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Bar-i Liquor Inventory Blog

Is Bar-i's Speed Count Inventory System Right for Your Bar?

At Bar-i, we believe that your liquor inventory efforts should be much more than busy work for your manager or simply a tool to know what you need to order. We approach inventory in a way that helps you make more money. To accomplish this goal, we precisely compare what was sold vs. poured for every item served at your bar. This allows us to identify specific products that are missing on a regular basis so that you can make the necessary adjustments to your operations to significantly reduce your weekly inventory shrinkage.

We realize there are businesses that aren’t ready to commit to the cost associated with the pro version of our bar inventory software. This is especially true for bars that are happy with the results they’re getting from their current inventory system, but are just frustrated with the counting process.

bar employees counting inventory behind the barWhile counting inventory is tedious, it’s still an important task to complete. It ensures you know what to order, and it helps you identify items that are missing. Even bars using real-time inventory systems find that they need to physically check what they have on-hand to make sure their system is working properly and to provide a way to ensure liquor isn’t going missing.

Earlier this year, we rolled out the first of four software updates to the Bar-i inventory platform. This first update focused on our Speed Count system, and it allows us to offer our unique counting technology at a fraction of the price of our full-service system. Speed Count is a great option for bars that already have analytics and simply need a faster, more efficient way to count inventory. It’s also a great way to try out our technology before committing to the expense of the pro version and all of the data analysis benefits associated with this product.

What Is Speed Count?

Speed Count is a stripped-down, more affordable version of our bar inventory system. It provides the benefits of our counting system without the robust data analysis associated with our pro option. Speed Count utilizes all of the tools that make our counting process faster and more efficient than other inventory options, including:

  • Barcode scanners
  • Scales
  • Advanced mapping systems
  • Auditability
  • Integrations which allow you to export data to Excel or specialized formats that match restaurant management systems such as Compeat and Restaurant365

If you’re doing weekly inventory counts, then the monthly $50 charge for Speed Count equates to spending $12.50 per inventory count. Most bars spend hours counting inventory, and this system will significantly reduce the amount of time necessary to complete the counting process. This will free up your managers to focus their time and energy on other aspects of your operations which desperately need more attention.

Who Should Consider Speed Count?

taking bar inventory using a clipboardAs we stated earlier, Speed Count is providing the time-savings and efficiency benefits of our process without the robust data analysis. If you’re looking for actionable data that will help you maximize profits, you’ll need to use the pro version of our software. However, we recognize that not all bars are ready to go all-in on their inventory efforts. In these situations, you can still experience tremendous benefits from upgrading to Speed Count, especially if you’re still using a clipboard to take inventory.

Speed Count may be a great option for your bar if:

  • You’re looking for the most efficient way to count inventory
  • You have a large product selection
  • You have a large inventory value
  • You have a high product rotation
  • Multiple people count inventory each week
  • You sell a large number of custom items such as batches and infusions
  • You use a robust restaurant management software platform to run your bar’s operations

A More Efficient Way to Count Inventory

using a scale and barcode scanner to count bar inventoryBottles have barcodes, so the best way to identify them is to scan these barcodes. Alcohol is sold in small increments, so the best way to measure it is using a method that is as accurate as an individual serving. Tenthing provides you with a much larger increment than a typical serving, but scales which take measurements that are even more precise than a typical serving size will provide both the speed and accuracy you need when counting.

With our new equipment packages, your entire hardware setup (wireless barcode scanner, bottle scale and keg scale) costs approximately $200. This is a relatively small price for equipment that will significantly improve the speed and accuracy of your counting process for years to come.

Large Product Selection

A large product selection means there are lots of bottles to count. This can be a time-consuming process if you don’t have a fast counting method.

Many high-end bars have an enormous selection of whisky, vodka, tequila, and other premium liquors. These bars will greatly benefit from using Speed Count. In general, most of the items at high end bars will have a partially full bottle since high end products tend to sell more slowly. It only takes about 2 seconds to weigh each bottle using our system, making it a great fit for a large product selection.

