Today we are going to go over one of the most important steps in bar inventory analysis for all bar and restaurant owners.
What’s a good number? I can’t begin to tell you how often I get the question. In our day-to-day operations, or out and about, at a convention, even at a party. When someone finds out what I do, they ask “What’s a good number for (blank)?” I also get inquiries from operators, owners, industry people and vendors. So here are some of my answers to the more commonly asked questions.
There are two kinds of bar managers in this world: those who encourage the free pour and those who are wholeheartedly against it. While each side of the argument certainly has some valid points, a lot of it might just come down to proper training. The free pour is a skill that needs to be practiced and perfected so that the drinks still taste great, customers are happy, and the bar is still turning a healthy profit.
Bar Practices: The Best and the Worst
A well run, profitable bar reflects a disciplined code of conduct. When you establish a clear set of rules and expectations, you set the scene for success. When you communicate your expectations both verbally and in writing, you’ll leave no room for doubt. You’re also able to create a benchmark for performance measurement, incentive programs, staff rewards or disciplinary action.
Even small expenses can add up over the course of a day as your bar or restaurant pours hundreds of drinks and serves countless meals. From putting fewer nuts and berries on salads to not salting pasta water to preserve the life of pots, some businesses are more than happy to cut corners if it means more profit. While sacrificing quality in the name of savings may be a short-term solution, you will have a lot more to worry about if customers stop coming to your establishment. Fortunately, there are some ways how top bars and restaurants cut costs while ensuring quality isn't impacted, that will not only preserve existing customers, but work to increase the number of patrons.
Introducing a new menu or running a new promotion can help reduce sitting inventory and increase sales, but how do you know just how successful your efforts have been? It is important to identify and use Key Performance Indicators to measure whether you are getting the most out of your time and money.
A great mixologist will bring plenty of creativity to their drinks, but they can make even more profitable cocktails by using a little bit of data to further inform their ingredient choices. While it may sound counterintuitive to argue that crunching numbers can be a tool for creativity, today's technology allows these two areas to blend seamlessly. Before you put together your next drink menu, here are some ways you can be more strategic about designing delicious drinks.
This blog is about the most important aspect of sales and inventory control.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of important steps and procedures a manager or owner must do and put in place to make sure his or her inventory and sales are correct and nothing is missing. And if I want to be literal, clearly locking the doors at nighttime is the most important step!
As a bar manager, your afternoons, evenings and early morning hours are spent trying to create a unique experience for patrons so that they become loyal customers and brand ambassadors. While this might sound like a glamorous gig to outsiders, you know that it also involves hard work, much of which can be downright monotonous. Inventory alone can be enough to make you reconsider your career choice. But what if you could streamline and simplify the worst parts of your job? In a world where cars can now drive themselves, there is no reason you should ever spend hours counting and measuring bottles by hand. If you are, it is time to hire an inventory control company and take back your free time.
When a company grows to a certain size, the way its employees are managed must also evolve. Many bar operators start out as the sole owner/operator of their business, and they often fill a labor role while they pursue opportunities to expand, open new venues, and create more value. This provides the owners with some level of assurance that things will be done a certain way because they are physically there overseeing operations. However, when a business starts expanding into different cities, success is less determined by the abilities of the owner and is more so about the abilities of the people hired. Despite the input from some management consultants who theorize about what makes good managers, bar management must be approached in a sometimes unconventional way due to the unique nature of a bar or nightclub environment.
Competition in the market has become fiercer than ever, so it is of upmost importance to operators that they ensure their customer service is of the highest quality. Delivering exceptional customer service is more than just making sure that food and drinks get out on time. Exceptional customer service is about going the extra mile and being ultra sensitive to guest needs. This becomes particularly challenging as your organization grows to include multiple venues, and it becomes nearly impossible for the owners to keep tabs on how their staffs are performing on a day-to-day basis with each guest.
Owning and managing a bar can blur the lines between night and day, making you feel like you live at work. From late nights closing the place to early mornings spent counting inventory and preparing for the evening ahead, long hours can begin to take their toll. The good news is that there are specific steps you can take to avoid the black hole of bar management that threatens to consume all your time. By working smarter, you can not only enjoy more freedom, but also focus your attention at work on the things that are most important to you.
Growing nightclubs and bars with complex product needs require managers with above-average skills in the areas of organization, communication and judgement. When a busy venue has multiple bookings, and each booking has special needs that must be met, a liquor manager who is tuned into the requirements of the business is absolutely vital. Keeping track of a busy venue’s liquor inventory requirements can be extremely challenging.
Two of the biggest challenges in the hospitality industry are the management of people and ensuring employees are doing the tasks they have been assigned with high-quality results. Bar and nightclub operations require a large amount of people, each with different personalities, backgrounds and work habits. It can be incredibly difficult to manage a large amount of people, particularly as a business is growing rapidly and recruiting new people.
One of the key principles of successful bar management is reducing shrinkage. Inventory sitting on the shelves represents money that has been invested as is now waiting to be turned into a profit. If some of that inventory goes missing, that means that the bar's profit margin has just taken a direct hit. Fortunately, there are some effective bar management strategies that you can put into practice in order to reduce shrinkage and maximize your inventory.
As a bar owner or manager, the key to turning a profit is turning over your inventory. While you need to have a certain amount of inventory on hand to make sure that you can serve customers their favorite drink and keep the spirits flowing, too much sitting inventory will cost you. There is no point in having all your assets tied up in inventory that has been sitting on your shelves for over a month. All those dusty bottles represent money that you could be investing back into your bar. Have you yet to master the balancing inventory costs? Welcome to Purchasing 101 for Your Bar.
Violence can absolutely destroy a bar or nightclub operation. When a bar is mentioned in the news due to a violent or deadly altercation, its demise is usually not far behind. Any time an atmosphere of fear is associated with a bar’s name, it becomes very difficult to attract quality guests and build a sustainable business. While it is impossible to eliminate all violence, it is entirely possible to minimize it by taking as many preventative steps as possible.
Employees can be a tremendous source for new customers, referrals and customer retention. However, not every employee invests their time into promoting the business they work for. What separates employees that simply show up to work, from those whom invest their time and energy into building relationships that ultimately result in more customers? The employees that bring down the most customers to their bar are motivated by more than money. They are fired up, proud and passionate about the bar they work at. This attitude does not happen by accident. Employees that have a positive attitude towards the bar they work at become that way as a result of the work environment the owners create. Keeping staff morale high is a strategy that is no different than a recipe for baking a cake.
Tough economic times have operators scrambling for ways to cut back on costs. With overall demand down and costs rising for some products like spirits and food, finding ways to reduce expenditures is no longer an option for operators, it’s a must. While good times always follow bad times, there is no way to tell how long economic dry spells will last. Weathering a financial storm always starts with a good, hard look at expenses, and then streamlining where possible.
Stocking a bar requires a delicate balance between having enough product on hand and not tying up resources in inventory that ends up sitting on the shelves collecting dust. The more bottles that sit unused, the less money you have to put back into the business. This is one of the main challenges that bars face when trying to become or remain profitable. In fact, there are 4 important facts about sitting inventory that you need to know in order to operate a successful bar business.
Ask ten different people in the hospitality industry what they think about bartender school, and you'll probably get ten different answers. It's no wonder there are so many opinions, given the variety in quality of instructors, content covered by the course, and placement assistance offered by schools. There are also differences in pricing (around fifty bucks online to five-hundred for a top shelf class) that means you may be looking at a pretty serious time and financial investment.