Everyone hates counting liquor inventory. It’s one of the most tedious aspects of running a bar. As a result, you should have an innate desire to complete this process as fast as possible without sacrificing the accuracy necessary to use the information obtained to improve your bar’s performance.
For an average bar, it is realistic to be able to complete your inventory counts in 1-2 hours. If the process is taking significantly longer, it’s a sign that you most likely need to make some adjustments to your counting process. Below are some tips that can help you make counting inventory go as fast and efficiently as possible.
Proper Organization Is Key to Counting Faster
Making sure your bar is properly organized is the most important thing you can do to speed up the counting process. Every time you add new products, change positions of products behind your bar or make other changes to your bar’s organization, you’re increasing the number of transactional steps required to perform an inventory count. By getting organized and maintaining your organizational process, you can eliminate these unnecessary actions when you count.
For maximum speed, you need to be able to count items without moving products around. You’ll need to pick up partial bottles in order to weigh them, but any full bottles in your storage area should be organized in a way that allows you to count them without moving them around. This requires adequate shelving.
If you’re stacking boxes on top of each other, you are creating a situation that requires you to move bottles around while you count. Instead, install shelves in your storeroom so that you can remove the bottles from boxes and place them on the shelves. This will make it much easier to see and count during the inventory process.
Implement a Mapping System
Counting inventory is usually a two-step process:
- Look up the item on your spreadsheet/software
- Record the inventory level in the appropriate place
Using a mapping system ensures that your list of products matches the actual order of products on your shelves, allowing you to simply go right down the list and record the amount of each item as you count it. This enables you to condense your counts to a one-step process by eliminating the need to hunt around your list to find the correct item. In our experience, using a mapping system will significantly speed up the counting process.
Use Inventory Software that Allows for Counting Full Cases
If your inventory system has the ability to count full cases, it will speed up the process significantly. When you have to do math in your head to record the actual number of bottles, it will slow down the process. For example, if you have 9 full cases of Budweiser, having to multiply 24x9 to figure out the total number of bottles will take longer than if you only have to enter 9 cases into the software. When you have to do this math for a large number of bottled beer and wine products, it can add a lot of time to your count.
Bar-i’s software allows you to count full cases, and it also lets you enter a second line for each product to record the count for loose bottles. If you had 10 loose bottles of Budweiser in addition to the 9 full cases, you’d enter these 10 bottles on the second line. Our software will then automatically do the math for you and record the total number of bottles you have.
Weighing Bottles Provides the Highest Levels of Speed and Accuracy
It takes about 2 seconds to weigh each bottle using Bar-i’s software and scales, and our scales are accurate to the tenth of an ounce. Very few systems can match this level of speed and accuracy (other methods may be able to achieve one, but not both).
In addition, this level of accuracy enables you to track your usage down to the serving, which ensures you will know precisely how much of every product is missing for each inventory period. This information can be used to reduce inventory shrinkage and maximize your profits.
Product Positions Provide a Guide for the Efficiency of Your Counting Process
“Product positions” refer to a line in our counting map. For each product position, either a bottle must be weighed or a set of bottles/kegs must be counted. You can measure how much inventory you have to count by the number of product positions on your counting map.
You can evaluate your speed by how many product positions you count per hour. An average bar has about 200 items and about 500 product positions (items stored in multiple locations will have a product position for each location). Most bars should be able to count 300 product positions per hour and complete their inventory count in less than 2 hours.
When your bar is properly organized and the other tips listed above have been implemented, we recommend setting a goal of counting 500 product positions per hour. This is a pretty rapid pace and requires you to average a little under 10 seconds for every item you count (this time includes interruptions and moving between counting areas).
While this is an aggressive goal, it is certainly achievable and it will help you significantly reduce the time you spend on inventory counts. Counting 500 product positions per hour should ensure your inventory counts are completed within about an hour.
If you’d like to learn more about how Bar-i can streamline your operations and help you maximize profits, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We serve bars and restaurants nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.