredients so it’s always good to learn from different companies.

  4. My favorite Cambro containers are the clear ones (in particular, the ones with the handles for my old hands to firmly grasp). So easy to see inventory levels at a glance with the quantity markings on the side. And no-touch visual inspection means not having to take the lid off every time to look at the products. Knowing how much volume I need for quantity production makes it easy for me to direct staff: count quarts available of … and I know for certain if I have what I need or not.

  5. I rotate my inventory first in first and date all items. I buy only what I need for the meals we serve to prevent food spoilage. Over see all prepping and cooking to prevent errors. Limit number of key to walk-in and storeroom. I know all food items and non food item I have on have on hand. I have little or no waste by using vegetable trimmings for stocks. I portion out all meals to prevent over- portioning. This is what I do for inventory control.

  6. I love the clear storage containers, because with multiple staff members, it’s hard to keep track of every item. With clear containers, you can easily see at a glance what ingredients are getting dangerously low, or which ingredients you may need to consider incorporating into a ‘special’ to get them out the door!

Leave a Reply