Large Inventory Value

a selection of Pappy Van Winkle premium liquor productsIf you have a large product selection or carry a lot of premium liquors, your inventory represents a significant asset that needs to be tracked. When you have a lot of money tied up in your inventory, it’s crucial that you can accurately track your usage and sales since a high shrinkage level will result in a substantial loss of profits.

When you’re selling glasses of liquor that are $15-20 a glass (or potentially much more than that for very high-end products), missing even 1-2 servings of the product will result in a serious loss of profits. Our scales are accurate to the tenth of an ounce, ensuring that you can track every product down to the serving to make sure nothing is missing.

High Product Rotation

It’s becoming increasingly common for bars to have a rotating draft beer selection or use a large number of small batch and local products. Many bars switch up their products on a weekly or monthly basis, which requires an efficient inventory system to reduce the time spent when you need to update your product list.

Our master list is preloaded with approximately 25,000 items, and we update this list on a weekly basis. This makes adding a new item into the system extremely easy. Scan the barcode of the new product (or look it up by name if there’s no barcode) and the product will appear instantly from our master list.

We dynamically manage your product list so when you take a product out of the counting map, it automatically drops off your list. When you scan a new product into the system, it automatically gets entered into your bar’s unique list and will remain there until you remove it.

Many other inventory services require you to build your own master list item by item. This is tedious and as a result, it can often take months to compile your master list and fully implement the system at your bar. With Bar-i’s process, your master list is done as soon as you’ve scanned each bottle into the system. This allows you to be up and running in a matter of hours.

Multiple Counters are Used Each Week

If you have multiple bars within your establishment, as is common with hotels, casinos and music venues, it’s common to have different people responsible for taking inventory at each bar. This splits up the counting work among several employees, allowing the process to go much faster.

Speed Count allows you to have up to 6 individual counters in the system, and the data compiled from each counter is easily combined by our system. This allows you to have multiple people complete large inventory counts in 1 day, and you’ll receive aggregate data for all of these counts in one easy to read report.

Custom Items (Batches and Infusions)

Premade batches are a common tactic used to save time and ensure that your products maintain consistency. We work with many bars that make house margaritas and other signature cocktails in large quantities, often serving them through draft beer taps to improve the speed of service during busy times. We also work with many bars that infuse liquor products with fruits, herbs, coffee beans and other items to create a unique flavor.

batched house margarita cocktail served at a barTaking inventory of batches and infusions is complicated for several reasons:

  • They are typically stored in custom vessels which have a unique tare weight

  • Combining multiple items into one container changes the tare weight from that of each individual item

  • Alcoholic ingredients are being combined with lower cost ingredients such as soda, fruit juices or triple sec, making it difficult to figure out exactly how much of the alcoholic product is in the mixture

When you use Speed Count, a specific recipe is created for each batch and infusion you make, and the tare weight of the custom vessel is added to the system. This process makes inventorying these items as simple as counting a single liquor product. When you place the vessel on the scale, it’ll automatically tell you what percentage of a full batch is remaining (this measurement is accurate to the tenth of an ounce). By frontloading the work to create unique recipes for each batch and infusion you serve, it will make counting these items fast and easy moving forward.

Users of Restaurant Management Systems

Restaurant management systems such as Compeat and Restaurant365 are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They allow you to manage all of your operations using one software platform. While this includes your inventory, the counting process would be much faster and more efficient using Speed Count.

At Bar-i, we’ve prebuilt report formats that allow you to import the items you count directly into your restaurant management system. This allows you to keep using that platform while simultaneously experiencing the benefits of a dedicated inventory system. This integration functionality is available with our Speed Count option as well as our pro version.

If you’d like to learn more about how Bar-i can help streamline your operations and maximize your profits, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We serve bars and restaurants nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.

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Topics: Liquor Inventory, Bar Inventory, Liquor Inventory Systems, Counting Inventory

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