Last Updated:
November 15, 2023

Beverage inventory management: 5 reasons not to outsource to a third party service

Considering outsourcing beverage inventory management? Read our article for 5 reasons why it may not be the best option for your restaurant.
Beverage inventory management: 5 reasons not to outsource to a third party service
Bogdan Patynski
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Beverage inventory management is no easy task. So, why would you make it more difficult by outsourcing it to a third party? We’ve seen firsthand just how inconvenient and inefficient using these services are.

By offering these services ourselves in the past, we noticed consistent errors and unhappy clients day after day. Meanwhile, all of our clients who did inventory internally using our app (and continue to do so) experienced significantly better results.

So, what does it mean to use a third party service for beverage inventory management? In simpler terms, It’s when you hire a company to come to your bar and do inventory counts for you.

Now, if you’ve ever had to do inventory before, this may sound like a godsend. If you’ve ever used pen & paper, you may be jumping at the opportunity to hire someone else to do the deed that needs to be done.

However, outsourcing isn't the best or smartest solution for a number of reasons. We’ll explain these reasons shortly.

To start, why would you even consider third party services in the first place?

Let’s be frank. You’re reading this article because you’ve either tried this service or you’re thinking of trying it. So, before we move into listing the reasons why it’s not worth it to hire another party, here’s why you might have the desire to:

  • Inventory is time consuming
  • You hate using pen & paper and spreadsheets
  • Your staff is untrustworthy

Though these are interesting arguments, they can all be debunked. As you keep reading, you’ll see why none of the above points justify outsourcing your alcohol inventory.

Top 5 Reasons Not to Outsource your Liquor Inventory

From our own experiences at WISK, we’ve been able to pinpoint the most important reasons why hiring a third party company isn’t an effective strategy by any means. Here they are below:

1) No one can count your beverage inventory better than you can

When we offered this service in the past, we found that the weekly reports just didn’t make sense. This only led to dissatisfied clients and frustration all around. On the other hand, everyone who used our app to count bottles on their own, did not experience the same poor results. Their stock was in order, their beverage cost was going down, and most importantly, there were much fewer errors.

In addition, our current clients would tell us how disappointed they were using the third party services offered by other bar inventory apps. For example, these services would often lead to miscounts as a result of unfamiliar stock locations. To clarify, they would miss counting bottles behind staircases and other areas of the bar that you would only be familiar with.

One of the reasons why you might favor outsourcing is to have an impartial party controlling your inventory. This makes no sense. You trust others with the key, cash, and more on a daily basis. So, why wouldn’t you trust someone with your inventory? If you can’t trust even one person on your staff, this is a conflict of interest issue not an inventory one.

“You have a staff problem not an inventory problem,” - Angelo Esposito, CEO of WISK.

Overall, no one knows your own inventory better than you and your staff. Hiring an external team to come in and mess around with your stock can only lead to disturbances. This brings us to our next point.

2) Your bar space will be messier and less productive

This is not surprising. Why would you care about about keeping boxes tidy and bottles in order if you’re not the one who has to deal with them? The major problem with this is that managers become less motivated to take care of the condition of their bars if they don’t have to worry about taking inventory later.

For example, a lot of our clients who were using third party services would always leave piled up boxes around as well as shove other items into stockrooms. Generally, their bars were messier and not well-kept.

There are only disadvantages when it comes to working in messy spaces. For instance, it’s easier to overlook important things when everything around you is disorganized.

In addition, messier spaces make miscounts inevitable, which only lead to inaccurate consumption reports and ultimately, inaccurate variance reports. Overall, there’s a greater chance that you’ll keep everything neat, tidy, and organized at all times if you know you have to do inventory internally later. Whether it’s you or your staff, you are not going to make the process more difficult for yourself by keeping your space messy.

Neglecting your bar isn’t the answer here. Staying motivated to improve on cleanliness is. You’ll thank us in the end.

3) Ordering bar stock is less efficient

First of all, third party services cannot order for you. As a result, you are stuck planning out your orders separately based on the inventory numbers you are given. The whole point of beverage inventory management is to save on costs. And managers seem to overorder supplies just to ensure they have more than they need.

