Last Updated:
April 25, 2024

Alcohol inventory software: What is it and how to use it

Streamline your restaurant's alcohol inventory management with our beginner's guide to alcohol inventory software.
Alcohol inventory software: What is it and how to use it
Angelo Esposito
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Adopting alcohol inventory software is a necessity in today’s age to stay in business, especially in the bar and restaurant industry. Inventory is notoriously time consuming but it only gets worse when you’re dealing with a consistently crowded bar and a high volume of stock and purchase orders. For this reason, if you haven’t revisited your inventory process lately, it’s time for an update.

Since finding new inventory tools can seem as overwhelming as inventory itself, we’re breaking down everything you need to know when seeking software in this beginner’s guide. So, keep reading to learn everything there is to know about using software to manage your bar’s inventory.

What is alcohol inventory software?

Every time you break out an Excel spreadsheet and record what items you have on hand, whether its liquor, beer, wine, or gin with garnishes, you’re conducting inventory. Beyond simply counting stock, the process also involves complicated bar inventory formulas and way too much of your time.

Bar inventory management software, however, simplifies the system. Instead of investing hours of manual labor, software does most of the work for you. For instance, it calculates how much stock you use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, determines optimal drink prices, places new orders, identifies where waste is occurring, and more.

In addition, many modern software systems also come with integrations, such as scales to measure the exact weight of the product. Some can even connect to your existing POS system and provide variance and sales data.

In short, apps offer a series of tools to make your bar or restaurant operate more efficiently, increase profits, and provide a better experience to your customers. As a bar owner, you know that accurate inventory tracking is necessary for the success of your business. That said, software cuts down the time it takes to conduct inventory while providing critical insights into the state of your bar.

Why do you need an app for bar inventory?

Why is having alcohol inventory software a necessity instead of an extra advantage? From high start-up costs to high overhead, tricky transportation, and a larger than average number of competitors, there are dozens of unique challenges that come with managing a bar. Above all, bar management software helps ease the pressure of these challenges.

Example #1

Paying sky-high rent for a prime spot in New York, London or even Toronto? With the smart analytics that inventory software provides, you can optimize your menu prices and choose the best liquor brands to use to maximize profit.

Example #2

Are you limited on storage space? Then, don’t use valuable square footage to stock product you won’t use. With software, you’ll be better able to identify what you need more of and what you need less of. Also, it allows you to reduce dead stock in your back room, so you’re not wasting space with unused or unpopular beverages.

Example #3

Do traffic and hard-to-navigate roads make deliveries to and from your establishment a headache? If so, liquor inventory software can help there too. For instance, automatic purchase orders decrease the need for rush orders and other inefficiencies. As a result, you can save money by focusing on fewer, more effectively placed orders.

Example #4

Does your bar have a rooftop patio? If so, inventory management technology can help you prepare for a crazy summer season so you never run out of sangria.

Overall, using an inventory app is incredibly useful as it helps you save on costs, stay organized, and watch your sales grow. Most importantly, you are actually investing less time in the inventory process, not more.

As a whole, smart technology gives you a leg up over the competition by providing you with reliable information about your current stock. This allows you to identify any areas of waste, theft, and other common challenges in the restaurant industry.

How do you keep track of bar inventory?

In general, the process of tracking inventory is a tedious one. While it may not be difficult, it is very easy to make mistakes or skip critical steps. Fortunately, an app makes it easy to keep track of everything you need for inventory in one central location.

Below, we broke down how to calculate liquor inventory step-by-step, including the tools you need to accomplish each:

  • First, open your software. Then, scan your bottles using your barcode scanner. The type of scanner will vary based on your equipment and your software’s capabilities. However, the best tools now allow you to use your phone’s camera as a barcode scanner.
  • Next, weigh open bottles using a liquor inventory scale.
  • Separately, count and record all closed bottles. Also, be sure to record kegs, cases or other product that might not have a barcode.
  • Repeat this process for all areas of the bar and storage rooms.
  • Double check your inventory or cross-check it with another trusted employee.

Lastly, your software will conduct all the calculations you need for you. After, generate a report and use it to make long-term decisions about what and what not to stock.

