What liquor inventory management software are you using to manage your bar?
The days are long gone when you can just take a pencil, a pad of paper and use a calculator to determine how much you have on hand and if you are missing any inventory or sales.
There’s a saying. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. So, yes, you can still count with a pencil and a simplified spreadsheet, but if you know anything about the correct way to track and manager your liquor, beer and wine inventory, that just won’t cut it!
You need to compare actual usage to ideal / theoretical usage. In a manner similar to your State government when they would conduct a sales tax audit of your establishment.
When I started this business 22 years ago, there were basically no other options for bar inventory software, just Bevinco and Accardis.
But today, there are lots of options!
Let’s start with the counting tools.
There are essentially two steps.
1. The first step is to count. Most bars do this in some manner.
Some count monthly and some count weekly. Some count their entire inventory and some just count their stockroom for ordering.
2. The second step is to analyze/compare the numbers. Most people still don’t do this.
Today we are focusing on the critical second step.
To effectively analyze the numbers, you will need tools to count the inventory and a software program to do the analysis. (Unless you want to input numbers manually and crunch them for about 12 hours a week)
How should you measure what’s used in the open containers?
You could shake the kegs and tenth the bottles using the eyeballing method but the true accuracy is obtained by weighing the open containers.
So you will need electronic scales for your liquor bottles, partial wine bottles and open kegs
You can also get flow meters to measure the use of draft beer.
There are also meters for liquor bottles. In most instances the liquor meters won’t provide you information on what quantity is on hand, just what is used, assuming they function as advertised.
To count full bottles and kegs, you could use the notepad and pencil or you can move to a device that scans the UPC code on the container.
Scanning is the much more desired way to go.
The hand held bar code scanning devices are faster and more accurate. These are usually used in better systems because scanning makes less mistakes and is much faster.
Now, the next step.
What system to get?
Sculpture Hospitality has several options.
With the Bevinco Bar Inventory service, inventory auditors perform onsite audits on a weekly basis. Using the Bevinco team, liquor losses are typically managed to under 3% of inventory usage.
With Bevinco Choice, you can count with the same tools Bevinco uses and the Bevinco audit team can remotely process the paperwork, or you can do everything yourself.
Sculpture also has a bar inventory app for bar managers called Bevinco Mobile. This is a device where you can count and either tenth or weigh the bottles.
There are other companies as well; Accubar, Par Tender, Accardis, Compeat, Berg, Scannabar, Easybar, Azbar and others.
Before you commit to a liquor inventory control system, especially one you would purchase or use in-house, make sure you check out ALL the features and benefits of the system and its process.
Also consider the training and support you will or won’t receive and how much it will cost. You do get what you pay for.
Some features you might not think about:
- How does the system track batches and premixed shots?
- Is the variance report brand specific?
- Does it use a scale to measure open containers? Scales are critical for capturing accurate open container levels.
- Will it work with your cash register system or POS system the way it’s already programmed?
- If not, what would you have to change?
- How do the reports look? How is the inventory organized in the report?
- Is it easy to understand and see the losses and understand what the report means?
- Do you get measurable results using the system, not just simply knowing what’s on hand and what costs are missing.
- Will the company work with you to get results, if needed?
- Does the reporting provide missing inventory in terms of dollars, quantities and percentages? This is important as it helps you understand and relate to the losses better and it helps the staff understand as well.
- How easy is it to add new brands and change inventory costs?
- Does it have an inventory order feature that provides PARS that change as inventory use changes?
- Can that report be sorted by the vendor selling you the inventory?
- How will you track Six Packs sold and draft beer? You can’t just tenth a keg. Average keg losses for a bar without an inventory system is 16%.
- Does the company offer onsite setup and consultation?
That’s it for now. Contact me if you have any questions!