Helping South Carolina change from mini-bottles

CENTENNIAL, CO—South Carolinians voted to overturn a law that required all liquor to be served from mini-bottles. Now the state’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other liquor servers are preparing to dive into a new world of big bottles, which they hope will mean increased profits. But without proper controls, the problems and losses could be crippling.

AccuBar has the answers, and here’s why: Many of the losses associated with free-pour liquor service can only be caught by thorough, regular physical inventories. Bartenders have a variety of tricks they can pull that turn your liquor into their cash, and without strict tracking of your inventory, many of those tricks will go undetected. (For more on the bartending scams, click here.)

If that seems like a small price to pay, consider that slippage on liquor averages around 25% nationwide, according to surveys. So for every four bottles you bring into your operation, you’re essentially dumping one of those in the gutter. If you can keep that number closer to 20% through tight controls, you will realize a huge savings.

Those looking to make the switch from mini-bottles to big bottles should consider the following controls:

  1. Weekly physical inventories, with random spot checks: Get in the habit of weekly inventories from Day One and you’ll be better off. AccuBar makes that possible by providing the fastest inventory counting system on the market. And AccuBar’s speed and ease of use makes it possible to do spot checks on problem items or suspect employees, which can be a great way to reveal and deter losses quickly.
  2. Monitor your pouring cost constantly: Pouring cost is the industry’s standard measure for cost of goods on liquor, beer, wine and other beverages, and it can give you a quick measure of your losses. AccuBar helps you calculate pouring cost with a few clicks of the mouse, enabling you to check your progress from week to week. AccuBar users can also get a bartender’s pouring cost for his shift, enabling a simple “report card” to increase staff accountability. (For more on pouring cost, click here.)
  3. Know your variances:Slippage can be a crippling problem in the bar world, as in any business. The successful bar operator will know where the losses are occurring and hold the staff accountable. While it’s more difficult to outright steal a big bottle than a pocketful of minis, many operators in big-bottle businesses struggle to pinpoint where they’re coming up short. AccuBar can give you that information with a few clicks, allowing you to increase accountability among your staff members. So, for any given time period, AccuBar can tell you that your premium vodkas ran a pouring cost of 30%, for instance. If that represents an increase over your average pouring cost, the variances might throw up a red flag to tell you that you’re missing two bottles of Grey Goose from that category (see report sample at right). So you’ve quickly isolated your problem and can take corrective action.