A hotel stocktake can answer an enormous array of unanswered questions which currently seem to have no reasonable explanation, do you seem to be looking at the purchasing habits, revenue and team requests and be asking yourself one or all of these questions:-
Why are cost of sales really high?
How profitable is each of the wet led departments?
Why has my food cost of sales increased?
How much are housekeeping spending each week?
Why are uniform costs up 150%?
Why is Expenditure on crockery and glassware items in the first quarter already higher than in the first half of the year last year?
Why are the bills from the drinks supplier so huge?
Are you asking your team these questions and finding that they know of no significant changes and have blank looks on their faces? The hotel needs to do a stocktake. Here are five reasons why:
One – The effectiveness and accuracy of your staff – All your key personnel need to be involved as this sends a key message to the entire team of the importance of the hotel stocktake, the results and any action plans which are set for action going forward and they are the knowledgeable ones as to where everything is stored!! The hotel stocktake should be planned where possible on your quietest day so that all key personnel are fully focused, everywhere in the hotel needs to be counted and during that time no transfers or stock movement should take place to ensure stock is not missed or double counted. The Planning of a stocktake is more complicated than you may first think, you needs count sheets for all departments, up-to-date cost prices, and all selling prices, you need to ensure all your complimentary items are recorded to name a few.
Two – Taking Stock – Ultimately the hotel stocktake will answer many of your current questions, there maybe stock or equipment being stored in another area that your personnel were unaware of so some of the current requests for e.g. Glassware, in fact are unnecessary and they think they’ll now have enough until Christmas!! Housekeeping is being ordered the wrong water and this is going through the Wet Budget which is why drink supplier invoices are so high, the meat supplier has increased his steaks by a £1 per portion and as it’s your biggest seller that’s why your Food Gross Profit is taking a hit, because there is a current vacancy in the Housekeeping department no one has been sent perfectly good uniforms to the dry cleaners from ex members of staff, so they are just ordering new ones for new starters and not utilising the vast array already in stock.
Three – Stocking Policy – It is important to have an effective policy and look at this regularly, if your team want to stock a new cider, the hotel stocktake information will provide you with details of how many you already stock, how well they are selling and what is the current stockholding of these lines, thus enabling a more informed decision, the ultimate decision and conclusion you could now provide to your personnel could be that:- We currently offer 6 ciders 2 of them are pear based, pear cider sales combined have sold 42 bottles in the last 3 months and we have 18 bottles of Pear Cider type 1 on site, we need to delist Pear Cider type 1 and sell our current stockholding before you can order the new product, but just to clarify with you, don’t order the Pear Flavour of the new Cider, keeping Pear Cider type 2 will be enough to cover our current demand.
Four – Renegotiating supplier pricing – As trends come and go across the globe, it is the norm that this will affect what you are buying and ordering across the hotel. A regular stocktake will highlight large consumption lines; currently you would maybe looking at higher Pimms sales, the Rose drinkers are out in force, the summer holidays are upon us and soft drink sales will go through the roof, fruit teas are a popular fad which seem to be staying, everyone is going for lamb kofta canapés and smoked salmon blinis on their wedding breakfast. It is important for you to be on top of this and ensuring your personnel are purchasing from the supplier who is offering you the best price, make your suppliers work for you.
Five – Standards – A hotel stocktake will have additional benefits, as it also acts as a mini audit for health & safety, food hygiene and brand standards. The stocktake will undoubtedly include observation of the hotel team whilst they are working in their daily roles and generally the cleanliness and standards of your department’s storage areas, fridges and back of house areas.
- Stock being stored on the floor of a freezer which should be on a shelves or racking – EHO rating may have been lower.
- Drinks close to their best before date on the quiet function bar which need to be transferred to the main bar so they can be sold – would have been wasted, losing Profit.
- A team member serves a large glass of wine but only a charges for a small glass – Identifies a training need or a thief caught.
- A complimentary drink being given away as the beer is warm and then entering the cellar finding it to be of a much higher temperature than it should be – Equipment fixed, no more unhappy customers.
In conclusion the benefits of a hotel stocktake are huge, can provide many answers and raise standards across the hotel, the importance of the results going forward are investigating into the questions you can’t answer and monitoring the unexpected variances, a regular stocktake can assist in weekly and monthly budgeting, setting KPI’s, planning and monitoring promotions, managing and motivating your team, the value of a monthly hotel stocktake will by far outweigh the costs to the business and ultimately deliver the end goal of higher profit.