Bar Owning – Bartending


Controlling Over Pouring

This is NO easy task! Not at all! I have to admit I hated inventory. But it has to be done! Not that all bar owners do inventory often enough to check on their PC (pouring cost). That is their mistake and a big one at that.

Many Bars and Restaurants Lose Income

and a lot of it, because of excessive overpouring of alcohol and draft beer. I have talked to so many bar owners and I was surprised to find out how many of them do not understand PC and the importance of it. It simply amazed me that so many bar owners just seemed indifferent about it. Whatever…if they don’t care about losing money that should be going back into the business, not down the drain. Well more power to them.

All I know is I wanted as much money going back into my business as possible – not lost to me forever – because of excessive over pouring or stealing.

Then There Is The Bar Owner

who doesn’t have the slightest clue on how to do inventory or know how to figure their PC.

Why did you ask? Well, it is not like you go out and take a bunch of classes before you buy a bar to learn all of this stuff. Unless you’ve been around bars or involved in some way with a bar business before you buy a bar, then you really do need to learn inventory control somehow. This is where a really good inventory of all liquor and beer and snacks and everything else that you buy and sell come in. It is important to count everything you buy and sell regularly.

Are you missing way too much product

after doing inventory? If so, you obviously have a problem. The problem usually involves an employee or two. You need to find out. This loss of inventory can really hurt a business in a big way. So you have to find out where all your stuff is going! Of course, liquor, bottle beer, draft beer and wine are the most important as that is where your biggest income comes from in a bar. So in order to find out if it is excessive over pouring going on, you need to do a complete inventory of everything you sell. On my inventory page, you can find so many ways to get your inventory done and keep track of all you are losing in income or hopefully NOT losing! The NOT losing product would be awesome, having all the numbers come out like they are supposed to would be a dream come true. However — that is not how it turns out a majority of the time — often you will find many things not adding up as they should. OK – what do you do then? Well, you are sure that you counted right … when you did inventory … right? If you know you did a good inventory – and you know you counted and recounted to make sure everything was accounted for and counted right –then, if you are missing products it is time to pay attention and find out why and who!

Ways To Control Over Pouring.

Keeping track of everything you buy and sell is how you start controlling your Inventory and your Pouring Cost. There are other ways to get your Pouring Cost (PC) down. It could be that you are not charging enough for your drinks. It is important that you figure your PC – and learn how to correctly price all drinks that you sell. Not charging the correct amount for these things can really make your pouring cost go through the roof. I have made it pretty easy for you by supplying you with a Liquor & Beer Calculators and a Pouring Cost Calculator. All you have to do is enter in a few numbers. Once you do that, the nifty little calculator will show you what you should be charging for that drink. Go check it out. It makes it all so easy! Now if you want a better understanding of how this is all done – I explain that all to you as well – How To Price a Drink or a Bottle Beer!

You need to know what you have, or you won’t know what is missing.  So count and count and count!!! I cannot stress that enough.
You have a starting point … in other words, you should have a correct count of everything you have — especially of all the items you sell — before your Grand Opening of your bar. Place all of this in an Excel Spreadsheet or into a good accounting program. I swear by Quickbooks, it is awesome. Not too difficult of a learning curve either.

Watch all of your bartenders

for over pouring and giving stuff away. One way to tell if your bartenders are over pouring is to watch them inconspicuously. Of course, this is assuming that the owner or the manager knows exactly what the rules of the bar are on pours and what to look for. Some owners have cameras set up at all pouring stations and aimed at all cash registers. It is all up to you and how you prefer to keep an eye on your assets.

Now, if a bartender knows you are watching them, it is amazing how all of a sudden their pours into that ole glass are perfect.

Another way to check on your bartenders pours — pick a bottle or two that you know is sold on that bartenders shift. Just look at that bartender’s register receipts. Most bartenders sell a certain brand on a regular basis. Now before the bartender comes into work — you can do a couple of things. Mark the bottles (so you know how much was in it) that you are watching with a small enough pen mark that only you know about. The other is to just put a new bottle out, that only that bartender will be using. Now this works well when there is only one bartender behind the bar. If there is more than one employee behind the bar, it can mess things up. If for instance, you have two bartenders working, and they work their own side of the bar, then put 2 new bottles of each alcohol on each side.

Hopefully, the rule is already set that they never exchange bottles. You do need rules like that in order to keep track of your inventory. Common sense comes into play with a lot of this.

