Pour Smart: Why Spills and Overpouring are Costing Your Bar Big Bucks

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Pour Smart: Why Spills and Overpouring are Costing Your Bar Big Bucks

What’s the first thing you think of when you’re trying to come up with ways for your bar to cut costs? It probably isn’t wasted alcohol…spills and overpouring couldn’t be costing your bar that much, could they? Unfortunately, a few ounces here and a few ounces there can really add up. If you don’t believe us, just check out this calculator on Smart Tender, which tells you how much money your bar loses annually if bartenders overpour each drink by just 1/8 ounce. Yikes!

If you want to save your money instead of watching it go down the drain, keep reading to learn how overpouring and spills can cost your bar big bucks…and what you can do to keep your costs down.

Some big problems (and solutions) include:

Problem: Not doing inventory. If you don’t regularly do inventory, you don’t actually know what you have in stock. And that means you don’t actually know how much alcohol you’re losing on a regular basis. If you don’t even know it’s happening, it can be easy for money to simply slip down the drain.

Solution: It’s easy—be sure to do regular inventory. Figure out where you’re losing money.

Problem: Sloppy bartenders and servers. A busy bar can make everyone get a little bit sloppy. Bartenders might rush through pouring their drinks and not notice or care if they overpoured or spilled. Servers might slosh drinks around, spill them, or leave drinks on the bar too long, causing them to lose their head and need a top off.

Solution: Let your staff know that you’re tracking your losses. It’s easy for staff members not to realize how much alcohol they’re really wasting—after all,  it’s usually only an ounce at a time. Once they realize how quickly it adds up—and how much it matters to the bar’s success—they’ll be more careful.

Problem: Bartenders who don’t know their stuff. If bartenders don’t actually know exactly how to make each drink—and the proper quantities of every ingredient—they might overpour without even knowing it. Or, your bartenders might not know how to pour a drink, especially when it comes to beer on tap.

Solution: Train your bartenders. Make sure they know exactly what goes into each drink. It’s especially important to make sure they know how to pour tap beer, since it’s easy to make lots of little mistakes that can add up to lots of lost money.

Problem: Bartenders ringing up drinks incorrectly. Maybe a bartender charges for a cheaper drink, but serves a more expensive one. Or maybe s/he charges for a small drink, but actually serves a larger one. They might do this for friends, or because they know it will get them bigger tips. Whether it’s an accident or deliberate, this is the sort of action that can cost your bar a lot of money.

Solution: Check in on your bartenders regularly. If they’re constantly making mistakes, you’ll catch them and (hopefully) teach them to be more careful. And if they’ve been deliberating mischarging for drinks, they probably won’t be so brazen as to do it when you’re around.

If you’re losing money at your bar, check out some of these problem areas. You might be losing more than you thought from spills and overpouring. But by putting these solutions into effect, you can stop wasting so much money.


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