Make/Ready/Discard: Managing Restaurant Inventory on Hand

Posted by Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth was the Marketing Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2017 to 2021. As the previous Managing Editor for the On Point Blog, she ensured our audiences got the restaurant and delivery technology information and news that we're known for.

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Take a minute to step into the shoes of your employees. Working once or twice a week part-time, and starting part way through the day, your staff don’t necessarily know how long prepped food has been sitting. Only proper communication can ensure they know what ingredients are good to use, and which ones aren’t.


MRD Labels

The simplest way to communicate the status of each ingredient is to label prepped food with make/ready/discard (MRD) slips. These labels show the date a prep item was made, when it will be ready to be used, and when it needs to be discarded (like a best before date.)  

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MRD slips can be handwritten, but in many cases employees may not being able to clearly read the rushed handwriting of their coworkers. Another option is to print the MRD slips directly from your POS system.

MRD slips are a simple way to minimize waste and protect your customers by using the “first in first out” method to ensure that stock doesn’t sit and go bad. Since each make/ready/discard slip includes the make date, a quick glance tells your employees which prepped items need to be used next.


Prep Planning

How do you know how much of an ingredient to prepare ahead of time? You can take advantage of the forecasting tools in your POS system to build a detailed prep plan for each day or week. Your POS system’s forecast should project sales based on upcoming events and past sales history.

SpeedLine customers can take it one step further. Define day parts and prep items, and auto-generate a Prep Plan to see the exact amount of each prep item needed for the sales forecast—right down to the count of crusts to pre-sauce for the dinner rush, if that is part of your high-volume workflow.

When you have your employees work through a prep plan, train them to check the MRD labels on each ingredient, and to label all newly prepped items. This will ensure you're only serving the freshest ingredients, while minimizing waste. 


Controlling Food Cost

Finally, knowing exactly how much was prepared, and how much should have been prepared and sold will help you track your prep variance. Are you regularly over- or under-prepping ingredients?

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In SpeedLine, the Store Manager Prep Variance report shows the difference between what was forecasted to sell, and what actually sold. By checking the report regularly, you can fine-tune your prep plan by adjusting the numbers in the Store Plan.

Since prep plans are based on the ingredients included in each menu item, the variance report can also indicate when you may have issues with portion control in your restaurant. If portions are out of whack—with cooks adding too much cheese to each pizza, or too many pepperoni slices, for example—your prep plans will inevitably vary from the actual inventory used. Read Portion Control: Reduce Inventory Costs in Your Pizzeria for strategies to decrease food waste. 

Make/ready/discard slips and prep plans are simple tools to control inventory costs proactively. 


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Posted on Wed, May 23, 2018 @ 11:05 AM.
Updated on March 26, 2021 @ 9:45 PM PST.

Tags: Portion Control, SpeedLine Inventory

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