Running a bar or restaurant these days takes your full focus, concentration, and commitment. You need to manage and juggle multiple responsibilities at once, including inventory and product control.
And managing your bar inventory is crucial to the success of your business. Taking daily inventory ensures that you have enough alcohol for each shift and helps you track your financial performance by providing information to calculate which items sell and which don’t. Good inventory management can provide you with detailed reports that outline your daily and weekly costs, profits, and losses so you can adjust your inventory and the way you order.
If you’re still doing manual inventory by hand or are looking for a way to simplify your inventory management, we’ve prepared a list of the best bar inventory apps in 2020. You’ll learn what an inventory app can do for you and why you need one to make it easier to run your bar or restaurant.
Ready? Let’s go.
Table of Contents
What Is a Bar Inventory App?
An inventory app helps you manage and control your inventory directly using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Quick to download on your phone, these apps give you easy access to an automated inventory process.
Bar inventory systems streamline the inventory-taking procedure and make your job more efficient and less time-consuming. The best bar inventory apps come with similar features and functions, including:
- Ability to count inventory across multiple devices.
- Methods for measuring such as a virtual point count and slider or a Bluetooth scale.
- Automatic invoicing and ordering with suppliers.
- Access to historical data.
But bar inventory apps are more than just a good way to control and manage your inventory – they let you analyze and assess your bar sales and finances using variance reports and through integration with your POS system.
When you have more control over the inventory process, you also get more control over your profit margins.
Why Do You Need a Bar Inventory App?
As the manager of either a bar or restaurant, taking inventory is a mandatory task so you can manage your costs and know when it’s time to order more stock. Taking regular inventory also lets you monitor your business for loss and theft by employees, which is a common occurrence in the hospitality sector.
Still not convinced that you need a bar inventory app to manage your bar’s liquor inventory? Here’s what these apps can do for you:
At the end of every shift, taking inventory lets you know how much product was used and sold and if you have enough at the front of house for the next shift. Using a bar inventory app reduces errors that happen when inventory is done by hand.
Manage Labor Costs
Using an inventory app reduces labor costs. With manual inventory, you typically need to pay one or more employees to take inventory for you. Over a period of time, this can add up to substantial labor costs.
Analyze Business Costs
Most bar inventory apps come with unique reports that track useful information, such as the amount of spillage happening at the bar. Unlike excel spreadsheets that you hand produce when doing manual inventory, these apps provide managers with data that can reduce costs and improve customer service.
Save Valuable Time
Doing manual inventory takes up valuable time that you don’t have – you need to count each item and then enter the information into a spreadsheet. Being able to do inventory on your smartphone or tablet means that inventory counts are automatically entered into the inventory management software for you.
Inventory Tracking in Real-Time
Inventory apps allow you to manage and track your liquor in real-time. This means that you can quickly access your smartphone and take a look at your stock usage and sales. You can immediately identify if there’s a problem, such as when a particular bottle of alcohol is about to run out and one of your trending cocktails is at risk of missing it’s main component.
The Best Bar Inventory Apps in 2020
Ready to choose a bar inventory app and start running your bar or restaurant more efficiently? Here are the 8 best bar inventory apps in 2020:
Partender is a simple bar inventory app that lets you take your bar inventory in just 15 minutes. Inventory is done by tapping your smartphone at the alcohol level on each virtual bottle and then swiping to the next bottle behind the bar. Partender will accurately determine how much liquor you have in stock.
You can also use the app to order liquor by matching alcohol with the correct supplier. Just run a report, download a purchase order, and send to your distributor.
Pricing: Cost for the Partender bar inventory app is based on subscription. Signup is fast and easy, with payment options that include:
- Pro monthly cost of $249 / month, which includes inventory reports, cost analysis, and unlimited inventory.
- Pro annual cost of $165 / month based on one annual payment, which includes all features in the pro monthly plan on a discounted rate.
BarDog Technologies has designed a liquor inventory app that simplifies the inventory process. Using your smartphone, BarDog directly matches the liquor you have behind the bar to the data in the app by grouping items together. You can manage and track all your beer, liquor, and wine stock as well as your bar supplies. This includes information such as bottle cost and size, and how much you typically order of each item.
Other features include the ability to log your alcohol purchases and obtain inventory reports with detailed stock information such as item counts. Another feature of BarDog is that more than one user is able to use the app, reducing even more the time it takes to complete inventory.
Pricing: Cost for BarDog is a monthly subscription-based on features and services:
- Basic pricing of $49 / month, which includes 2 user accounts, unlimited inventories, and email support.
- Upgraded pricing of $99 / month, which includes additional features to the basic service such as unlimited users, custom categories, and bar sliders for inventory measurement.
