March 31, 2017 glimpse_team

How to Track Inventory in Your Bar

Running a successful bar takes a ton of know-how, persistence, close attention to detail and sometimes a bit of luck. When it comes to increasing your chances of success, it is important that all necessary measures are taken, and all aspects of operations are treated with the same thoroughness. Capturing all possible revenue and eliminating unnecessary costs is at the heart of a successful bar or restaurant business plan (or any business). Whether it is how each transaction is processed, customer interaction or management of inventory, each aspect of the daily operations is so vital that no part should be overlooked. When it comes to bar inventory control and management, there are some important tips that can help increase the chances of success. Here are some of the top tips for inventory control and management:

Here are some of the top tips for control and management of the inventory:

Know Who You are Serving

This may seem to be a no-brainer for a lot of owners and managers but truly understanding the type of clientele your bar is serving will ultimately determine your inventory and how you manage your bar costs. Is it a sports bar where beer by the pint or pitcher is the most popular item or is it a classier after work spot for fine cocktails and expensive wine? Beer will be cheaper from the keg but some customers will prefer out of a bottle, and a wide selection of the essential varieties of wine would be key to attracting and keeping that type of client. Is your clientele mainly millennials who like to order the special shot of the night or a cheap beer on a Saturday with friends? Each type of clientele requires a unique selection of inventory

Stocking Options to Maximize the Margin

There is a fine art to stocking the right mix of drinks in your inventory. For example, at a bar that attracts a higher end clientele where wine and high-end cocktails will be the most popular choice, sometimes that regular will feel like a bottle of Budweiser instead. Stocking too much of one particular beverage category can be costly and not carrying the right options can cause you to lose that regular. It takes practice, and an innate sense for keeping a well-balanced drink inventory and knowing exactly how much of a profit is being made on each drink that you sell is important.

How Much is Wasted

Sometimes your inventory system may be working perfectly, but your costs still seem too high. One of the biggest costs to a bar can be a waste. Waste happens because:

  • Spillage
  • Improper measuring
  • Poor pouring techniques
  • Not accounting for the waste down to the dollar
  • Bad inventory management

All these aspects can be addressed and easily corrected for. By tracking your drink waste down the exact dollar will give you a quick and clear picture of just how important it is to minimize it.

Weekly Inventory

Some will say that doing monthly inventory is plenty to keep a good handle on things but to really have your bar capturing every dollar of revenue possible, you should be doing weekly inventory at the very least. This will give you a more up-to-date idea of your weekly costs and revenue to adjust your inventory ordering on a regular basis.

Comping Rules

Whether you want to admit it or not, bartenders will comp drinks in hopes of earning more tips. It happens and it is the nature of the business. There are two ways in which you can address this issue. If you find that your bartenders do a great job and you’re worried about finding new ones, then perhaps instituting rules for how many drinks per night they can give away is your best option. Creating a culture of trust within your staff can go a long way. If, on the other hand, you want to eliminate this issue altogether and try to control this cost, then perhaps the best option is to install an employee performance monitoring software system that can be synced up with your POS system.

Glimpse is an outsourced data analysis company that provides bar owners and managers with detailed reports (with timestamped images) to identify areas in the daily operations that are high risk to the profit margin. Glimpse works directly with your POS system and runs weekly audits that look for non-compliance issues within unaccounted sales, inconsistent service, employee performance and standard operating procedures.

To learn more about how Glimpse can help your bar capture more revenue and eliminate unnecessary costs and to schedule a demo, visit

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