EXPO 2022 | Aug 14-17 | Bally's Las Vegas

Mastering Inventory Seminar

mast inventory 00006As your mother used to say, waste not, want not. Few things can affect your bottom line more than inventory control. If you order too much, you can be over-extended financially and risk product waste; and if you order too little, you can miss out on sales. At EXPO 2015, our experts advised club staff on the best ways to predict upcoming sales and order inventory accordingly, and how to track that inventory for future orders, from liquor to food to napkins. Our speakers included James Watkins, Beverage Director of RCI Management (Rick’s Cabaret) and Kenny Williams of MAL Entertainment and Scores Holding.
Here, we’ve printed a selection of their EXPO comments.

mast inventory 00027James Watkins

Doing inventory is boring as hell nobody likes to do it. It is something that can be the biggest profit area for a club owner, but it can also be one of your biggest loss areas, too. You must pay attention to how you structure your inventory, as well as how you can benefit from carrying certain brands. Everything you have in your liquor room and what you have behind your bar should serve a purpose.
Everything you carry should have a purpose. For us at Rick’s, our inventory is dependent upon a system called Barkeep. Now there are a lot of good inventory systems out there like Partender and others, but there are those that are best suited for you. However, a system that will do you justice is a system that will keep an accurate count of what you have on hand, the usage you’re going through and how to account for the loss, because in the bar industry you can almost expect theft as an expected loss. Whether that’s a bartender giving drinks away or over pouring, it’ll happen. You want your inventory to be overseen by your best employees, and you can count it weekly, bi-weekly, just depending on what your preferences are. Some clubs do once a month.
For us, we do a monthly count with our best managers handling those counts. It is the nickels and dimes of everything. By utilizing your inventory, you start to realize that there are a lot of different brands out there that can help you benefit your club and grow your profit, grow your brand, but you also have to protect what you have and that’s by doing a monthly inventory.
Everyone knows how to count their bottles. But something I like to stress though is what types of brands you carry and what kind of partnerships and relationships you can build because of those brands. Most clubs are dealing with either Southern Wine and Spirits, Glaziers Republic, Johnson Brothers, what have you. By utilizing the distributors that are out there, your club can have a more successful event or party whether that is through support or a buyback. Remember that these distributors have quotas they need to fill.

Kenny Williams

mast inventory 00056Let us talk about the lack of inventory control. Your bartenders can kill you, waitresses can kill, even managers can kill your business if the general manager or owner isn’t paying attention to inventory. Inventory control is very important. At MAL, we do it three times a day; we count every beer in the club, we weigh every bottle in the club, three times a day. Is there still theft? Yes. But it’s very minimal.
Lack of inventory control for single location clubs can either make you or break you. And it’s a laziness thing sometimes. Nobody likes doing it.  There are a lot of automatic systems out there built to help you. Sometimes I hear owners say, “Well, it’s a money thing, I can’t afford an inventory system.” Okay well, all it takes is a pencil and paper or a spreadsheet on your PC. Just keep up with it.
A good par system is important too; you want your money in the bank not sitting on a shelf in your office. Pay attention to what is selling and if you’re doing inventory every day, a par system will tell you what is moving and what isn’t moving.
Pars are very important, not just for liquor and your beers, but also for your bar product. Human nature dictates that if there are a lot of something people might end up taking one or two for themselves. So keep on eye on all your inventory, not just what you’re selling.
If you’re on a tight budget, picking up a spreadsheet and writing everything down starting tomorrow is my best advice. You might lose a few customers over it because they’re used to coming into your bar and only spending $40 dollars for $100 worth of booze. You might lose a couple bartenders or servers too, because they’ll think that they can’t make any money at your club. So be it. The quicker you get started, the quicker your profit margins will go up.

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