When thinking about the type of liquor inventory system you want to use with your bar, one of the most important factors to consider is what you’re looking to accomplish with your inventory efforts. While our hybrid bar inventory system provides you with the highly detailed, actionable information necessary to maximize the profitability and efficiency of your bar operations, the cost of this service may exceed what some bar owners have budgeted for the inventory process.
Fortunately, there are other lower cost options that may work better for some of these establishments. The trade off, of course, is losing out on some of this extremely valuable data that will help you reach your bar’s full potential. But if your primary goal for your inventory efforts is to calculate liquor cost and stay on top of your ordering needs, then you may find that some of these other options will work just fine,
Two of the most effective services in this category are Bar-i’s new Speed Count system and Partender’s bar inventory system. This post will discuss these two systems to help you better understand what they can accomplish.
The Partender System
Partender’s bar inventory software helps you keep on top of your pars used for liquor ordering. The purpose of their app is to calculate liquor cost and replace existing systems, such as a clipboard, that perform these tasks slower and less efficiently. Partender doesn’t provide you with deep analytics and other granular data. Their system is simply intended to save you time so that you can do your ordering more efficiently.
Jamie and Scott have met the owners of Partender on several occasions and while they are technically Bar-i’s competitor, we have nothing but the highest regard for their owners and the product they offer. The success that Partender has achieved is very impressive. They work with thousands of clients, which is a testament to the quality of their product.
Partender is a massive upgrade from the clipboard system. It’s run entirely by an app that you can download on your smart phone or tablet. To take inventory of a product, you indicate the level of the liquor in the bottle on a picture that appears on your phone. You then swipe the phone to access the next bottle to be inventoried, and repeat this process with all of your products.
There are several reasons why this system appeals to so many bar owners:
- It’s a “sexy” way to perform inventory – People love their phones and tablets, and they often want to use them for as many functions as possible. Partender capitalizes on this desire, and their app makes the inventory process seem like less of a chore than it is with a clipboard.
- Instant gratification – You can set up their system in about 10 minutes since there’s no equipment required. Once you’ve downloaded their app, you’re ready to start using the system.
- Accessibility – Performing inventory using a phone app is easy, and it’s accessible to just about everyone.
Bar-i’s Speed Count System
Bar-i’s Speed Count system launched this past March as a lower priced alternative to our “Cadillac” products. It’s ideally suited for bar owners who want to use our counting technology (scales, voice command, and mapping system), but don’t really care about receiving the analytics data that helps them match up their sales with their actual usage.
The analytics data is primarily used to improve profitability, which appeals more to bar owners than the managers who have the task of actually performing the inventory process. The managers are more concerned with saving time, and Speed Count will greatly benefit them in this regard. Ultimately, this will free up your managers to devote more time and energy to other aspects of running your bar.
Speed Count also represents a massive upgrade from using a clipboard. It provides a smarter, faster, and much more accurate way to take inventory:
- It only takes 2 seconds to weigh each bottle, so there are very few bar inventory methods that can be completed in less time
- Weighing bottles provides the most accurate measurement of what you have used
The Speed Count system is very easy to use. Place the bottle on the scale, identify the product in the system, and Speed Count automatically enters the data onto a spreadsheet for you. You also have the option to count full items using voice command, a feature that is unique to the industry.
In addition, Speed Count automates your liquor cost calculations and your ordering process. By the time you finish performing inventory, Speed Count will automatically tell you what you need to order for the next week.
Similarities between Partender and Speed Count
There are several similarities in the functionality of these two products:
- Fast, efficient inventory method – Both of these are smarter, faster ways to perform inventory than the clipboard system and represent a significant upgrade to your process.
- Eliminates data transfer – Both of these systems automatically enter your data into the software as you count. When you count with a clipboard, you than have to manually transfer this information into a spreadsheet. Not only is this time consuming, but it creates opportunities for human error.
- Mapping system – Both of these systems utilize a mapping system that allows you to order the products in the system the way they are ordered behind your bar. This significantly speeds up the inventory process.
The mapping systems work a little differently with each product. With Partender, you enter the count for a product and then swipe your phone to view the next product on the list. As a result, you can only access one item at a time. With Speed Count, all items are displayed in list form on your screen. This allows you to pick up the next bottle while you’re still weighing the current one since you can access multiple items at once.
- Automated ordering – Both systems compare the current counts to your pars and instantly generate a list of what needs to be ordered. This list is organized by distributor, making it easier for you to do your ordering.
Differences between Partender and Speed Count
There are also several important differences between these two systems. The right system for your bar will largely depend on which of these factors is most important to you:
- Input method – fancy tenthing vs. weighing
Partender is basically still a tenthing method. They claim their app is roughly 99% accurate, but that’s only if you put the line in the correct place on the image of the bottle that appears on your phone screen. There’s still margin for error due to the subjectivity of where this line is placed.
Speed Count uses a weighing method to determine how much is left in a bottle. Our scales are accurate to the hundredth of an ounce, and it only takes 2 seconds to weigh each bottle. As a result, you have a 100% objective measuring system that is just as fast as Partender. The objectivity achieved with Speed Count makes it a superior input method.
- Time delay and cost of equipment
With Speed Count, you have to order the equipment and wait for it to arrive at your bar, creating a 3-4 day time delay between when you sign up for the service and when you can start using it. In this respect, Partender is better since you can download the app and start using their service instantly.
Also, the Speed Count equipment isn’t cheap. The most popular Bar-i equipment package costs $650, but once you own it, it’s yours to keep even if you discontinue using the service.
- Pricing -- $50/month for Speed Count vs. $399/month for Partender
While the initial startup costs for Speed Count are much higher than for Partender, you start making this up quickly by the difference in the monthly price of each service.
Partender is 8 times more expensive than Speed Count. In the long run, the upfront startup costs are very small compared to the amount of money you’ll save every month by using Speed Count.
Over a year, Speed Count will cost you $450, whereas Partender costs $3,588. Both services offer a 25% discount for signing a year-long contract, so the price of Partender will still be 8 times more than Speed Count.
Both of these systems provide essentially the same service, but the long range cost of Partender is much more significant to your profit margin.
Both systems offer upgrades (Bar-i Speed Count Pro and Partender Platinum) so that you can use this inventory data to improve your profitability. When you use these upgrades, you’re trying to determine precisely what was poured vs. what was sold. This is when it becomes critical to have an extremely accurate inventory count.
This is particularly important with high end products that aren’t sold very often. If you only pour one serving of a product during the inventory period, Partender’s tenthing method won’t be accurate enough to precisely match up the one sale with the usage of this product.
Speed Count provides you with data that is accurate to the hundredth of an ounce, allowing you to precisely compare how much of this product was sold to how much was actually poured.
- Phone app vs. Excel spreadsheet
Partender’s phone app is sexy and provides instant gratification, but Speed Count’s Excel spreadsheet is designed specifically to allow you to perform bar inventory more efficiently.
Most bars already have Excel since you need this to organize your inventory, and most people already have smart phones. As a result, both methods are equally accessible. In this case, it’s more a matter of which method works better for you.
Ultimately, both of these are great products that will significantly benefit your bar compared with using a clipboard for your liquor inventory. But since both represent a significant investment, it’s important to evaluate the differences between them to determine which option you feel would work best for your business.
If you would like to learn more about how Bar-i’s inventory system can help you streamline your processes and maximize profitability, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.