How Do You Use the FIFO Method To Restock Food? 09 Convenient Ways

By Rajib Hasan -- Saturday, 09 Dec, 2023
how do you use fifo method to restock food

FIFO stands for First In First Out. It is a crucial method in the culinary industry. If you would like to prove yourself as a professional chef, best restaurant staff, or top of the restaurant management. You must have a better idea about the FIFO method. But how do you use the FIFO method to restock food? So, in this section, we will talk about in detail stock culinary goods, FIFO inventory software, FIFO stock rotation procedure, FIFO food safety, and many more things. Let’s start a smart journey to get a better idea about LIFO and FIFO.

What Does FIFO Stand For In Food Safety?

You already know that First In First Out is abbreviated as FIFO. Suppose you kept some food in your inventory yesterday but you have the same ingredients for 7 days long. In that case, if you come out first with old ingredients that you kept 7 days ago. It is called the FIFO method. 

That means you are using First-in-First-Out ingredients. However, you will be glad to hear that this method is not applicable to all types of food or ingredients. Sometimes you must adhere to the LIFO method. So, let’s see what the LIFO method is. This method is also applicable for food serving businesses.

What is the LIFO Method?

LIFO stands for Last-In-First-Out. The LIFO method is a crucial and critical method for the culinary and hospitality industry. Those products or ingredients come in last and you are using them first which is called LIFO. Alright, let’s make it clear once again with an example. 

Suppose you have stored some perishable products (cheese, meat, dairy products, etc.). Somehow, you have never used them before, and they may spoil. In that case, if you bring them out to use them which is called the LIFO method. This method is done for perishable ingredients.

What Is FIFO In Cooking?

Before making ingredients standardization, you must know about LIFO and FIFO. The FIFO method is a rotating stock so that the oldest items can be used first. This method is commonly used in various industries, such as hotels, restaurants, or any other food-serving industries. In most cases, restaurant chefs or co-chef strictly follow the FIFO method to manage their culinary experience.

The chef or co-chef knows well about inventory and they decorate them to use first. They are also familiar with and manage the Last in First Out process. These FIFO and LIFO methods can be used for home-based catering businesses. Because these methods always follow a good routine for ingredients' expiry date and quality.

How Do You Use The FIFO Method To Restock Food?

The FIFO method is a good way to restock food conveniently. However, there are many things to discuss about the FIFO method, such as how do you use the FIFO method to restock food. So, let’s explain the FIFO method of stock rotation and the setup process of your restaurant's FIFO system.

1. Make Sure Sufficient Storage Area

Make Sure Sufficient Storage Area

A sufficient storage area will help you to implement the FIFO method in the right way. It does not matter how big or small an establishment is. But ensure there is sufficient space, right movement, or rotation of the stored ingredients. 

Keep storage ingredients group-wise, maintain the category, and keep them separate from other products. In that case, use racks or different refrigerators or freezers for perishable products. So that it can be easier to count and bring them out whenever needed. It is noted that it will be easier to find the expiry date of the products.    

2. Oldest Inventory is Used First

Oldest Inventory is Used First

FIFO is the easiest and only way to manage a restaurant store. Following the FIFO strategy older ingredients can be used first. In that case, ingredient quality is maintained. Most restaurant chefs or restaurant managers do that as a continuous process. 

Bringing first ingredients first to maintain freshness and make sure the ingredients are hygienic and contain standard food quality. But some perishable ingredients can be used last in the first steps. To make sure of the things you should count and monitor inventory.      

3. Follow Use-by Dates

Follow Use-by Dates restorapos

Never serve date-expiry food or ingredients to the people. Indeed, a restaurant must have huge ingredients. Most of them are used by date and few of them are not used. Sometimes they expire. In that case, regular inspection is highly needed.

Continue inspection will let you know about the date of the ingredients. However, to avoid these unexpected things, the FIFO method is mostly necessary. How many ingredients do you have in your inventory list? If you apply the First-In-First-Out method, you must have less chance to expire the date. So, you should follow the FIFO method to avoid food waste.    

4. Store the Same Food Together

Store the Same Food Together

Storing the same food together is a tricky thing. By following the same food storing together strategy, food placement will be easier. If you keep them in the same rack according to the inventory list. It will be a formal way to identify and inspect the food expiry date. 

This process follows the FIFO standard method. Most restaurants follow this way. On the other hand, the FIFO method does not apply to all types of foods. FIFO is not a standard method for perishable foods or ingredients. Sometimes you must apply the LIFO method.

5. Arrange Older Food in Front

Arrange Older Food in Front

Arranging older food in front of the rack or near your hand. So, first, keep in the rack and first out from the rack. If you do that on a continuous basis then you don’t have to worry about the expiry date. Remember one thing, perishable foods should be securely stored. 

Keep them in one category and the front line of the rack. It is noted that older food in the front line gives you the privilege, such as it can be found on a first trip and used more efficiently. So, organized food following FIFO and LIFO methods to maintain food quality standards.    

