Last Updated:
February 29, 2024

10 successful bar stock control habits you should adopt

Improve your bar's profitability with successful stock control habits! Adopt these actionable tips to keep your inventory in check and maximize profits.
10 successful bar stock control habits you should adopt
Angelo Esposito
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Table of Contents

Raise your hand if bar stock control is the best part of being a bar manager. No one? We thought so. Keeping track of stock is a long and often frustrating process.

Now, raise your hand if any of these sound familiar:

  • Long hours in the back room
  • Mysterious discrepancies
  • Late nights hunched over a spreadsheet
  • Ordering too much takeout pizza from all the long nights
  • Still not having a clear picture of your inventory!

We’re imagining more hands raised this time. If you can relate to any of the above inconveniences, just know that it doesn’t have to be this way. In this blog, we’ve put together a list of 10 easy habits to make your inventory process more successful. After reading, you’ll be able to say goodbye to spending long nights in the back room for good.

What is bar inventory control?

This term, also known as "bar stock control", is the complete list of liquor and other stocked products you serve your customers. It includes spirits, beer, and wine, along with non-alcoholic beverages like juice and soda. In other words, it relates to any liquid you offer on your menu or in your mixed drinks.

Keep in mind that inventory is a bar’s biggest asset. With too little inventory, bars miss out on sales by not having enough product on hand to make drinks. This leaves customers unhappy and unlikely to return. However, too much inventory is also costly for a bar. It can crowd the back room and other storage areas. It also increases the risk of wasting perfectly good product before it can be used.

No matter how you go about beverage inventory management, it’s important to do it the right way for your bar’s unique needs.

How to Use Stock Control to Make Your Bar More Profitable

To start, there are a number of benefits that result from conducting successful inventory. Each of these benefits not only optimize all operations, but also help to increase your profits. By building good habits and implementing the right bar inventory system, you can expect:

Less waste at your bar

Finally, you’ll never have to throw out a bottle again because it went bad while sitting unused in your back room. Bar stock control ensures you know exactly how much you have on hand. At the same time, good habits ensure you use everything effectively.

We’ll explain more later.

Fewer drink shortages

The flip side of wasting too much product is running out of it. Surely, no one likes to be refused of their favorite drink. So, stop running into this problem by always having what you need in stock to satisfy your customers.

Better optimized purchase orders

You’ll be able to stop paying extra to rush order more beer before football games on Sundays. Also, you’ll know exactly how much you need to order and when to order it. Overall, with bar inventory software, you can often automate this whole process for even more savings.

More time on your hands

With all of the time saved from ineffective inventory processes, you can direct your attention to other areas of the business, such as staffing, making menu updates, and networking with others in the industry.

10 Habits for Better Bar Stock Control

Now, you know what bar inventory is and the benefits of it. Next, it’s time to learn what behavioral changes you can make for an even more successful process. By adopting the following 10 habits, you’ll see more profits, a smoother inventory system, happier employees, and all around better results for your bar or restaurant.

1) Follow the “First-In, First-Out” rule

The First-In, First-Out rule is simple. All you have to do is use the oldest products in your bar first, before they go bad. In addition, don’t use brand new stock before you’ve run out of existing stock. All in all, this practice helps cut down on dead stock and waste. It makes organizing your back room easier as well.

2) Count inventory consistently

This is a big one. By all means, inventory control works best when done on a regular basis. Not only should inventory be conducted regularly, it should also be conducted on the same day of the week and at the same time of day.

For example, if you count inventory on Tuesday at 11, then always count on Tuesdays at 11. It is also a good idea to have the same one or two employees conducting inventory each time. This helps to decrease mistakes and gaps in counting that can lead to big losses down the road.

3) Keep track of fluctuations in your stock

Consider all of the things you could do with insights into your sales data. Is beer more popular on weekdays while cocktails are more popular on Saturdays? Are there any specific menu items that are more in demand in the summer? On a whole, knowing these trends can help you prepare for busy times. As a result, you’ll never run low on what you need.

Beyond that, keeping track of fluctuations can also help you spot where waste or theft might be happening. You’ll never know if you’re missing more product than usual if you don’t know what usual even is.

4) But, be realistic about waste

That being said, it is also a good habit to be realistic about waste and not focus too much on it. Some waste at a bar is inevitable. Between free drinks, spillage, theft, and over-pouring, you will lose some product. Getting stuck on this type of waste will take up a lot of your own time and lead to frustrated employees. Instead, be realistic and make changes where you can.

5) Be detail-oriented

When it comes to bar stock control, the devil is most certainly in the details. Whether you are naturally detail-oriented or not, it’s an important habit to cultivate.

Double check your numbers and always get two sets of eyes on inventory counts to ensure accuracy. The best thing to do is to consider using a liquor scale app to get the most accurate measurements and record exact amounts. After, keep detailed records of all orders, invoices, and purchases. Doing this will ensure you have everything you need for successful inventory. It will keep the process moving smoothly as well.

6) Double-check your work

On the subject of being detail-oriented, you should be accuracy-oriented as well. Get in the habit of double-checking your work like you learned back in school. This reduces the risk of human error and otherwise avoidable mistakes.

7) Mark upcoming holidays

It’s important to not only be aware of big holidays like Halloween or Christmas, but also small holidays. Think about hashtag holidays like #NationalTacoDay or #NationalRumDay and how they might impact your business so you can plan accordingly.

The smartest bar owners know that while they might not personally “celebrate” holidays like these, their customers might. Consequently, it’s essential to plan for them. Whether it’s themed cocktails or themed trivia nights, these holidays can do wonders for your bottom line. In other words, you can create promotions and specials around them to drive more business.

8) Optimize the type of alcohol you order

A great habit for bar owners is to get used to regularly reviewing the type of alcohol you order for example a bottle of gin, to make sure it still makes sense. There may be better, newer options out there, but you won’t know unless you check. Along the same lines, review menu items as well to remove any unpopular items or add more of the types of drinks your customers are loving. Industry trends and customer tastes change constantly, so this is an important habit to develop.

9) Get organized

None of these habits are any good if you’re not already in the habit of being organized. This is important for all aspects of your business. Make sure employees keep the back room and bar neat and that everything has a place. Also, be sure to create files to store information on your laptop for easy access. In addition, keep duplicates of all your important paperwork in a safe location.

Last but not least, ensure your staff is organized too and following all the rules and procedures you put in place to run a tight ship. Without organization, nothing else will go as smoothly as possible.

10) Know your customers

Above all, the most important habit a bar manager can adopt is knowing their customers. Know what makes them happy and what makes them complain. Know what they want and what they think you are missing. This will help inform not only what type of product you stock, but also which inventory system and software will best fit your needs.

Failing to know your customers will lead to less business and inefficient processes overall. So, start making it a habit to get feedback to know what you need to improve on.

Want to go above and beyond? Get WISK.

While any habit takes time to implement, WISK makes it easy. In fact, WISK will make everything about inventory easier. With a simple interface and all the tools you need to run your business, you will gain more time and peace of mind. See your ROI thrive by adopting these successful bar stock control habits.

Sign up now by clicking below. You can also get more details on our app’s capabilities by visiting https://www.wisk.ai/for/wisk-bar-management-software.


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