How to Fine-Tune Your Restaurant’s Receiving Process

Capture_d’écran_2013-06-13_à_10.41.21The following is an excerpt from our free ebook, Improve Your Restaurant’s Ordering Practices.

This post is pulled from the section aimed at improving your restaurant’s receiving process. 

An improved receiving process will go a long way towards your restaurant controlling its food costs. Poor receiving habits could be costing you more than you realize. It’s time to cut out the excuses (e.g. not enough time) and really tighten up your restaurant’s receiving process.

The next time you receive an order keep the below best practices in mind.

No Receiving During Peak Times

We’ll start with the most obvious tip; not accepting deliveries during lunch and dinner rushes. If you cater to the breakfast crowd, let your suppliers know that early morning may not be an ideal time to receive orders either.

Some restaurants even post a sign on the back door reminding drivers that deliveries are not to be received during those peak restaurant operating periods.

Carefully Choose Your Receivers

If possible, it’s recommended that someone other than the person in charge of ordering be tasked with receiving. This helps keep everyone honest.

Restaurant Report says the two worst staff members to make responsible for receiving orders are your chef, and your manager:

Although the chef or manager may be the most knowledgeable about what was ordered, they are also the two individuals with the least amount of time to devote to the process. There are far too many interruptions for them to do an accurate receiving job.

Since the receiving function is largely clerical in nature, it is a misallocation of human resource to have managers perform clerical functions.

Consider selecting another one of your other senior staffers to look after receiving.

Do Your Part to Make it Easy

You’ve set your preferred delivery times, so there’s no good excuse for not being ready when deliveries arrive.

Provide adequate space for receiving orders. Don’t be stuck running around at the last minute trying to clean up the back door area, walk-ins, or stock rooms. And make certain that you’ve got all the necessary equipment ready to roll. That means dollies, hand carts, and anything else you use to get things from point A to point B.

Whomever you’ve chosen to receive needs to be ready with receipts, knowing exactly what to expect and from which supplier(s).

Remember, your suppliers are in this to make money too. Do your part to ensure the receiving process goes quickly so both of you can move on to the next order of business.

Guarding Against Theft

It’s never fun to discuss, but theft can and does occur. To help protect your establishment against this potential problem a few things need to be incorporated into the receiving process.

  • Ensure the same staff member(s) are consistently in charge of receiving orders. This makes people accountable.
  • When received products are moved to storage areas, it’s typically advised to have that done by your staff, and not delivery drivers.
  • If you use security cameras, be sure you have one for your delivery area, as well as your main storage areas. Liquor in particular needs to be under surveillance.

Inspecting the Goods

Count the received items to be sure that all quantities are in line with your order. Have your receiving employee(s) count up received items before looking at your order sheets. Knowing what should be there beforehand could bias their counting.

As well, be sure to inspect your orders for quality. If quality is unacceptable either straight up reject the items or negotiate a lower price point. If bottles are broken or if packages are ripped open, it will be much harder for suppliers to sell those cases elsewhere; offer to take that stock off their hands at a nice reduced price.

If frozen meats and/or fish arrive already thawed, you accept those items at your own risk and could be creating a food safety problem. To that end, be sure that these frozen items are always the first things to be stored.

For a more complete look at improving your restaurant’s ordering game, download our free ebook by clicking the image below.                         


NOTE: This post originally appeared on’s Restaurant Strategy Blog.


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