Last Updated:
October 3, 2023

Here’s why an alcohol inventory app is key for success

Bar managers, learn why bar inventory apps are crucial to simplifying alcohol inventory tracking. Ensure accurate stock levels for bar success!
Here’s why an alcohol inventory app is key for success
Angelo Esposito
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Making the switch to a bar inventory app may seem like a small change, but it can actually be critical to the success of your bar. With constantly changing competition and busy nights, it's important to have a reliable system in place that can help you stay ahead of the game.

Being organized is key to success in any industry, but especially so in the hospitality business. A good liquor inventory app gives you an advantage over other bars by providing easy access to inventory records, intelligent insights about your business, and opportunities for optimization. Automating your inventory system can help you do that by getting rid of manual inventory processes like excel sheets and paper. Count inventory faster, make better decisions and reduce waste with a bar inventory app.

If you're looking to manage inventory quickly, correctly, and effectively, read on to find out how bar inventory software can help you—and why that's even important in the first place. We'll also explore some of the best practices for managing your bar more efficiently overall.

What is bar inventory management?

At its most basic, taking inventory is simply logging what supplies you have on hand, like liquor, beer, and wine. But it often involves time-consuming and complicated bar inventory formulas that go beyond counting bottles.

Beverage inventory management software is designed to make your life simpler by handling most of the work for you in inventory taking. More specifically, it calculates how much liquor stock you use daily, weekly, or monthly. On top of that, it also helps optimize drink prices and place new orders while identifying areas of wasted product.

Not to mention, many modern software systems have integrations as well, like a Bluetooth scale that can weigh different bottles precisely. Also, some of these same systems even include direct POS integration to make inventory tracking and sales data collection more straightforward. Not only do bar inventory apps make your bar run more smoothly, but they also offer tools to help you with your inventory counts, boost future sales and provide a top-notch experience for your customers.

The Benefits of Using a Bar Inventory App

As a bar operator, you are fully aware that you constantly have to juggle multiple responsibilities. And one of those is ensuring your stock count is precise because it's pivotal for the success of your establishment. The bar management software not only aids you in briskly keeping track of your inventory but also lets you analyze business costs and provides vital information about the status of your pub- all while saving time.

When it comes to using software management, there are always plenty of benefits. But having app features specific to a bar inventory app, provides even more advantages, including:

1) Convenience

For the most part, everyone can appreciate convenience but no one more so than a bar manager counting inventory at 4 am. On the whole, bar inventory apps have the benefit of automating processes and operating on multiple devices to save valuable time. Also, most of them can integrate with other tools to make inventory almost completely automatic.

2) Creating better seasonal promotions

In order to attract more customers, be sure to use bar inventory software to create irresistible deals on rosé, weekend rooftop parties, and local beer specials. In this situation, predictive analytics and easy-to-read sales data will help you generate promotions that bring in more foot traffic.

3) Anticipating busy days

Furthermore, you can be prepared for the next time your team wins the Stanley Cup or a popular band plays at the theater down the street with software. In this case, the bar inventory software helps you monitor inventory count, and stock usage and quickly analyze your total sales to make easy purchase orders and prepare for high-volume days.

4) Spending less time in your backroom

Lastly, whether your city or neighborhood is vibrant or not, there will always be tons of competition. With this in mind, your time is best spent getting to know your customers, building relationships with the other restaurants in your area, and capitalizing on changing trends. In reality, you can’t get through all of this unless you have enough time to spend in the front room to improve future sales.

Why is it so important to have inventory management software?

A bar inventory app doesn't only forestall costly errors, but it also keeps your customers happy. By having a good sense of your beverage inventory at all times, you can quickly and easily see what is available on your bar shelves without having to search through everything.

As an example, a long-standing bar in your city has served patrons for decades, with a loyal customer base. Their no-nonsense classic cocktails and domestic beer buckets never fail to please thirsty customers all nights of the week. However, in recent months, the bar manager notices that while business appears busy as usual, sales are steadily declining.

With a basic inventory process, this manager will know how to calculate stock usage to ensure he or she isn’t experiencing employee theft or unnecessary waste. But with smart data-analytics-driven software, they’ll also be able to pinpoint exactly why sales are decreasing. With this data, they can figure out how to address the issue before it gets out of control.

7 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Bar Inventory

1) Stay consistent

It's important to be consistent with your bar's inventory taking, so always do it weekly. Even though skipping an inventory session every once and a while may not seem like a big deal, it’s an easy way to make avoidable mistakes. Therefore, the best thing to do is to get into a tracking inventory routine that works for both you and your team.

2) Be accurate

Undoubtedly, accuracy is crucial to managing a successful bar. From knowing exactly how much inventory you have to accurately track your bar costs, it all comes down to accuracy. Make sure you double-check your inventory sheets and numbers every time.

Additionally, an inventory app with POS system integration will allow you to take more accurate inventory, including labor costs and the hours your employees work. It is crucial to be precise so that you have a realistic understanding of what your bar’s largest asset is worth.

3) Evaluate drink and menu prices

Whether you’ve been in business for one year or one decade, customer preferences and the industry change constantly. At this point, take our bar from the example earlier. When properly calculating liquor inventory, they should make a habit of reviewing their menu and drink prices to ensure they’re holding up against consumer trends and local competitors. Overall, having a strong and functional bar inventory app can help you compete against other establishments when taking inventory to save costs.

4) Keep backup inventory

While dead stock can be a drain on your resources, that isn’t to say that additional reserves of popular bottles are a bad idea. In fact, having a few extra kegs of your most popular draft beer can be a lifesaver when you experience a busier-than-expected Sunday and start to run out. Like everything, backup inventory is best in moderation. Nevertheless, it is certainly an effective technique in any smart bar manager’s back pocket.