The Benefits of Using Bar Inventory Software

In case it wasn’t already clear, there are dozens of reasons why alcohol inventory software is critical for success. Without it, inventory processes can quickly become haphazard, inconsistent, and inaccurate. Beyond freeing up time in your schedule and improving the quality of your inventory, an app also:

Reduces unforeseen shortages

Unsurprisingly, customers don’t love it when their bar of choice runs out of their favorite drink. If it happens multiple times, you’ll feel the impact on your customer happiness and bottom line.

On the other hand, maybe you notice you’re running low on a critical item, like your customers’ favorite draft beer before a big game, and place a rush order to receive it as quickly as possible. While you might save points on customer happiness, last-minute orders are an unnecessary expense that can be easily avoided with proper organization.

With comprehensive inventory management, you can better manage your stock by accurately predicting what you need and when you need it. Ultimately, this prevents shortages, improves customer service, and protects against unplanned, out-of-budget costs.

Minimizes waste

Waste is never a good thing in business, but it is especially dangerous for bars and restaurants. While some lost product is inevitable, there are huge opportunities to reduce waste as a result of employee theft, spillage, over pouring, and free drinks.

With accurate and timely inventory management, you can identify when waste is happening and actively take measures to prevent it. Employee education and training, setting pars, and ordering exactly how much inventory you need all go a long way to protecting your most valuable asset.

Also, software provides more benefits in the form of easy and safe ordering. Instead of choosing between vendors and liquor types yourself, you can rest assured you’re getting the best deals and quality with automatic ordering tools.

Increases profits

Last, but certainly not least, accurate and efficient bar inventory can help you make more profitable business decisions. With insights from your sales and inventory data, you can make your customers happier so they keep coming back.

6 Best Practices for Managing your Alcohol Inventory

You already know the benefits of proper beverage inventory management, so let’s take a look at some industry best practices. Above all, these can really take your bar or restaurant inventory system to the next level.

1) Be consistent

To begin, if you take inventory every week, never stop taking it every week. Skipping an inventory session every once and a while may not seem like a big deal, but it’s an easy way to make avoidable mistakes. Therefore, you should get into an inventory routine that works for your team and your bar’s needs.

2) “First-in, first out”

In addition, adopt the “first-in, first-out” method by using your oldest products first when serving customers. That’s not to say you should be serving spoiled or expired product. In fact, if you apply this method you should avoid expired product all together. This helps ensure you’re moving product as efficiently as possible and using your inventory wisely.

3) Creatively incorporate unpopular products

Now, imagine you invested in several bottles of a new flavored vodka and months later, it’s gathering dust in your back room because customers just weren’t interested. Rather than letting it go to waste or implementing an unprofitable sale, incorporate it into one of your more profitable mixed drinks. Alternatively, you can create a new seasonal special to move it out of the bar without losing money.

4) Evaluate drink prices and menus

Whether you’ve been in business for one year or one decade, customer preferences change constantly. As a result, you should make a habit of reviewing your menu and drink prices to ensure you’re keeping up with new trends. All in all, having effective alcohol inventory software can help you compete against other establishments in your city. Specifically, it can aid you in making technical decisions around pricing based on the best alcohol to use.

5) Determine employee roles

Not every employee should be trained or added as a user on your software. Simply, train one or two trusted employees to take inventory. For the rest of your team, involve them in the process through company-wide goals and benchmarks.

6) Analyze data and trends regularly

When you’re investing in software, you have highly valuable sales data right at your fingertips. That being said, you should use it to make better decisions about ordering, deals, promotions, and more.

Why choose WISK to manage your beverage inventory?

For the most part, choosing the right alcohol inventory software is by no means an easy job, especially if you’ve never used one before. However, as shown above, using an app is crucial for minimizing costs, time, and even stress. That’s where WISK shines. With our bar stock control app, you can take full control of your bottles, your orders, and your sales data. On top of that, we offer a digital scale integration for accurate weights and a barcode scanner for fast bottle processing. There’s no longer a reason to be out of the loop and waste potential revenue as a result.

Don't underestimate the impact of a well-chosen alcohol inventory software. It's the tool that can streamline your processes, optimize your inventory, and, ultimately, see your ROI in the green.

Sign up for our free 14-day trial below to receive all the benefits of using software to control your inventory. For more resources, please go to https://www.wisk.ai/for/wisk-bar-management-software.


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