So it's Sunday morning, I have a cup of coffee at the ready… nice quiet, peaceful, sunny Sunday morning (you can tell we don't have kids).
Last Sunday, my wife and I went to a local restaurant that had been advertising their weekend brunch menu. As we were seated, we were handed the regular normal menu.
I asked, “Do you have the brunch menu?”
The waitress replied, “You know, we've had a lot of people asking. We quit doing the brunch last week. It just wasn't that popular… and besides, we were throwing out too many eggs.” We politely excused ourselves and went across the parking lot to the gourmet grocery store that has a cafe that serves brunch.
Now lack of demand is one thing. If they didn't have enough customers, I can understand. Maybe people don't want breakfast at a pizza place (though brick oven fritatta sounded good to us. Maybe they gave up too soon… word hadn't spread yet or maybe their marketing wasn't effective enough. But, still, I could understand.
But throwing out too many eggs?? That's an inventory management problem. They could have scaled back the number of eggs they kept on hand. Worst case, if they were running low, they had the gourmet grocery store right across the parking lot as a backup (albeit, maybe more expensive) supplier. The map below shows the distance from the red (pizza) to blue (grocery).
Is basic inventory management at all part of a chef's curriculum or books about how to run a restaurant? It's not that complicated. But, if you ever watch Chef Gordon Ramsay's “Kitchen Nightmares”, you see first hand how bad some of these restaurants are at inventory management (namely, ordering too much and having stuff rot).
I wonder if any restaurants ever have a simple “kanban” system in place to manage food inventory and supplies? Has anyone ever seen such a thing in use?
Maybe in a future post we can design a sample kanban system for a situation like this, going through the math and the process for how this would work. Is there any interest in that? Or, if there's a volunteer who wants to do that in the comments space here, go right ahead!
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