6. Maintain FIFO


FIFO and LIFO both are an inventory management method. The FIFO system clarifies that the oldest inventory items are used first to avoid spoilage. Maintaining FIFO in a restaurant plays a crucial part in food quality, safety, and standard inventory management. There are some easiest ways to implement the FIFO method in a restaurant, such as

  • Perfectly organize food storage areas.
  • Make them properly labeled to identify easily.
  • You should follow the First In First out stock rotation policy.
  • Check or inspect regular inventory and confirm the food quality and expiry date.
  • Continue communicating with suppliers to make sure that they follow the FIFO and LIFO methods adequately.  

7. Labels the Rack

Labels the Rack

Before labeling the rack, restaurant staff should know what does FIFO refer to food. The FIFO refers to first-in-first-out food. It means they should label the product in the first step and bring it out first. However, labeling is a standard method to identify products. 

Use an identification sign in your rack or food storage places. Systematically keep the ingredients in different racks or cold storage by following FIFO and LIFO methods. So, that it can be identified easily. Those are perishable products. Keep them in an area to find them easily and use them according to LIFO and FIFO.

8. Trained Restaurant Staff

A well-managed inventory system requires better teamwork. Restaurant staff should know about inventory management and be introduced to the ingredients placement areas. In that case, sometimes they need to be trained to become familiar with that. Restaurant staff should have an idea about FIFO and LIFO. So, they become conscious of the FIFO method, inventory rotation, and product expiry date.   

9. Manage and Maintain Food Safety 

Manage and Maintain Food Safety 

Maintaining food safety is a standard that you are adhering to the government food safety rules. There are different ways to maintain food safety and standards. Restaurant popularity involves food safety and quality. 

Meal safety management provides full control of adverse consumer health effects. By following the FIFO and LIFO methods, a restaurant manager or owner can perfectly follow that. It is noted that restaurants must have food serving licenses though they are following FIFO methods.

Benefits of the First In First Out Method

The First In First Out method is an inventory management system where the oldest inventory items are used first. This method ensures all the restaurant ingredients or goods are used in the order they are received. There are some essential and unique privileges of using the FIFO method.

  • FIFO minimizes the risk of inventory obsolescence.
  • For perishable FIFO provides a more accurate reflection of costs.
  • Using FIFO for inventory management can have tax advantages.
  • Older inventory items may have been purchased at lower prices and that can be beneficial in certain tax environments.
  • By using the oldest stock first, FIFO helps in maintaining a more consistent and smoother inventory.
  • Following the FIFO can facilitate compliance with international accounting standards, which is important for businesses operating globally.
  • FIFO is relatively simple to implement compared to other inventory valuation methods like LIFO (Last In, First Out).
  • FIFO can contribute to better relationships with suppliers, as it encourages timely use of received inventory.
  • FIFO is more transparent which is particularly valuable for stakeholders, including investors and creditors.

FIFO Checklist Process

FIFO Checklist Process

First in first out is a crucial process in restaurants to manage food safety and food quality. The FIFO checklist shows that all the products or ingredients are perfectly used before the date of expiration. This process helps the staff to remember the stock rotation first in first out

To follow the FIFO method you should apply a tricky solution which is called the FIFO checklist. This process will alert the restaurant staff when using the FIFO method correctly. So, let’s follow this FIFO checklist standard method.

  • Display a FIFO checklist near areas with high stock rotation.
  • Display them in such a place where restaurant staff see them all the time.
  • Keep the products first to use by date.
  • Remove expiry-date products from your running product list.
  • Keep the new arrival items that have a short date to expire at the front rack.   
  • Keep new items behind old product items and put the latest date at the back.
  • Use the product or ingredients that you kept on the front side.

Where Can I Apply the FIFO and LIFO Method?

There are many areas where you can apply FIFO and LIFO methods. These can be applied to the food-serving industries. However, I have given here some lists of where you can apply these two methods. So, take a look and apply these standard methods.

Comparison of LIFO and FIFO

LIFO and FIFO both are important for culinary and hospitality management systems. To perform better you must follow the LIFO and FIFO method. LIFO and FIFO follow almost vice-versa direction. Indeed, there are no more differences between them.

  • First-In-First-Out refers to firstly stored products that will be firstly used.
  • Whereas Last-In-First-Out refers to the last-in-first-out products.
  • The FIFO method assumes the inventory's oldest units.
  • LIFO methods assume inventory of the newest products.
  • FIFO is a general choice for all the food-serving industries.
  • The LIFO method is applied for some specific products (perishable), and this system is not applicable for older inventory settings.  

Final Thought

First In First Out is a standard method to smoothly maintain a restaurant. All the restaurants should follow this standard. In that case, a question arises ‘’how do you use the FIFO method to restock food’’. I have given a smart solution of how to use the FIFO method to restock food, the FIFO checklist, and many more. 

Hopefully that will be very helpful to follow the FIFO method. You will be glad to hear that, I have also discussed the LIFO method. Because if you want to follow the FIFO method then the LIFO method will automatically come in context. So, everything is good to go and wish for the best journey to follow the FIFO and LIFO method.