I’m a beer drinker. While craft cocktails are proving a lucrative line of business for many bar owners these days, I personally get more excited to try a new IPA. My love of beer, mixed with a professional interest in making bars profitable, is something that makes this post all the more important. In many bars, the bartenders are literally pouring the bar owner’s draft beer and therefore profits down the drain.
Allow me to explain: Simple logic would suggest that the correct way to serve a draft beer is to place a clean glass under the tap and then turn on the draft beer tap. What I observe time and time again in bars is bartenders turning on the tap, letting it run for half a second or so, and then placing the glass under the tap. It makes no difference to the customer, but every time it’s done, an ounce or so of carefully crafted, deliciously chilled beer runs through the drip tray and down the drain. Perhaps this doesn’t happen in your bar but I recommend you watch every one of your bartenders pull a few beers just to be sure. It’s amazing how many times I run a pouring clinic and observe bartenders wasting beer in this manner. When asked why they use this technique they typically reply something like, “that’s the way I was taught to do it” without too much thought or engagement about any possible benefits or costs.
Allow me to run some numbers on beer cost management for the point of illustration: Many neighborhood bars do around $30k in beer, liquor and wine sales per month. Assuming 30% is from draft beer sales and an average price of $4 per beer, that equates to 2,250 beers sold each month. If your bartenders are wasting just one ounce per beer they serve in a year you’d be missing almost 14 full 15.5 gallon kegs of beer over the course of a year. Assume a cost of $80 per keg and your bartender’s sloppy pouring habits cost a bar like this $1000 a year. Assuming a 14.5oz pour size, (allowing for head in a 16oz glass) an extra ounce of beer is an extra 7% or over 1.5% added to a draft beer cost of 24%.
While $1000 isn’t going to make or break most bar’s financial year, the point is that it’s a $1000 that’s being spent for no appreciable benefit. You could give away five beers every day to your customers instead of pouring those 14 kegs down the drain. Those comped beers will surely create more value for your business. If you’d like us to provide beer cost management and money saving tips tailored to your bar on a regular basis, consider using our liquor inventory service. There’s no faster way to count your liquor inventory and there’s more profit maximizing tips where this one came from.