Bar Management and Costly Bartender Overpouring in 2022

Bar management and costly bartender overpours

How much do careless bartenders and alcohol pouring cost? Learn the shocking facts and how liquor inventory management and inventory service can control this bar management issue.

How much does bartender waste cost?

Would you believe that the bar in the photo below is losing 20% of its profits? According to Chuck Deibel, of Bevinco Bar Services, bar and restaurant owners are losing 20% of their inventory. In his 2014 ‘Sales Tax Audit Brief’ of 326 bars, Chuck concluded this in his findings. 

SHRINKAGE - A UNIVERSAL BAR MANAGEMENT PROBLEM

According to Deibel, the problem is that shrinkage prevails in every market. No matter how attractive your bar may appear, solid bar management must be diligently administered. Shrinkage can occur in several ways. The worst part is that bar owners are totally unaware of it! Of course, theft accounts for part of this shrinkage, but over-pouring also accounts significantly. Today I want to cover over-pouring, as I don’t think many people really understand its true impact to lost bar profits. 

Example of inconsistent shot pouring
EXAMPLE OF INCONSISTENT SHOT-POURING

BAR MANAGEMENT 101 - WHAT'S THAT WHITE LINE ON THE SHOT GLASS?

Most people will recognize the photo below. This is a standard shot glass. The first rule in bar management is to train bartenders how to correctly pour a shot. The shot glass is used thousands of times every year. Your profits depend on this simple rule.

  • Many may be unaware that the standard shot glass in the U.S. is commonly available in three sizes: 1 oz. 1.25 oz. and 1.50 oz.
  • The painted line is known as the “Pour Line.”
  • Most people are unaware that filling to the bottom of the pour line is the technically correct method – not the top!
  • More shocking is that most people don’t know that the thickness of the line represents 1/8 oz of liquor.
  • A liter of liquor yields 27 1.25 oz. shots per bottle.
  • At an average profit of $3.50 and only pouring to the top of the line of the shot glass, you’d be losing about $12.00 profit per bottle.
  • If you’re selling 12 bottles of liquor each day and if your bar is open 310 days a year, you would be losing nearly $45,000.00 profit a year!
Photo of standard shot glass
THE WHITE LINE IS KNOWN AS THE "POUR LINE"

OVERPOURING - A HUGE BAR MANAGEMENT ISSUE

In terms of bar management, this is one of the easiest and biggest problems to correct. If you allow your bartenders to free-pour (see photo below), then you’re most likely overpouring by ¼ oz. or more, which means that you would be losing at least $90,000 profit a year – and this doesn’t even factor for theft! See how quickly this adds-up?! By now you may be wondering how you could cut your losses. First, don’t allow free-pouring. To really gain control of your bar losses – and make greater profits, bar owners need to invest in either a professional liquor inventory service, such as Sculpture Hospitality, which will reduce overall shrinkage to 2-3% across the board. 

Example of bartender freepouring
BARTENDER FREEPOURING IS A HUGE BAR MANAGEMENT ISSUE

MECHANIZED POURING

You can also invest in metered pouring equipment, such as Easybar or Berg. These systems include inventory software. I covered all of these options in my blog and the posts are listed at the end of this article.

“Drink consistency is of the utmost importance for a successful bar.”

OVERPOURING LEADS TO BIGGER TIPS?

Bartenders sometimes overpour so they can receive bigger tips, but this is flawed logic, as the patron will end-up drinking less and leaving earlier than planned. In my opinion, consistency cannot be maintained without controls.

And that, my friends, is the way I see it.

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