Foodservice Physical Inventory:
Adjusting for Holidays at the Hospital

Foodservice Physical Inventory: Adjusting for Holidays at the Hospital

In households across the world, traditional recipes are often integral to holiday celebrations. However, eating at home may not be an option for many hospitalized patients, their loved ones, and the staff who care for them. Food and Nutrition Services can make the hospital feel a little more familiar by offering special menu items, and the first step is adjusting foodservice physical inventory.

Foodservice physical inventory includes the on-hand amounts of each item in stock and sets the foundation for production. After all, menus are comprised of recipes, which in turn depend on the correct supply of ingredients. Below, we’ve compiled some top tips to keep your foodservice operation shipshape.

Vector graphic of a foodservice physical inventory team

9 Tips to Maximize Foodservice Physical Inventory


Scaling for Success

Develop menu scaled recipes to determine the quantities of items and ingredients you’ll need. With the power of technology, all you have to do is adjust the number of servings to increase (multiply) or decrease (divide) production requirements.

’Tis the Season

Holiday dishes are likely to have unique ingredients not typically kept in stock (e.g., produce like pumpkins). Furthermore, seasonal items tend to sell out more quickly during the holidays due to higher demand, and vendors may increase costs to match. Avoid supply chain challenges by planning and submitting orders ahead of time.



Compensate for Fluctuating Staff

Automation is extra beneficial when staff is out on vacation, which puts more pressure on those working. By utilizing software solutions, foodservice operators eliminate manual work and reduce the possibility of human error.

Festive Forecasting

When it comes to prepared foods, forecasting is critical. Instead of relying on guesswork, consider using an inventory automation system to log historical headcounts for future forecasting. Accurate data shows which menu items are performing well and which require attention.



Waste Not, Want Not

Along with forecasting, monitoring foodservice physical inventory helps show which ingredients are going unused and which are more popular. Adjusting par levels accordingly can cut costs and boost sales. Data maintenance also highlights discrepancies, which may reveal damage, spoilage, or even theft.

Get Creative

If stock runs out, don’t be afraid to experiment a little! Just maintain the holiday spirit and always be mindful of allergies and restrictions.



Don’t Leave Guests Guessing

Especially during the holidays, hospitalized patients are bound to receive visits from their loved ones. Guest trays simplify meals for visitors, boost satisfaction, and generate additional revenue.

Reign Over Retail

Retail areas like cafés and cafeterias present convenient options to visitors and staff alike. Even if it’s just a snack or beverage purchase, every dollar counts. Keeping crowd-pleasers in stock is crucial to maintaining happy customers and maximizing profits. Enticing labels will also attract and educate patrons; think “slow roasted turkey breast” instead of plain “turkey.”



Secret Ingredients

Fresh foods taste different from frozen or canned ones. Local and organic ingredients can elevate dishes even further with the bonus of supporting farmers and small businesses.

Overall, foodservice operators can’t go wrong by bringing some of the comforts of home to the hospital. The secret to holiday magic is careful planning: develop mouthwatering menus, take inventory, order responsibly, and track performance. You’re sure to keep your patrons coming back for seconds!

Need a helping hand? We’re here for you! Contact us at to learn more about boosting foodservice physical inventory management.