While it might seem to some that running a bar is a highly lucrative business, the reality is that there are many expenses that can dramatically cut into the profitability of your establishment. Everything from rent and utilities in a popular area of town to employee salaries and benefits can significantly drive down the margins on that $7 whiskey and coke. In addition, one of the greatest expenses that bar owners now face is the notorious “over pour”.
The Problem with Over Pouring
Over pouring has become increasingly common as bartenders either hungry for tips, are willing to do whatever it takes to increase their tip from customers or they just have simply never been taught the correct amount to be poured for a certain drink. For those doing it on purpose, it seems like an ideal way to get bigger tips: they provide an improved service at no cost to themselves, the customer benefits and tips accordingly. Unfortunately, while the bartenders might think that this is a harmless way to make some extra money, the reality is that something is being harmed: the businesses end line and profit margins.
Part of the difficulty with tracking and preventing over pouring is the fact that it is very difficult to trace. There will inevitably be some amount of “loss” on every bottle: spills, botched or incorrect drink orders, disappearing customers, etc. will all contribute to some inevitable amount of loss. In addition, it can be incredibly difficult to track which bartenders are specifically responsible for the over pouring. This makes it a difficult behavior to correct since you are forced to speak in generalities to your entire staff instead of the specific parties involved. Bartenders also know they are protected by the fact that the bar owner cannot track them specifically, which gives them a sense of security when over pouring. For these reasons, over pouring was always considered a cost of doing business and an acceptable margin eater.
How POS Systems can help Prevent Over Pouring
Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue! There are a number of new technologies that make it far easier for bar owners to track their inventory and see exactly where it is going. Point of Sale (POS) systems are increasingly including features that allow you to track your specific inventory. This means that it is now possible for you to link a specific bottle to one or two of your bartenders. Now, if you have a bartender that is chronically over pouring, you will be able to see this reflected in the fact that their bottles are not converting into the proper number of drinks. Although some amount of loss is acceptable, the truly gross over pours should stop. In addition, the mere fact that bartenders now know that bottles are being tracked to specific individuals should significantly decrease their over pours. By having each individual bottle tracked, you can create a chain of custody from the stock room all the way through to each drink being poured, which means more money for your bottom line!
Before choosing a new POS system for bars, be sure it provides the ability to track your inventory and prevent loss and over pouring. It could save you countless thousands of dollars per year!