is one of the worst things to have to do in my opinion, but it needs to be done often and done correctly.
A bar owner really does need to keep track of everything coming and going. You should do inventory at least once a month. I did inventory daily (sometimes), weekly and monthly.
If I felt things were being stolen or there was a bartender over pouring I would do a daily inventory until I pinpointed who the culprit was. It is very important to know your PC. (Pouring Cost)
Point Of Sale Systems
If you can afford those awesome POS (point of sale) cash registers that do a great job keeping track of inventory, then Lucky You … that would be great. It would be very advisable to purchase them if you have a huge place. However, keep in mind even if you do have the POS Register — there is a huge learning curve with them and you will still find yourself having to do a lot of work. The machine does not do it all. Especially in a bar. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford that fancy POS system. If that is the case and your wallet doesn’t yet allow for such luxuries … then you have to do inventory the more time consuming way. “OWWWW YUK” you say — Not to worry — there are many ways of tracking inventory. All you need is a good system to help it go a lot easier. Maybe a helper or two also. That was nice when I had a helper or sometimes more than one helper. You don’t want to many helpers though … then people just get in the way. I preferred to do the heavy duty inventory when the bar was closed and I usually did a lot of cleaning while doing inventory. For instance, cleaning out the beer coolers etc. They can get nasty if you don’t clean them on a regular basis. When the bar is open, you can do some inventory, but believe me it is a lot easier to do when there isn’t a bunch of people around.
If You Absolutely Hate Doing Inventory
there are companies that can do your inventory for you … BUT to me that is such a waste of money. Just get off your DUFF and start counting! Get yourself a couple of good programs like Quickbooks to enter all of your information into. Inventory isn’t really that bad, if you keep up with it. Obviously, the more product you have the longer it takes to count and recount all that stuff, but it is all worth it when you know how good or not so good your business is doing.
Another good program that comes in handy is Microsoft Excel — and you do not necessarily need the newest one out there. Excel is perfect for helping with figuring the Price your drinks should be. It is also great for figuring out what your Pour Cost is. (PC)
I used Quickbooks and Excel on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, pencil and paper and a calculator will work too — it will just take a while longer to get things done. Heck all I know — there might be even more modern ways to do things. The world of technology and all of its high tech stuff just keeps getting better and better. Amazing isn’t it? The downfall to all the new techy stuff is you have to learn how to use it. Not one of my more favorite ways to spend my precious time.
After Crunching Your Numbers
you find the inventory turned out good, then no worries. But — if those numbers come out bad, then you know you have a problem and your money is going down the drain. When things are not looking so good and you have a bunch of booze or beer missing or maybe t-shirts that you just paid a fortune for. Maybe an employee helped themselves to some snacks (took them home?) like hot dogs and hamburgers or chips that you had for the customers while they watch football games or car races or whatever. Listen — that is all money that is lost to you. So now you get to keep an eye out and find out who is messing up. Only takes one person stealing from you to really hurt the business. Keep that in mind. Just one day of one employee taking or giving your stuff away, can hurt real bad. It will hurt you and put a huge dent in your wallet.
A Word Of Advice
the more you have that is under lock and key and not accessible to employees and customers the better off you are! It just amazes me how stuff can just walk out the door and NOBODY has any idea how that could happen. Must have been that bar ghost again — huh ??? !!!! There is a bunch of different ways an employee or some dishonest customers can rip you off. Oh I cannot tell you how angry this would make me. It didn’t happen often — but when it did — It just infuriated me to NO END !!! What can I say — the world isn’t full of perfect people — but then again most of my employees and customers were fantastic!!!
Dishonest Vendors and/or Delivery Guys
You must watch every delivery carefully as some delivery guys will steal you blind. This is unfortunate, but it does happen. How pathetic – huh? So be SURE to take your time and count all product coming in — delivery drivers will want to rush you through this. Not all the delivery guys, but a good portion of them. Well to bad for them … you need to make sure every item you bought and paid for is there !!! Trust me you will find tons of mistakes. Broken items, missing items, things you did not order etc. etc. etc. — that list goes on and on and on. If you cannot be there for all deliveries, make sure that your employees know the rules to counting all product coming in.
It Would Be Nice If You Could Be There All The Time
and know exactly what is going on every second of everyday that your bar is open. That is pretty much impossible, unless you have absolutely NO life. However, if you can hire a trust worthy manager, that is all the better.
If you decide you can afford to hire a manager, please run a background check.
Better to be safe than sorry !!!