Tag Archives: Bar Management

What I’m Working On…The Rough Start to a Business Article

So between working and personal projects and maintaining what I call a social life, the blog gets slow from time to time. I’ll throw up the rough draft of the first half of what I’m working on to get published. A business profile…and take it easy on me. I said it was a ROUGH draft.

“Everyone knows the show Bar Rescue. This is bar reality.”

That’s how Ryan Waters begins describing BarMetrix, a business that has coached over 5,000 bars and restaurants since 1999. He bought the rights to franchise BarMetrix in the Triangle area in October of 2013, and he doesn’t have to speak long before it is apparent that he’s passionate about the endeavor.

“Most bars in North Carolina lose 15% of their inventory to theft, overpouring and spillage,” Waters says. “And in a lot of cases, that 15% is almost all of their profits. What we do is get that variance down below 5%.”

At its simplest, BarMetrix is a recurring audit of inventory to assess how much liquor a bar isn’t accounting for. Either weekly or bi-weekly–depending on the bar’s preference–Waters will weigh or count every bottle, keg and can of alcohol to be cross-referenced against the bar’s invoices. After inputting this information into Barmetrix software and comparing to sales data from the bar’s POS system, Waters can provide a report that shows not only what a bar’s variance is, but on what drinks the variance occurs.

Inventory controls are common practice in many industries, so this doesn’t initially seem novel. But how do most bars track their inventory?
“Most bars live off of cost of goods sold, which can be very misleading,” Waters says. “For example, if a bartender is short pouring a Red Bull and vodka and the customer is happy with the drink, that might mask the fact that the owner is missing a half bottle of Tequila, but the owner doesn’t notice because his sales are roughly the same.”

Talking to Waters, there’s a subtext that he visibly avoids voicing. Bartenders are stealing from their bosses. Liquid embezzlement.

“It’s not theft,” Waters insists. “What we find is that roughly 80% of this loss is unintentional. Bartending is a hard profession. You have to be fast. You have to be accurate. It’s dark. You’re customers are drunk. It’s late at night. If you’re not paying close attention, you can easily overpour drinks. In most cases, when I post the report that says, ‘hey guys, we’re missing 50 ounces of fireball last week,’ they want to do better. And we see that number go down simply because we brought visibility to that fact.”

To be continued in a publication near you (assuming you have WiFi).

DR