3 Ways to Save on Operating Costs

Overhauling an old draft system can save you money. Image: Getty.

Tough economic times have operators scrambling for ways to cut back on costs. With overall demand down and costs rising for some products like spirits and food, finding ways to reduce expenditures is no longer an option for operators, it’s a must. While good times always follow bad times, there is no way to tell how long economic dry spells will last. Weathering a financial storm always starts with a good, hard look at expenses, and then streamlining where possible.

Here are 3 great ways to save money for your business.

Rebuild Old Draft Beer Systems

Losses from non-functional draft beer systems can be absolutely devastating to a bar’s bottom line. Draft beer is by far the hardest product to serve efficiently because of its tendency to foam. As any owner, operator or bartender can attest, foam can create an absolute nightmare behind the bar, particularly if that product is in demand and multiple orders are in the queue. The amount of lost product that occurs when bartenders are forced to make use of pint after pint of foam can be tremendous.

Foam is caused by anything affecting temperature or pressure. Some bars can lose 20% to 30% of their total product from inefficient draft systems. Depending on how poorly the system functions, an operator can lose even more than 30 percent. Even though an owner can do small things here and there to try and correct issues affecting foam, the best solution is a total revamp of the draft system. If that means a complete reinstallation of the coupler lines, fobs, trunk line, glycol unit and draft taps, so be it. The initial investment may be high, but it’s worth it in the long run if you can get a system installed that pours properly.

Scrutinize Your Glassware

The glassware a bar is stocked with has a large impact on portion control. If the glass holds more than the allocated pour size, bartenders need to know where the pour lines are so that they do not over pour. This is an issue for draft beer and also for shots if there is glassware that holds more than the theoretical pour size.

A glass that can physically contain 25 ounces, for example, but has a theoretical pour size of 18 ounces can create significant losses for a bar that serves this product at volume. The difference of 7 ounces per serving represents a potential loss of about 70 cents per serving. If your glass holds a maximum of 20 ounces, the potential loss is reduced to 2 ounces per serving, or 20 cents.

Over the course of the night, the week, and the year, those lost nickels and dimes add up to a lost fortune. To reduce the likelihood of loss occurring, find glassware that cannot hold more than your theoretical pour size, and then train the bartenders on where all the pour lines are for each glass.

Inventory Everything Regularly

The more often you count something, the less of it you’ll be likely to lose. Typically, bar operators are vigilant about applying inventory control procedures to their liquor and food, but this strategy can also be applied to dry goods, utensils, kitchen equipment, stationery, toiletries, and every other imaginable item the business needs. With active tracking you can see your shrinkage, optimize your purchases, and ultimately spend less in those areas.

In some chain restaurants, it is a typical procedure to inventory every item in the restaurant once a week. Everything from pens to liquor to glassware to toilet paper, waste is kept at a bare minimum through regular counting. It may not sound like much, but every penny saved from not replenishing shrinking inventory adds up over the course of the year.

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