How do you take inventory?

I am working on setting up a new weekly inventory system (no need for nightly yet) and I am torn between doing it by weight (which will obviously give me a very accurate count) or by units, and guestimating opened containers based on their fill level.

Anyone mind sharing how they do inventory, and any pros and cons they know of?

A lot can happen in a week
I plan to do it daily, not all of the stock, but boxes, cheese flour and drinks.
That way you can keep a close eye on things.
Weight is the right way for food stuff

I do a complete physical inventory twice a week. If anything looks out of order, I compare that number against the sales period and last inventory.

I inventory the day before each delivery so I can put in orders that afternoon. Inventory either end of night Wednesaday or Thursday morning so I can place order Thurs for Friday drop. That way I am seeing the inventory twice a week and see when I need those odd things only order every couple months or so. Set pars, and pull the trigger when needed.

Once per week on Sunday night. Weight is the way to go for most things. But per container for beverages or per case for slow moving items is fine. As an example, we sell jalapeno poppers but not at a huge pace. We inventory per case so my manager just counts cases in the freezer and estimates the portion of the open case remaining.

Estimating open containers on the line is fine. Guessing wrong by a pound on something is not going to throw weekly numbers off and the wrong guesses will tend to offset each other. For example, I know that 5 lbs of pepperoni fits in a 1/3 pan. If that pan is untouched in the walk-in that is 5 lbs. If it looks about half full on the line that is 2 or 3 lbs. Being off by a pound is about $2. Against weekly food cost that is just not an important number and taking a bunch more time to perfect the number accomplishes nothing meaningful.

For arguement sake lets say you used 3,000 in food on 10,000 in sales for a week so cost was 30%. If your count was off by $20 net one way or the other (remember, your mistakes in estimates will tend to offset each other) you come in at 29.8% or 30.2%… it just does not matter. A much bigger issue is keeping your pricing up to date. If cheese changes by 5 cents per pound and you have 1000 pounds in the walkin and do not update your cost for inventory value that difference is $50!

If you have a specific issue like cheese usage, go to every night counts for that single item, but don’t bog yourself or your manager down with 30-40 minutes of pointless work every day! Similarly, box count is a great way to look for employee dishonesty. If pies are going out for cash when you are not around, the box count will be off. There will always be a few mistakes etc, but if you see that count being wrong consistently, go to every day box counts reconciled with sales.

You hit it right on the money.

Our week ends on Tuesday so we inventory after close every week. We weigh all meats and cheese. All produce is either counted or weighed depending on how it is purchased. Everything else in the store is counted. Anything that is opened is individually counted. We estimate the soda left in the bag in box.

It is important to have the same person inventory otherwise any estimating done will vary. It is also important to keep your prices up to date on all delivery entries otherwise your food costs will not be accurate.

Every day we count all key items. Weekly we count a few more. Monthly the full boat.

Cant keep score of the game by only knowing how many points you have at the end of the game.

Maybe it is just a volume thing? I use 3000 lbs of cheese a week in my busy store so being off a half ounce on every pizza will add up quick and if I wait until the end of the week I might be losing thousands of dollars.

Dang, am I the only lazy one here? We do track our cheese usage daily, & do once a month on everything. Have not had a problem in the past 10 years (knock on wood).