10 Mistakes That Can Drain Your Beverage Profits: Part I

12 April 2019
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beer poured from draft keg
Turning a sizable profit on beverages is essential for any food and beverage establishment. As you know, beverages tend to be where the meaningful margins can be found, so you need to make the most of this side of your business. Unfortunately, it’s common for businesses to not get as much out of beverage as they should, as a result of some silly mistakes made along the way. From basic bar inventory management to something more specific such as beer draft meters, cleaning up the way your business operates in this area can allow profits to soar.

In this two-part article, we are going to cover 10 common mistakes that might be cutting into your beverage profitability.

#1 – The Right Size Glasses

If your glasses are bigger than normal, guess what is likely to happen? They are going to wind up with more booze than planned, and some of your profits will be lost. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it will look good to have oversized glasses, as this is only going to put your bartenders in a bad spot. If they pour a normal-sized drink, it looks like they have underpoured because the glass is so empty. Or, if they fill up the glass, you’ve lost money. Stick with standard glass sizes to avoid this trouble.

#2 – Failure to Plan Prices

This one should go without saying, but sadly it is a mistake made by many establishments. If you don’t do some careful math on each of your drinks, you will wind up just picking a price out of thin air. Is that price going to allow you to be profitable? You don’t really know. Be sure to carefully price all of your items so they strike a balance between profitability and value for your customers.

#3 – Poor Point-of-Sale

Investing in a quality point-of-sale system, and then using that system to its full capacity, is an important step to take on the path toward profitability. Not only does the point-of-sale need to be set up correctly from the start, but all staff should be trained on how to use it properly. As time goes on, continually update the POS to reflect new menu items, price changes, etc. It’s easy to get lazy on this task but it really does play a big role in how efficiently your business can operate.

#4 – Watch Those Garnishes

Tossing a cherry on top of a drink doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the cost for those and other garnishes can actually add up in a meaningful way. That’s not to say your establishment should skip out on the garnishes – they are necessary for some drinks – but you need to make sure that they are being tracked just as carefully as the rest of your inventory. Upcharges can be used when customers request extra garnishes and be sure that these trays aren’t being used for casual snacks. Everything that you have to purchase in order to run your bar has a cost associated with it, and that includes garnishes.

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