by Dave Grimm
AccuBar founding partner
We hear it all the time these days. We routinely ask prospective customers, or anyone in the industry, how they do their bar inventory. And still, in 2014 — a time when we’ve unleashed driverless cars, discovered dark matter and even delivered pizzas by drone — we usually get the same answer: Pencil and paper. The vast majority of the hospitality industry, routinely populated by multi-million-dollar operations, hasn’t progressed beyond the inventory management processes used in the Middle Ages.
We at AccuBar knew this was the deal when we started our company in 2000. But we’re more than surprised that the situation hasn’t changed much in our 14 years of existence. Your average bar has tens of thousands of dollars in liquor, beer and wine in stock; many places push that figure beyond $100,000. So few, however, do much to protect that inventory investment. They don’t:
- Calculate their Pouring Cost percentages for each item, or even for categories of items, so they can detect overpouring and other issues;
- Count empty bottles to reveal items that have gone missing;
- Keep a perpetual inventory so they can check theoretical stock levels versus actual stock;
- Check their receiving to make sure it’s what they ordered;
- Monitor and adjust par levels to make sure you’re not overstocking
- In some cases, they don’t even do inventory at all, or not regularly, or not very accurately. (These folks, sadly, don’t tend to last very long.)
From our experience, you fall into either one of two categories: Either the above list is familiar and you’re just not getting to it, or it’s a foreign language. Either way, the hard truth is that the companies who succeed in this mine field of an industry are doing all of the above and more. They know that the above are really minimum standards, so they strive to do them as efficiently as possible, and they insist that they’re done regularly and accurately. The crash of 2008 taught them that they have to have air-tight systems in place for when things go sour, or their business might face a swift and brutal end.
Those are your competitors. They are applying technology and proven inventory management methods to beat you, and you’re standing there with a pencil.
If you’re ready to put down that pencil and fight back, AccuBar can help. Reach out to us here and we will help you take the next step.