Stock Taking. Why Bother?

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If there’s plenty of cash in the drawer that’s all that matters right? Well of course. Folk like your product, you can buy in plenty of stock, and sell it at a price that puts money in your pockets. Great!

No issues right!  The daily routine keeps going, you open the doors, staff come in, serve your product, the customer comes in, buys your product, customer ambles home, staff eventually get the place cleaned, pack their bags and go home.

You count your till, all is good, no shortages. Excellent. Takings are great, a busy night, all is good.

Another weekend over, a new Monday emerges. Faceless suppliers call looking for orders, bombarding you at times that suit them. The post man drops in the mail. You look at all the bills. You check emails, more electronically sent bills in your inbox, including the annual rates. Mobile phone is going off in your pocket, a customer wants to give out about service. Typically, you check the comments for proof of other complaints in everyone’s fly on the wall TripAdvisor. Yes, there it is, varying comments indicating attention to detail deficits that don’t tell you the whole truth.

Bills have deadlines, suppliers have terms and conditions, staff need paid at the end of the week, orders need to be made and so, the wheels of running a hospitality business turn.

Are you in control of the wheel? How do you know?

Did you buy this business originally or did you grow up in it? Maybe you inherited it? Are you a professionally trained bartender/chef/hospitality manager? Do you have managerial experience?

Did you create a business plan? Have you engineered a brand for business that determines your service style and training needs?

Do you just open your doors and stick a few posters up on the walls of your own pub with a weekly advert in the local newsletter? Do you just check your bottom line on the z read or back office PC?

Do you buy in every product trending just to keep relevant? Do you have up to date POS.? Do you monitor various PLUs and group performances? Do you know your labour costs? Do you know your staff’s skill and abilities?  Do you leave them to their own devices? What is your product range?

Do you train your staff? What are your service standards?

Should your answers to any of the queries above have doubt or ambiguity then I can tell you right now don’t call a stock taker who cares. Essentially you would be wasting your money which you probably don’t have, and you are wasting his/her time because there are multiple layers of dysfunction within your business approach. You are probably working stupendously hard to an early grave. Have you ever heard of a busy fool? My advice. Take the test.

Accountants will be a great addition post your end of years trading and submitting year end revenue accounts. However, the harm is done already. Right? Gross Profit percentage is down, purchases are increasing even though the sales remained stagnant. They are very good at stating the obvious and they are excellent at helping you once you have a successful business. Because let’s face it. That is your unique selling point, skill/job. It’s your business to be good at your business.

You have got to know all the factors that ultimately influence and drive your business. Having a fancy front end business is of no benefit to you if there is nothing beneath the fur coat! You will lose your mind before your coat.

A stock taker is an ally in your endeavors to create the best operation you can achieve. In the market place in which you exist. A stock taker worth their salt knows how the Food & Beverage, accommodation business ticks at a corporate level as well as the local cottage industry level. They will have familiarity of all your suppliers and their nuances. A stock taker is your silent partner on your board of directors. A confident that strengthens your hand in terms of information and best practice in multiple areas of hospitality. Avoid “stockers” (stockers whom are only after a job.  Normally incredibly cheap. They often are former bar persons whom want an end to late nights and believe stock taking is a handy transition. More on that in future content).

Look how better you want to perform. A good bookkeeper is essential if this is not your favored area of expertise. But constant and updates information is essential.  A stock taker works in parallel to this process.

Stock taking is a fixed cost against the variables of trading in the hospitality. Hospitality is not an ideal trading environment but that what it is. A constant business transaction that cannot afford ambiguity or challenge from any of the components within the deal. Periodic stock control encapsulates the transactions into chunks of time that bring operational investigations and ultimately solutions that improve the ongoing commitment by your team to your customers.

Ambiguity are always the clouds in a business model and a business needs sunshine. Let in the sun. 😊

Mark Kelly

ProfitWatch

30th Nov 2018

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