3. Bar Cop
Inventory management with Bar Cop lets you control and manage the inventory process from beginning to end. The app will track usage of liquor from when it’s received into stock all the way through to customer consumption. Inventory is fast and accurate by either using a USB scale to weigh each bottle or by using your voice to enter information.
Using Bar Cop, you’ll also be able to automate your ordering process with suppliers based not only on past historical invoices but also according to real-time inventory counts. Bar Cop also lets you compare your actual bar sales that have been rung up in the register to product usage, helping to identify any problems with dishonest employees.
Pricing: Cost for Bar Cop is $59 / monthly whether you sign up for a 3-month, 6-month, or yearly term. The monthly fee includes use of all app features.
4. Bar Patrol
Bar Patrol is both an app and an online inventory management system that simplifies your inventory process. After downloading the app, you can manage your entire inventory including stock count, invoices, and ordering with your vendors. Open bottles are weighed using Bar Patrol’s Bluetooth scale, which enters weight into the app for accuracy.
You can also use Bar Patrol to track your sales and alcohol usage by reviewing reports that include variances, liquor usage, and information about whether your bartenders are pouring what they’ve entered into your POS system.
Pricing: Cost for Bar Patrol is based on a monthly subscription-based on features and services:
- Annual cost of $49 / month billed annually, which includes the Bluetooth scale, POS integration, and item costing.
- Monthly cost of $69 / month billed monthly, which includes all of the features available with the annual billing plan.
A simple online app, BevSpot has an easy-to-use dashboard that makes taking inventory fast and easy. Using any device, you’ll be able to take inventory, track all your orders, and view all your sales data. The app helps you calculate sales behind the bar, analyze your profits, and determine your pour costs for each bottle you have in stock.
You can organize liquor in the app according to where each bottle is located on your bar shelves, further reducing the amount of time it takes to complete a daily inventory.
Pricing: BevSpot has three pricing plans available:
- Starter plan for $32 / month billed annually, which includes basic features such as 1-month historical data.
- Standard plan for $119 / month billed annually, which includes all features of the basic plan as well as reports for inventory, pricing, sales, and alcohol usage.
- Pro plan for $199 / month billed annually, which includes premium tools such as loss and transfer management and access to an account consultant.
Bevager lets you count inventory fast using your smartphone in under 20 minutes. Once inventory is complete you can re-order stock from your suppliers, contacting each of your distributors by email, pdf, or messaging.
Invoice tracking is made easy by scanning and uploading invoices to the app – invoices can then be synced with accounting software, such as QuickBooks. Accurate reporting lets you calculate your bar costs, allowing you to determine your profit margins.
Pricing: Bevager has three pricing plans available:
- Standard pricing at $99.99 / month, which includes inventory, ordering, and costing features.
- Premium pricing at $149.99 / month, which includes standard pricing features as well as POS sales reporting and reporting on inventory variances.
- Pro pricing at $199.99 / month, which includes all features of the standard and premium pricing plans as well as bill tracking and check printing.
If you’re looking for a simple app, Barkeep is easy to use. The app takes inventory by bottle, case, or weight, making it versatile for whatever inventory count works best for your bar. Use your smartphone camera to scan in barcodes that match up to an online database of products.
Barkeep Online comes with reports that provide information such as usage and pour costs. Other features include automatic lookup of inventory items, the ability to search by barcode, and inventory taking by multiple users.
Pricing: After a quick download, Barkeep has two subscription plans:
- Barkeep app only at $40 for the app purchase, which includes accurate inventory by weight and waste inventory.
- Barkeep online tools for $30 / month, billed annually plus $40 for app purchase, which includes variance reports and online ordering.
Perhaps the most multi-purpose, WISK stands out for having a variety of features to help you run your bar more intelligently. In other words, the main goal of the software is to not only save costs, but make your bar more profitable. With the aid of features like beverage costing and data analytics, you can use the app to increase your bottom line.
WISK isn’t just for managing your bar’s inventory. It’s for determining what you need to improve future sales. Equipped with machine learning capabilities, you’ll have the ability to know what your sales will look like on certain days based on events, holidays, and even the weather. So, if you’re searching for a tool that will help you effectively manage your inventory and drive sales, WISK may be the right fit for you.
Pricing: WISK has 4 pricing options. Pricing depends on inventory size and includes all features.
- Small Venue (0-10K inventory) – $124/month
- Medium Venue (10-30K inventory) – $166/month
- Large Venue (30K-100K inventory) – $208/month
The hospitality industry is highly competitive. The key to success in running a bar or restaurant is being able to efficiently manage your costs, lower your expenses and losses, and bring in as much profit as possible.
The inventory apps on this list give you control over your inventory management system so you can manage your inventory effectively and control loss and waste of your inventory stock.
Choose one of these apps and start improving and streamlining your inventory process, making profits and customer satisfaction that much more achievable for your bar or restaurant.
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