Restaurant Food Receiving Process

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson we will look at the critical steps in the restaurant food receiving process that ensure compliance with food safety standards, maintain food quality standards, and confirm the business is properly billed for its order.

Food Receiving

Meet Bob. He is the employee responsible for receiving the morning food delivery from his distributor. Receiving food may sound mundane, but it actually involves a number of important considerations for a restaurant. It's essential that the restaurant protect the safety of its customers by ensuring compliance with food safety standards. It's also important to be sure that the restaurant is receiving the exact items and quantities that it is paying the distributor for. Let's take a look at the food receiving process and identify a few practices that promote safety and profitability.


Before accepting delivery, Bob needs to make sure that the delivery receipt contains all of the items that were requested on the purchase order. The purchase order specifies the exact items the restaurant needs. Bob checks the items to make sure that the quantity, weight, and price of the items match on each document. This inspection should also include quality checks.

Once Bob has inspected the entire order he can sign for the delivery. At that point the product should be quickly moved to its designated storage space. Bob will then complete a receiving report, which provides documentation of the actual delivery along with any discrepancies that occurred.

If the restaurant was billed for more items than were received Bob will need to create a credit memo which lets the distributor know to make an adjustment to the account for billing purposes. Other situations that call for a credit memo include receiving the wrong item, being overcharged, or receiving damaged or unsafe products.

Product Quality and Food Safety

The quality checks mentioned earlier primarily relate to food safety. Items such as meat and dairy products have an especially narrow range of temperatures that allow them to be stored safely. Refrigerated foods must be kept below 41 degrees Fahrenheit and frozen foods below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Those receiving a food shipment should always confirm the temperature of the packaging (using a quality thermometer) before offloading the food. If the food is outside of the appropriate limits, one should not accept it. Temperatures should be annotated on the receipt or receiving report. Ideally, food is transferred from the truck into its final storage within 30 minutes.

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