Anyone involved in running a restaurant will know the profound importance of a solid supply chain. If the chain breaks down, it can prove disastrous, resulting in lost revenue, wasted products or even total shutdown, as demonstrated by KFC’s infamous chicken shortage in February.
For restaurants in particular supply chains can be even more fraught than in other industries; there is more and more of an emphasis on fresh ingredients and farm to fork, meaning that supply chains require serious efficiency to avoid waste. There is also a demand for greater variety, consistency and the need to meet quality standards as well as food safety requirements. Factor in weather disruptions and commodity price volatility and you’ve got the potential for absolute chaos.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel: strengthening your supply chain can help to ensure that none of these stressors become an issue and interrupts your business. Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve a stable and reliable network.
Make sure purchases are compliant
This applies to chains more than independent restaurants, but when individual restaurant operators decide to purchase things that haven’t been approved by the head office there is potential for financial impact, as well as risks to quality, brand consistency – even consumer health. Transparency is key and the corporate or head office team need to know immediately about any off-contract purchasing so they can tackle compliance issues before they become actual problems.
Ensure food safety and traceability
A Quality Management system is of paramount importance. A really good system will cover a wide range of different areas, from how you select new products and spot quality issues, to preparing for and implementing product recalls up and down your supply chain. Whether you’re a large organisation or an independent restaurant, protecting your reputation is a priority and choosing appropriate Quality Management options that scale to your business is a huge part of that.
Keep up to date with trends and implement your findings
Companies often invest in expensive in-depth reports by third parties and sophisticated algorithms to get a better handle on demand. This is all well and good, but if these insights aren’t actioned in a timely fashion, the entire exercise becomes pointless. Your supply chain needs to be reactive and adaptable, responding to changes in dining trends and consumer demand. As Food Newsfeed puts it, ‘The digital network must be able to sense demand patterns, generate corrected forecasts, translate these forecasts from menu-items to supply forecasts for SKUs, and orchestrate replenishment from suppliers – all in real-time.’
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