bar inventory

Expert Bar Inventory Management: Why is it so Important?

2011 was the year that I became obsessed with bar inventory. Yep, you read that right. My fingers didn’t slip on the keyboard. I didn’t intend to type “fantasy football” and accidentally replace it with “bar inventory”.

I was obsessed!

The owner of the bar I was managing at the time simply couldn’t figure out why his profit/loss statement was always in the red, or at best right at sea level. He spend the majority of his time seeking out some new and gimmicky bar promotion to get people in the bar.

“What do you think about gerbil races?” he’d ask me.

Then, in August of 2011, I read an article on the state of the bar industry, and how they were losing 25% of their inventory due to bartender negligence.

Of course, being in the industry for more than 20 years at the time, I was fully aware of the bar industry’s “generous” culture of giving away drinks or pouring heavy, but plugging that hole was another issue.

So I told the owner, “I’m going to try something to help increase our profits.”

“Whatever,” he said. He’d lost his optimism.

For the next two months, I experimented with different bar inventory software, which wasn’t nearly at the level it is nowadays, but it still allowed me to track the bar inventory and find out where our losses were coming from.

From the first moment I was able to run that first variance report, I loved it, because there was no ambiguity. Numbers don’t lie. The bartenders couldn’t look at me and give me some bullshit answer that would ever negate what the numbers said on the variance report.

So I developed a beverage program and inventory system that included setting standards and demanding that the bartenders conform to it.

At the end of the month, when the profit/loss statement came out, the owner saw that he was in the black $5,500 for the month. Higher than he’d ever been. All from properly tracking the bar inventory.

6 months later, Bar Patrol was born. I spent the first three years of my business as a bar auditor, walking into bars in the San Francisco Bay Area helping dozens of bar owners save hours of time and thousands of dollars per month using Bar Patrol App.

4 years after that, we are in 47 states and 17 countries helping bars do the same thing on their own using Bar Patrol Inventory App.

The following video will provide you an explanation as to why bar inventory is so goddamn important, and how to properly calculate and track both pour cost percentage and variance percentage.

And if you’re one of those people who whine and say, “Man, inventory sucks”, I won’t argue that point, but here’s something you need to accept and make peace with: being an expert at your job isn’t always a piece of cake. It doesn’t mean you just don’t do it or do it half ass.

Do you think that the workers building a bridge think that it’s always fun? I’m sure more than once while lifting heavy equipment and working in the 98 degree heat someone has said, “Man, building this bridge sucks.”

Does that mean they shouldn’t do it right, or do it half-ass? What happens if they don’t do their jobs like an expert? That’s right, one day while driving across it, you plunge to your death when the bridge collapses.

Sure, our jobs in the bar industry aren’t literally life and death, but the life of the business is at stake, and when you do your job dispassionately, you risk killing the business.

With that said, enjoy the video, and do your best to enjoy your job. Remember, the better you are at something, the more fun it is, so become an expert.

Expert Bar Inventory Management: Why is it so Important?

Cheers, until next time.


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