5) Differentiate yourself

It’s important to realize, whether your bar has existed for hundreds of years or just a few days, being innovative is key. To stand out, create new drinks, allow your bartenders to experiment, and keep track of your customer’s preferences to find new opportunities to wow them. For instance, deals, promotions, and exceptionally good service can also go a long way in setting your bar apart from others.

6) Analyze data and trends regularly

With highly sophisticated inventory software, you’ll always have valuable bar sales data right at your fingertips. Hence, you should use the data to make smarter decisions about orders, deals, and promotions that will ultimately increase your bottom line.

7) Train your staff

It is essential that all staff members know how to document beverage inventory and use bar inventory software correctly. This includes having a system in place for counting, recording, and monitoring liquor usage. Additionally, it is crucial to stress the importance of complying with procedures and keeping records up-to-date. Doing so will save time in the long run.

3 Goals to Have for your Beverage Inventory System

Before we move forward, let’s revisit the struggling bar example above and identify what inventory goals they might have to improve their business. Below are widely applicable goals, whether your bar is struggling, thriving, or somewhere in between.

1) Identifying waste & dead stock

In the long run, waste, spillage, overpouring, theft, or too many free drinks, can make a huge impact on your bottom line. That said, the first goal of inventory is simply to provide a catalog of what stock you have on hand so you can easily compare it to bar sales and find where waste occurs.

Another drain on your resources is dead stock, and product that sits unused in your bar or back room. For this reason, using the inventory you already have on hand more effectively, is a quick and easy way to increase profit margins. The liquor inventory software will help guide you through what and what not to order more of. As a result, you can avoid the dead stock for good.

2) Lowering alcohol costs

Lastly, maybe the bar in the example has always ordered the same type of bourbon for their Old Fashioned, as it’s their most popular drink. If that whiskey brand increases its prices, the bar might end up paying a premium without realizing it. As a solution, an online inventory management system helps bar managers choose the most cost-effective alcohol brands. Equally important, it also automates purchase orders to decrease the frequency of rush orders and other costly practices for optimizing sales.

3) Streamlining operations

Ask yourself, is your bar open too many nights per week? Or not enough? Are you ordering too much gin and not enough draft beer? Are your customers dying for you to start stocking a specific cult favorite? Is it time to train your employees on pouring best practices or reevaluate your drink prices? Above all, an app can tell you all of this and more. Once you identify areas of opportunity, you can fully cut down on the amount of time spent on conducting liquor inventory.

4) Up-to-date and accurate data

Bar inventory apps replace the tedious and time-consuming process of manual inventory with an automated inventory process that is also compatible with other software you might already be using. Examples include your bar’s POS system and accounting software. Not only does this automate the process, but it also provides you with real-time data that is constantly updated. This allows you to quickly see what inventory needs to be restocked without taking your employees away from their other tasks.

What are the features of a good bar inventory app?

Although most bar inventory apps have similar basic features, the more sophisticated ones include additional capabilities. Here are the features that all best bar inventory apps should have:

Easy-to-use interface –The interface should be designed in a way that is both user-friendly and easy to navigate so that staff can quickly become familiar with its capabilities. The system should also have an easy-to-use dashboard to provide users with a comprehensive overview of inventory at all times, including how much product is available and what needs to be ordered.

Machine learning capabilities – The app should use data analytics and machine learning algorithms to identify trends and make smarter decisions about inventory.

Automated purchase orders – the app should be able to automatically generate purchase orders based on stock levels so that you never run out of supplies.

POS Integration and other softwareThe app should connect with POS, accounting, and payment processing software for streamlined transactions. Automatic invoicing and payment processing apps should generate invoices and process payments with little effort.

Security features – the app should include security features like encryption and two-factor authentication to ensure that your data is secure.

Reporting capabilities – the app should be able to generate reports on inventory levels, sales performance, and customer trends so that you can make informed decisions about your business.

Multiple users access – The app should be accessible from multiple devices so that they can manage your inventory remotely. The app should allow multiple employees to access and manage inventory securely from smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Integrated Bluetooth scale - The app should be able to connect with a Bluetooth scale so your employees can measure each batch of drinks correctly and swiftly.

Online database integration – the app should be able to integrate with online databases so that you can easily connect to suppliers.

Real-time notifications – the app should be able to send real-time notifications about low stock levels so that you can restock as soon as possible.

Task scheduling – the liquor inventory app should be able to set up automated tasks for employees and provide reminders when a task is due.

Smartphone camera integration – the inventory app should be able to integrate with a smartphone camera so that employees can quickly scan barcodes when entering and stocking inventory.

Customer support – the app should provide customer support so that you can get help if you have any questions or encounter any issues with using it.

How bar inventory apps like WISK can help you take control of your inventory

All things considered, if you’re operating a bar and are looking for the best bar inventory app, you came to the right place. WISK is a multi-purpose software with tools to help you conduct inventory and make decisions to improve your bar’s profitability. With beverage analytics, BlueTooth scale integration, recipe costing, and easy ordering, WISK is the bar assistant you can rely on to improve your day-to-day operations.

As you implement an alcohol inventory app, you'll see your ROI rise, a testament to the smart choice you've made for your business.

To summarize, with WISK, you can finally set yourself apart from the competition while saving yourself time and frustration. Sound too good to be true? It’s really not. Visit https://www.wisk.ai/for/wisk-bar-management-software for more information. Or, sign up below.


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