Inventory Scanner Fast & Fun Facts For Restaurant Staff


Lauren Christiansen10/20/2021

What is an Inventory Scanner?

Gone are the days of counting and recounting inventory by hand. Nowadays, businesses rely on inventory scanners to keep tabs on their stock and make buying decisions. But, what is an inventory scanner, and why do businesses use them. A scanner is a type of data capture device typically used in a retail or grocery store to read and transmit data encoded on a product label.


What are Inventory Scanners?

Have you ever wondered how small businesses can tell whether they have too much or too little stock in-store? They're likely using inventory scanners. An inventory scanner is a device that can detect, read, and analyze barcodes. It's an electronic device that tells you how much of a certain product you have on hand. This is a crucial piece of technology for any retailer.

Increasingly, restaurants also use barcode scanners to optimize inventory management and keep tabs on ingredients. Inventory management software reads the data that is embedded within a barcode. A POS system or point sale software tracks all inventory data, depending on the functionality of the provider. This makes it much easier to scan items whether in the fridge, the freezer or on the countertop.


Restaurants use barcode scanners because they are cheap, they eliminate human error, and they generate better data insights. Owners can use barcode scanners to gain greater visibility into restaurant processes and inventory management. It also minimizes theft and fraud, which are serious problems that cut into profit margins.

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How Inventory Scanners Work

Inventory scanners are automated devices that are used to count and measure the inventory of a particular store. These devices are programmed to scan barcodes and detect the amount of stock that is present. The information is then transmitted to a computer or other device that will process the data. While the scanner may vary depending on who manufactured it, the steps are essentially the same. These include-

  • Set Up Scanner- Old systems use lasers, which scan the barcode and return data. Newer models read QR codes and barcodes. Handheld cordless scanners can integrate with smartphones and handheld devices.
  • How You Scan- Decide how you plan to use the barcode scanner and inventory software. Are you going to scan all inventory at once, or scan as you move one item to another location? The former option will minimize errors and prevent workflow disruptions. If you do it at one time, you may forget where they go or what they are used for.
  • Using the Scanner- Once you decide how you want to use the barcode inventory system, you can start to use it. Essentially, the scanner is a computerized system that reads the code on the bar. The data is immediately sent to the inventory management system, which is typically integrated with a POS.
  • What the Scanner Does- A scanner either helps an employee locate an item or eliminate certain items from the total in-house stock. Business owners can use the data collected from the scanner to pinpoint bottlenecks and eliminate inventory-related problems.

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Why Use Inventory Scanners?

The business world is rapidly changing, and inventory scanners are an important part of that change. In the past, the only way a store could track its inventory was by manually checking stock and counting products. This was a time-consuming and inaccurate process. Inventory scanners have transformed this process and eliminated a lot of the problems that went along with it.

Not all restaurants will need to use a barcode scanner for Inventory Planning, depending on their size and type. Barcode scanners are typically only used in the back of the house to maintain accurate stock levels. Employees need to know how to use one properly to track all inventory and ensure it is accurate in the system. Otherwise, any keyed-in customer orders will not align with what's in stock, and numbers will be inaccurate. This could lead to shortages, food waste, and profit loss.

If restaurants sell items at the point of sale, they may use barcode scanners as well. This includes any sodas, candy, or packaged bakery items. Lately, restaurants have been using QR code menus so customers can access menus on their mobile devices.

QR codes are not the same as barcode scanners for inventory. But restaurants can use them on certain items as a replacement for barcodes. The benefit is that QR codes can hold a lot more information than barcodes. Barcodes also require certain scanners to read them. QR codes can be read through mobile devices.

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Who Uses Inventory Scanners?

Who uses an inventory scanner? Scanning your inventory is a common practice in several types of businesses. In fact, in some industries, it's a requirement. And it's a necessary skill for many people in the business world. Here are some of the top industries that use inventory scanners-

  • Retail- We've all seen barcode scanners in retail shops. Employees use them to manage inventory and scan customer items.
  • Healthcare- The healthcare industry uses scanners to manage relationships among manufacturers, wholesalers, and group purchasing companies. They help thousands of healthcare-related industries save a lot of money and streamline the supply chain.
  • Transportation- Suppliers have to know when shipments arrive, as do wholesalers. It allows multiple people across the supply chain to see where an item is at any given time.
  • Food- There must be communication between supply chain members and merchants. Food service establishments use barcode scanners for to track inventory the status of distribution. They are also used in individual restaurants to maintain an accurate inventory count and make better business decisions.

How to Use an Inventory Scanner

Do you want to know how to use an inventory scanner? Inventory scanning is the process of counting items in an inventory by scanning them one at a time. An inventory scanner is a hand-held device with a built-in barcode scanner that counts items as they are scanned. The scanner is used to count inventory with a scanner that is barcode-enabled. It's a fairly straightforward process that helps millions of restaurants save thousands each year on Inventory Management costs and eliminate countless errors. It also helps organize stock levels in the back of the house and ensures employees can effectively perform their jobs.

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Inventory Scanner Benefits

Thanks to barcode scanning technology, most of us are now able to complete most of our shopping lists in a fraction of the time it would have taken us just a few decades ago. And barcode scanning does more than just save us time. It's also increased efficiency, increased inventory control, reduced loss, and reduced shrinkage.
They are easy to implement and use. All they require is a very simple driver and some minor coding that most can figure out on their own. It's also easy to train employees on how to use them. Even customers can figure out how to scan their groceries at the self-checkout aisle!

A wireless barcode scanner is great because inventory managers can carry them around anywhere. This allows for easy back-of-the-house inventory management. Because it is a computerized system, there's a lot less potential for human error. Everything is scanned instead of manually counted.

This ensures customers receive the items they want and restaurants don't lose out on any money. It's also much less time-consuming to use a barcode scanner. This improves employee morale and makes it easier for everyone to perform their jobs. Additionally, managers benefit from the real-time updates and accurate reports that help them streamline Food Management and ensure Food Safety.

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Inventory Scanner Drawbacks

There aren't a lot of downsides to barcode scanners as they tend to optimize efficiency and eliminate errors. One potential downside is that barcode scanners have no read/write abilities as of now. They cannot know the expiration date or other pertinent information that may help improve customer service and inventory management.

While they are less time-consuming to use than manual processes, employees still need to scan each item individually. This can be a lot of work, depending on how many items there are and where they are stored. New technologies like QR codes and robotics may be better for warehouses and other manufacturers who have high volume inventory levels. But for restaurant owners, a regular inventory scanner will suffice.

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