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Improving inventory management is just one of the ingredients for reducing waste and increasing profitability in your c-store. With the introduction of new technologies, improved data collection, and integrated systems, foodservice managers can forecast, plan, and manage foodservice production better than ever before. If you’re looking to upgrade your foodservice program, make sure to incorporate these five stages of foodservice operations into your day-to-day operations: 1. Make the Right Amount (Inventory Management) A good foodservice program uses predictive analytics to let store-level staff know when to make something and how many to make. It should also monitor the “health” of your prepared food, letting employees know when it’s time to throw something away or if an item is the right temperature. Waste management and inventory management work together to ensure you maintain balanced inventory levels and reduce excessive waste. In addition, a sophisticated inventory management tool will allow you to accurately track inventory for menu items that require multiple ingredients (such as hamburgers). Managing foodservice inventory is complicated both by the complexity of relationships inside the preparation process and by the simple challenge that most of it isn’t barcoded. By gaining visibility into demand, you can accurately forecast these items based on historical market-basket data from your customers. Ultimately, your goal should be to achieve the ease, simplicity, and visibility of merchandise inventory management in your foodservice program. 2. Time It Right and Increase Freshness (Production Planning) Making the right amount of food at the right times means you can serve up what people want—when they want it. That can increase your sales, and it also can reduce waste. It starts with knowing what you’re going to sell and when. Understanding the nature of specific food items and mapping tasks is essential to maintaining quality. If fresh is a brand attribute for your company, a sophisticated production planning application will help you live up to that promise. Smart production planning means you’ll never disappoint, and you’ll always delight, but it all depends on accurate forecasts. 3. Know What to Make and When (Job Scheduling) Knowing what to make and when to make it simplifies your job, but no one wants to manage a job calendar. When you use technology with intelligent scheduling based on business rules and food production criteria, it’s less work for you to ensure that production is spread throughout the day, providing the freshest products to your…

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