Chow Restaurant’s Tips on How to Manage Your Bar Inventory
Managing the bar inventory is a long, dreary and tedious task involving innumerable checks at the storeroom, manually sorting through stacks of bottles, coordinating with several of your team members and keeping abreast of the status. Even after putting in hours of effort and extremely hard work, it is still a struggle without the aid of a good inventory management system – be it software or the traditional pen and paper checklist. Chow Restaurant reveals tricks to an efficient inventory management system specifically for the bar, that have a universal application, will simplify time-consuming processes and help in reducing costly overheads. It may prove to be that crucial differentiating factor for your business going against some established and leading bars.
How to start accounting for inventory
Inventory management starts with looking at how much alcohol should be stocked so that there is sufficient available. The key is, therefore, in the count. The first step is to create a spread-sheet for the numbers to go in. It is wise to enter the count for each category of liquor separately and different sheets should be created especially for different alcohol categories like – beer, whisky and rum. Keep a note of where your alcohol is stacked apart from the store room. Is it shelved in the bar front? Do you have a lounge? Or perhaps a lobby? It is advised to maintain counts for each section on a separate sheet.
Changing counting method
It is interesting to note how a slight change in the counting method can drastically alter resulting counts. It is thus critical to establish a method for counting the alcohol, and this counting method or technique should stay consistent, to avoid confusion and possibilities of a recount. Create a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly periodic routine for this process and keep it unswerving. Pro tip – Taking a count of the inventory when the bar is closed reduces distractions. It is also important to keep an eye out for any spillages and bottle breakages. The easiest counting method for the used liquor is a visual one. Visually divide the bottle into ten parts and count the available content by the number of parts. Or take a look at where the line of the liquor falls, and estimate if the bottle is half full (50%), a third full (30%), or a tenth full (10%).
When the counting process is over, tally the number with all the invoices and orders of liquor from your different vendors. The inventory counts should be taken once at the beginning and another once at the end of the counting period. Any liquor that was received after the counting process should be accounted for separately as ‘Received Inventory’. Finally, the formula – ‘Starting Inventory + Received Inventory – Ending Inventory = Usage’ can be used to calculate the usage of alcohol for the said period.
This number serves as an important indicator. After a sufficient number of cycles, you will be able to gauge if the usage is over or under the expected limits. Which products sell well and which don’t. You will be able to calculate how well your bar is performing financially. And price products appropriately. Inventory management makes information related to every aspect of bar operation available at your fingertips. You are empowered to make informed decisions and build a successful business.