Don’t get me wrong, not all bartenders are dishonest. Some are fantastic and care about your business very much. Others, however, are all about themselves and only care about the money going into their own pockets. So hopefully you find honest, caring bartenders. Finding honest employees can be a huge task all by itself. Once you have all honest, trustworthy bartenders, life is much better. That does not mean you stop checking on them.

I know I have seen many bartenders get too comfortable. After being employed with you a long time, they can get pretty full of themselves. When that happens, BEWARE! They just do as they please, pour how they want, give away what they want etc.  Anyway, that is time for an office meeting or a parting of the ways! Sounds harsh I know, but you must protect your business!!! Believe me, when I say, it takes a ton of money to keep your businesses doors open! When you have an employee stealing, that is a big loss of money. You can’t afford losses like that for long, not if you want to remain in business.

Bartenders Employed With You

I had several bar owners tell me they never keep a bartender over six months.

I don’t agree with that, but I do understand it after owning a bar for so long. Employees can change on you quickly and some not for the better. So I understand the 6-month thing. I never practiced it, but thinking about it now – it is not a terrible idea.

Sad As It Is

Some bartenders will overpour because they just don’t care.  They know full well they are over pouring and do it mainly to get bigger tips.  Some people would be blown away at how many ways an employee can steal from you or customers. Sad but true. Hmmmmmmm what to do, what to do? Do the words FIRED, TERMINATED, DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YA IN THE BEHIND ring a bell?

Other Employees

just don’t realize how you can really hurt a bar’s business by constantly over pouring.  Even if they are only over pouring a little on a regular basis, that little bit of over pouring will end up adding up to big loss of money.

Most of my employees were great, BUT I have had some really bad ones too. They were downright dishonest bartenders !!!  Trust me if you keep that kind of bartender working for you for very long they can really do damage to your business.

Think About It This Way

If you buy 100 cases of beer and you inventory just once a month. Say you sold 75 cases. So you should have 25 cases left…right? Right! OK now after counting your inventory you only have 20 cases. UH OH! Well if there are 24 bottles in a case and you are missing 5 cases, that would be 120 bottles of beer missing. Now say you charge $5.00 a bottle. So… $5.00 x 120 bottles of missing beer = $600 in loss of income you would have had for your business. That would pay a couple bills, wouldn’t it? That is just one item. What if every bottle of alcohol you sell was less than your inventory said it should be? Well, then you are really losing a whole lot of money. Don’t fret though as you can get your inventory under control and can literally check if your bartenders are over pouring very easily. You will be surprised at how easily you will be able to figure it all out once you learn the proper ways to do this.


Not all of us can afford those fancy Point Of Sale Machines

to track inventory. It would be nice, but not always possible. I would definitely recommend them if you are running a huge bar — or if you just can’t stand doing heavy duty inventories or don’t have the time etc.

Draft Beer

is one of the hardest things to keep track of. Unless you have a nice weighing scale!!!

Over pouring of draft beer is something else too. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched beer go right done the drain. I remember sitting in a hamburger joint that shall remain nameless and I was shocked at what I saw the bartender do. I was so shocked I remember showing my hubby and he couldn’t believe it either. She put a big mug under the tap of the draft, pulled open the draft and walked away. I sat there watching the beer pour out of the glass right down the drain for at least 30 seconds while she was busy doing something else. Can you imagine how much beer went straight down the drain?  Let’s hope there are not any imbeciles like that working for you.

Another problem with Pouring Tap Beer

is sometimes you can get a big problem with the beer foaming way too much when you are trying to pour it.  Sometimes common sense doesn’t always come into play with employees – even though you wish it would!  I have seen bartenders holding the glass under the tap and just let that beer run and run down the drain until the beer in the glass isn’t foamy. Instead of waiting until the foam subsides, it just goes down the drain. Can you believe that? Stuff like that is just wrong. You lose so much money when things like this happen in your bar. It is imperative to train your bartenders on the proper way to pour draft beer – there is a technique to it. Always make sure they understand completely that letting the beer go down the drain is NOT in the least bit acceptable. Not ever! Also, tell them if the beer from a keg is not pouring right, they need to just shut it down until it is fixed.

Common sense is needed in any business. That does not mean all people have that gift. This is why you need to set rules for all employees. Have them sign a contract. It will pay off for you in the long run.

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