Bar Business August/September 2020

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IMPROVE YOUR INVENTORY CONTROL The economic challenges of COVID-19 have made inventory management even more important.

Photo: Backbar.


ith so many challenges to deal with during the pandemic—from fewer customers to increased sanitation to shifts in staffing— inventory control might be the last thing on your mind. But this isn’t the time to lose track of your supplies. As profit margins narrow, inventory management has become more important than ever. “Our industry hasn’t ever understood inventory as the empowering profitability, sales, and marketing tool that it is—and I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault,” says Anjali Kundra, co-founder and vice president of customer success at Partender. “We’re just an old-school industry, beyond our cocktail menus and buildouts.” But that means there’s room for both improvement and optimism. “Now is the time to think differently to survive and ideally thrive,” says Kundra. This is an opportunity to gain a

BY EMILY ECKART sharper understanding of what’s on your shelves and to track its movement more closely. “My recommendation for all restaurant and bar owners is that they should increase the frequency of inventory, and then be very aware of what’s going on operationally,” says Patrick Cottrell, regional director of Florida for Sculpture Hospitality. Food and beverages that you have in stock should be treated as the cash. “It blows my mind that we as an industry count the few hundred dollars in our register multiple times a day but don’t count the thousands of dollars in liquid cash—and potential sales—sitting on our shelves,” says Kundra. “To start, you must start counting your liquid cash at least weekly, especially if you order weekly.” Cottrell also says weekly inventory is a best pratice. “In some cases, we would also recommend doing spot checks on high-volume sale items or items that see certain opportunities of loss.”

For these items, doing more frequent spot checks or even daily inventory can create a more granular picture of which items move fastest day-to-day. For example, if you’re a bar that serves a lot of bottled beer, you need to know what specific brands and types of beer are sold regularly, versus which ones sit on the shelf. Josh Saunders, founder of Backbar, says, “Smart inventory management gives

Pro Tip Inventory control technology helps automate, creates accuracy, and also can easily guide the business decisions you need to make to increase profits and cash.

August/September 2020

Bar Business Magazine