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.
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.
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.
A wise bar operator once told me, “any schmuck can put together a liquor order, but a smart bar manager knows the fine line of ordering enough so they never run out of anything, but never unnecessarily purchase too much inventory and have money tied up in stock that does not sell.”
When I was given this advice, I was managing a bar with approximately $150 to $200K in liquor, draft and bottled beer sales a week. My weekly liquor order would vary from $30 – $50K a week depending on what was going on. It was one of the biggest expenses of the bar. The raw size of the liquor order made it a huge concern for the owners, who wanted to make sure it was done right every week. Every week was challenge to find a balance between making sure stock was always where it needed to be so we never ran out of anything, but also not to over spend. Over spending could have meant thousands of dollars tied up in inventory that the business could have used elsewhere.