Overpouring - or How to Send Liquor Profits Down the Drain

By Joanna Harralson Vice President Operations, The Insight Group International | October 28, 2008

Whenever a bar is generating healthy gross sales it is most likely racking up equally healthy profits, right? Not necessarily. Much to the dismay of owners and managers of bistros, bars, lounges, nightclubs and restaurants -anywhere drinks are prepared and served - profits are the result of good sales volume plus a multitude of factors which need to be created and nurtured on an ongoing basis.

If profitability is the goal, then control and constant diligence must be major components of the oversight provided by owners and managers if their establishments are to remain 'out of the red' and send profits spiraling upwards.

Liquor Cost Controls

Overpouring - a significant profit drain can be the lack of portion-control of liquor drinks. Whether bartenders employ this practice in the hope of eliciting larger tips, stroking a pal or regular customer, or simply haven't the necessary skills or tools to measure the proper amounts of liquor in drinks, the end result for a venue is money being subtracted from its coffers.

Freepouring alcohol directly from the bottle to the glass should always be considered a definite 'no-no.' The accuracy of such pours is highly questionable, even when performed by the most experienced, honest and highly skilled bartenders.

Using bottle portion-control devices can provide an effective line of defense against overpouring, as long as bartenders do not upend bottles a second time in a double-pouring effort to serve stronger drinks. Sadly, many bars don't utilize controlled systems featuring bottle-top dispensers or liquor guns for portion-control, at all, although there are several excellent systems on the market. Many such systems can even be interfaced with a point-of-sale system.

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