Though, when you’re ordering more stock than you need, you’re also spending more money than you need to. The only way to know exactly how much stock you truly need to meet demand is to do inventory yourself.

Since third parties are never risking their own profits, they just don’t care enough because it’s not their money, it’s yours. They’ll only deliver overall numbers and never give you the opportunity to save as much as possible. Consequently, you could even be purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of unnecessary stock per week based on inaccurate numbers.

By using WISK and keeping track of bar inventory yourself, you’ll be able to calculate how much inventory you really need to never run out. You won’t ever have to feel the pain of having too many Grey Goose bottles again week after week. Also, you’ll be able to order more intelligently based on your own accurate counts.

4) Outsourcing liquor inventory management is expensive

Third party services not only cost hundreds of dollars more than our bar inventory app, but they are also not worth the investment. Sure, you won’t ever have to lift a finger if someone comes in and does everything for you. However, you would be paying between $800 and $1000 more for something that only takes a few hours to do.

Also, to recoup costs on $100-$200 (the approximate cost of WISK) a month is much easier than on close to $1000 for a third party. Above all, it’s much easier to save on losses when you’re spending hundreds of dollars less on beverage inventory management a month. You don’t want to lose more money than you have to. Instead, a member of your staff could use WISK for a much lower cost.

Overall, hiring a third party to manage your inventory isn’t much more advantageous than using our bar inventory software. The service doesn’t offer anything more than what you would get with WISK.

In addition, when you use WISK, you also get the following benefits on top of saving costs. You wouldn’t get any of these features from a third party service:

  • POS integration
  • Instant variance reports
  • Ordering and receiving
  • Recipe costing
  • Sales analytics

5) There is no way to integrate with your POS system

After a third party does their count, you’ll have to send in your sales report yourself at a later time. Essentially, what they do is go into your POS and extract your sales using their own manual system. And if you’ve learned anything about manual input, you would know that it only leads to more errors and longer wait times for variance reports.

With WISK, every time you submit an inventory, you’ll receive a variance report and any other sales data instantly. You won’t have to wait days for another party to get back to you and more importantly, you won’t be receiving last week’s report when it’s already Wednesday of next week.

Also, if you ever want to make a change to a recipe, you’ll have to communicate with the third party to implement it. Imagine having to email back and forth every time you want to update your recipes. Even wanting to change something as small as the number of ounces of Maker’s Mark in your Old Fashioned, could take 48 hours to come into effect.

In comparison, when you use WISK, you’ll be able to change your recipes right away. Using the same example as above, you’ll be able to go in yourself and switch the number of ounces in your cocktail with no hassle. Overall, having to communicate with another party every time you have to make a minor change is not time or cost-efficient.

Trust WISK For Advanced Bar Inventory Management All in One Place

Even if you’re still on the fence after reading this article, there are no risks when signing up for WISK. Set up only takes 30 mins and then you can start your fist inventory right away. Within a few weeks, you’ll get the hang of it and finally be in full control of your beverage inventory management operations.

In addition, we encourage you to try our software alongside a third party service to see the difference for yourself. You wouldn’t be sacrificing more than a few hundred dollars to test this and you’ll get the full picture of why our software is so valuable.

After trying WISK, you can cancel anytime if you’re not satisfied. This means you can walk away at any point and go back to your third party service if you’ve deemed WISK is not for you.

Now, if this was 10 or 15 years ago, before technology was so advanced, we would understand the desire to hire a third party. We can admit that the technology just wasn’t there yet. There were no digital receipts and all counting was done manually. Inventory was so difficult and time consuming that it made sense to bring in someone else to handle it.

Nevertheless, it’s 2023 and WISK has everything you need to streamline bar inventory end to end, ensuring you see your ROI improve with every efficient decision you make. From inventory management and ordering to beverage costing and POS integration, you can finally be in full control of all operations. Interested? Discover all the value you can get from using WISK. Sign up to claim your free 2-months period.


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