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Meat Shop Inventory System: 4 Tips & 4 Tools

Wasted meat and missed sales.

These are familiar problems for meat shop owners without proper meat inventory management.

It’s Saturday morning, and your customers are shopping for their Sunday dinner. The whole family is gathering, and they want a prime cut of lamb. You weren’t expecting the rush, even though many of your customers buy lamb on Saturdays. Why?

Because you haven’t been looking at inventory reports — you don’t even know where to look! Your customers leave disappointed.

This is all avoidable with a meat shop inventory system designed to make sure you’re always fully stocked with the products your customers love. This article highlights how to make the most of an inventory system and who the top providers are.

How a Meat Shop Inventory System Improves Your Store

Managing your meat shop inventory manually is a recipe for frustration and lost profits. The process is prone to human error — mistakes happen — that lead to inaccurate stock levels and missed orders.

This is frustrating for any retail establishment but even worse for business owners who work with perishable food. Meat is expensive, and letting it go to waste due to poor inventory management eats away at your bottom line.

A dedicated meat shop inventory system tackles these issues head-on. With a few clicks, you’ll get real-time insights into what’s in stock and an overall picture of your inventory. But there’s an even better way: integrated inventory management within your point of sale (POS) system

The right POS system updates inventory as you make sales. Several POS systems cater to meat shops and offer robust inventory management features. We’ll highlight those later. Let’s explore how a meat shop inventory system can help you manage your stock.

4 Best Tips for Meat Shop Inventory Management

These tips will help manage your meat inventory, ensuring you never run out of popular products.

Tip #1: Implement a Dedicated Inventory Management System

Ditching the pen, paper, and spreadsheets for an inventory management system will give you your time back and make it easier to manage your shop. Here’s how:

  • Real-time tracking: With live insights into your inventory, you can make better decisions — no more guesswork. Say a customer buys two pounds of ground beef. The inventory software automatically subtracts that weight from your existing stock, ensuring your records are always current.
  • Integrated purchase orders: Some POS systems integrate with your vendors, allowing you to set up orders based on predefined minimum stock levels. Simply create your purchase order, select the vendor, and fill everything that's low.
  • Reduced shrinkage: Meat shop POS systems can help reduce shrinkage that stems from theft, spoilage, or errors. With accurate data and modern counting methods using tools like barcode scanners, you can limit errors and miscounts, and identify potential shrinkage issues.

A meat shop inventory management gives you the insights you need to manage your stock effectively.

Tip #2: Track Inventory by Weight and Cuts

Each piece or slab of meat has a different weight, which is why accurate weighing scales are so important. 

Tracking inventory by weight and cuts is crucial for accurate stock control. You want to be able to track the exact weight of each cut and manage tare weight to account for the weight of containers.

Related Read: How To Calculate Price by Weight (+ 5 Tools for Weighted Inventory)

Variable weight management is a feature to look for. You might get a primal cut of meat that you break down into various retail cuts. With the right software, you can track the starting weight of a primal cut and then allocate weights to each retail cut as it's butchered.

Knowing precise weights helps you avoid overbuying. You can tailor orders to the pound, minimizing the risk of spoilage and wasted money. It also ensures accurate pricing. 

Pro tip: As you weigh items, they should sync with your POS so they’re easy to track. You should also be able to print custom barcode labels using a meat scale and printer for a faster checkout experience.

Tip #3: Use the First In, First Out (FIFO) Method

Compliance with food safety regulations is non-negotiable. You need to protect your customers and your reputation. Using FIFO ensures your oldest stock gets sold first, making it ideal for perishable products like meat.

Related Read: Grocery Store Inventory Management Basics: 7 Tools and Techniques

Inventory management software should let you:

  • Track the purchase date of each item.
  • Integrate with your scale so you can clearly label your meats with a package, sell-by, or use-by date.
  • Trigger alerts when FIFO-based stock levels reach minimums so you can reorder fresh meat.

FIFO helps prioritize food safety, minimize spoilage, and show customers they can trust how fresh your products are.

Pro tip: Barcode scanners allow you to quickly and accurately scan barcodes, enabling you to track inventory from the moment you receive products to the moment your customers buy them.

Tip #4: Do Regular Inventory Audits

Although inventory software is a great tool, it can’t completely replace physical inventory checks. For best results, use physical counts in tandem with your software.

Performing regular physical inventory checks — say, monthly or quarterly — lets you reconcile your digital inventory with the actual stock on hand. You can identify discrepancies and take action to ensure that what’s in your system is correct.

Related Read: Inventory Reconciliation 101: How To Reconcile Inventory in 5 Steps

You don’t need to close your shop to do these physical checks. Use the cycle counting method to regularly count a specific portion of your stock. Each section gets its own cadence, limiting disruption to your daily operations.

Best Tools for Meat Shop Inventory Management

Before choosing your inventory system, consider the following:

  • The size of your meat shop: Smaller shops might benefit from a user-friendly system with basic features, while a larger shop might need a more robust system with advanced functionalities.
  • Your budget: Inventory systems come in various price ranges. Assess your budget and needs before deciding. Schedule demos with providers so you can see the software before committing.
  • Integrations: You want inventory software that integrates with meat scales, barcode scanners, and, most importantly, your POS system.

Related Read: 6 Top Options for a Meat Market POS System (Features + Pricing)

Top Tools for Meat Shop Inventory Management

The following POS providers can help manage your inventory and overall operations.

  • Markt POS: Built for meat shops, Markt POS supports deli scale integrations for random-weight products, tracks expiration dates, and manages various cuts and types of meat. We offer customized pricing plans to fit your needs.
  • Brilliant POS: Designed for smaller operations, Brilliant POS is more suited to restaurants but still provides the features to help run your meat shop. Its simplified inventory features include low stock alerts, automated reorder entries, and vendor management from one interface.
  • POS Nation: Catering to specialty markets and grocers, POS Nation offers a solution that integrates hardware, software, training, and support. One great feature is hotkeys with photos, letting you search your inventory without needing to type PLUs manually. The unlimited product library makes it easy to test seasonal offerings and new products.
  • IT Retail: An all-in-one solution tailored to butcher shops, meat markets, and specialty food stores, IT Retail streamlines inventory management and has a customizable touchscreen. It operates offline to ensure uninterrupted functionality so you never miss a sale.

Once you’ve considered your needs and budget, schedule demos with providers so you can see the software before committing.

Invest in a Meat Shop Inventory System

Managing inventory the old way — with pen, paper, and spreadsheets — no longer cuts it. Even generic POS systems aren’t up to the task. You're leaving money on the table without a dedicated meat shop inventory system that integrates with your POS system.

A proper inventory system can make a huge difference to your store, from real-time tracking to minimized waste and easy reordering.

Markt POS provides a dedicated meat shop POS system that ticks all the boxes. We built our system to provide meat shop owners with a complete tool that manages inventory, speeds up checkout, is easy to use, and integrates with your hardware.

It’s best to see Markt POS in action; talking about it doesn’t do it justice. Schedule a demo with our meat shop experts today.

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