Receiving Procedures in the Restaurant


frozen meat in refrigerated storage Receiving food and supplies from your vendors requires more than simply taking boxes off a delivery truck. Restaurant owners and managers should have procedures in place for any employee who handles deliveries. Consider these suggestions for ways to manage deliveries and other receiving procedures in your restaurant.

Verify Quantity and Quality

Whenever a restaurant receives an order, the manager or responsible employee should “check in the order,” or verify that the correct amount of products were received as well as checking the quality of the incoming product. Follow these steps:

Verify the quantity. Be sure that every product you ordered is accounted for in the delivery. An easy way to do this is to compare your order guide to your invoice and manually check off all items as you look through the delivery. Be sure that product weights and counts are correct.

Ensure quality. Be sure the items are of good quality. All refrigerated or frozen items should arrive at the proper temperature, and products should show no signs or damage. However, for one reason or another, food products may arrive unusable. When product is received in poor condition, such as moldy or rotten, the manager should refuse the order if possible, and contact the vendor immediately to schedule another delivery.

Check the cost. Make sure the total cost on the invoice is correct. The money you spend on food orders and other supplies usually makes up a large part of your restaurant expenses, and recording the appropriate amount in your financial records is very important to your overall profits and losses. » Learn more

Keep Track of All Purchases

Keeping track of all purchase invoices will help you stay organized and aware of your spending. When you receive your order, record the total cost the order invoice on your restaurant profit and loss statement (P&L). You can easily log this data in most accounting software, or in a P&L spreadsheet on the back office computer. This will also help you calculate your inventory and usage, since you add the newly purchased goods to those you have on hand to determine your total available inventory. » Learn More

Date and Store Supplies

Once you have checked your food for quality and recorded the cost and inventory amount in your records, you are ready to put away your food and supplies. This should be done immediately to ensure that food remains at safe temperatures and to keep an organized kitchen. For perishable foods, this involves dating and appropriately storing the products on your restaurant storage and shelving units.

Maintain clean, safe storage areas. Store all incoming perishables at safe temperatures, and make sure all storage areas are clean, sanitary and free from trash or debris.

Properly rotate all food items. Store all incoming food items behind those that are already in your refrigeration or storage units. This process of rotating product is known as first-in, first-out (FIFO), and ensures that the older product is stored near the front so it gets used before the new product. Be sure you train all your employees in FIFO rotation to ensure the best food quality and storage procedures in the kitchen.

Label perishable foods. Most manufacturers will give you the appropriate shelf-life information for their food products. Shelf-life is the time the food can sit in the pantry, in the refrigerator or in the freezer before being prepared and used. Create a specific shelf-life chart that you can hang in your commercial kitchen to give your employees a quick and easy reference when labeling incoming product.

Example Shelf-Life Chart:

Your shelf-life chart will show the food item and the number of days that item can be stored in different areas of the kitchen. Depending on the food items you use, your chart may need to include the shelf-life for foods once they are opened, as well. This is often true for refrigerated liquids such as soups or juice concentrates. The example chart below shows the shelf-life for each food item in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. This chart only shows the “Meat, Poultry and Eggs” category of the shelf-life chart, but most restaurants need other categories such as “Bread and Baked Goods” and “Fruits and Vegetables.”

 Food Item  Pantry 
(70° F)
 (33 to 40° F) 
  (0° F)
Fresh ground beef,
turkey, veal, lamb
 1-2 days 3-4 months
 Fresh beef steak  3-5 days 6-12 months
 Fresh pork chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
 Fresh poultry, whole 1-2 days 12 months
 Fresh poultry, parts 1-2 days 9 months
 Giblets 1-2 days 3-4 months
 Canned meat 1 year 3-4 days once opened
 Bacon 7 days 1 month

Important Documents:US Food and Drug Administration


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