Liquor dispensing systems are a popular method to monitor how much liquor is being poured at your bar. For some restaurants and bars, these systems can be an effective way to manage this important task. However, they are not right for every establishment. For many bars, one of the liquor inventory system alternatives on the market will be a better fit.
It is important to understand the pros and cons of liquor dispensing systems when evaluating whether they will be the right option for your bar. While this article will provide you with some basic information, Bar-i would be happy to discuss your options and answer your questions during a complimentary consultation.
What are Liquor Dispensing Systems?
Liquor dispensing systems use mini-flow meters to track what is being poured in real time. These flow meters are attached directly to liquor bottles. For draft beer, the meter is inserted into the beer line between the keg and the tap behind the bar.
Many liquor dispensing systems are designed to link to your POS system, allowing you to compare what is being poured to what is being sold. This is one of the primary benefits of using a liquor dispensing system at your bar.
What Type of Establishment will Find a Liquor Dispensing System to Be Most Beneficial?
Liquor dispensing systems are most commonly used by:
• Dive bars
• Vegas casinos and large corporate establishments
These systems are an excellent fit for dive bars for two main reasons:
• The majority of sales involve cocktails containing one type of liquor and a mixer, making it easier to achieve actionable information when linked to the POS system
• It is an effective tool for bars that don’t have shift managers supervising their bartenders, as is often the case at a dive bar
Liquor dispensing systems are also an attractive option for Vegas casinos and other large corporate establishments that want to make the amount poured into every drink automatic. These establishments also typically have a large enough budget to easily absorb the sizeable up-front cost associated with liquor dispensing systems.
Problems Associated with Liquor Dispensing Systems
While these systems may be a good fit for the types of establishments discussed above, they are often a poor fit for other types of bars and restaurants for the following reasons:
• High initial cost – The up-front expense to implement a liquor dispensing system at your bar can be very costly. A flow meter must be purchased for every bottle in your bar. Set-up costs typically start at around $8,000 for basic systems, and it can often be much higher. In contrast, alternatives such as Bar-i’s liquor inventory system can be implemented at your bar for a start-up cost of approximately $2,000.
• Customer visibility – In most instances, the flow meters on top of each bottle will be very noticeable to customers. This can give off the impression that your bar is stingy with their pours, something that is typically not appreciated by customers. Many liquor inventory system alternatives can give you the same control over your pouring without being obvious to customers.
• Difficulty matching to sales data – It’s good to know precisely how much of a particular product was poured, but in order to determine what is missing, you need to compare what was poured to what was sold. This comparison can get complicated when you frequently use modifier buttons on your POS system such as “rocks or “martini.” It also gets complicated if you offer specialty drinks which use complex recipes.
• Need to verify accuracy – Flow meters are inaccurate enough that you will need to take constant inventory to verify the accuracy of your information. Additionally, flow meter systems will not tell you when entire bottles of liquor have been stolen. To guard against this risk, you will either need a locked liquor store room or you will need to compare what was poured to your purchase order forms, a task that can more easily be accomplished using an alternative such as Bar-i’s liquor inventory system.
If you would like to learn more about hour our liquor inventory system can benefit your bar, please contact Bar-i today to schedule your free consultation. We provide services to bars nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.