How Best to Protect Your Bar's Bottom Line
By Joanna Harralson Vice President Operations, The Insight Group International | April 15, 2010
Are you aware - and in control of - what is happening in your hotel bar? How can you be certain that profits, which should be realized by your venue, are making it to your bottom line?
Take a look around. If there are no receipts or checks on the bartop in front of the seated guests; if there happens to be a key in the lock of a cash register drawer; if no video display terminals (VDTs) have been installed for the cash registers, or if loose coins and currency, as well as discarded check folders and other papers, are scattered across the countertop of the backbar, your bar could be experiencing some heavy losses.
Any of these instances are reason enough to seriously evaluate what is happening to payments made by guests and handled by your bartenders and servers. Is some of that money ending up in a bartender's pocket? Or perhaps, through carelessness or forgetfulness, does it represent drinks or food items never charged for, at all?
Oversight by Management an Imperative
Okay, so what can you do to right the possible wrongs which may be taking place? Hopefully, you are already doing everything possible through employee training and solid communication to explain the cash handling and service policies of your establishment to your employees. And you perform walk-throughs of your bar(s) on a regular basis to make certain everything is in order and cash is being transacted and making it into the register. Remember, scheduled evaluations by your hotel spotting company are major tools in your good management repertoire, but they must be supplemented by Management's continuous oversight.
As Vice President Operations for The Insight Group International, which has been a company leader in the hospitality spotting industry for the past 20 years, I've found that maintaining awareness of what's happening in their bar is an imperative for Management. Whether a bartender or server is careless, simply forgetful of how many drinks have been served, or actually dishonest and regularly pocketing payments, the result is the same-money that should be going into a venue's coffers isn't getting there. Over time, this can mean many thousands of dollars in cash profits being lost.