ED Publications

ED January 2017

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Page 26 of 83

Club Bulletin January 2017 27 www.theEDexpo.com Error #4: Lack of portion control In some respects, the underlying proposition of the beverage business is fundamentally unstable. It involves you taking your hard-earned working capital, investing it in liquid and then asking your hourly employees to exchange that liquid back into more working capital than you had originally. One of the crucial disciplines to instill into your operation is strict portioning controls. Over-pouring is an insidious source of losses. It also hastens and exacerbates intoxication. Another plague of the beverage business is the scourge of shrinkage. Bartenders control both ends of every transaction at the bar. They portion and prepare product, as well as handle all sales proceeds. Compounding the peril, this all occurs before your register or POS system knows anything about the transaction. For some, the temptations of handling a steady stream of cash can be irresistible. Take pains to implement solid cash controls and look to reduce your vulnerability to theft. The savings often spell the difference between financial viability and the unpleasant alternative. Error #5: Slow bar service Every industry tracks employee productivity except ours. Calculating sales per hour is easily done and is an enormously effective means of assessing employee effectiveness. Productivity measures employee sales per hour, and is computed by dividing the shift's gross sales by the number of hours the bartender worked. An employee with chronically low sales per hour may indicate a serious problem. If a bartender's sales per hour comes in consistently below the staff average, five things are possible. He may move too slowly and literally can't keep up with demand. He could make lousy drinks, so people don't stick around for a second or third lousy drink. Three, his personality and attitude could be so off- putting that customers leave early. His sales ability could be so unrefined that he consistently undersells. Finally, he could be stealing. There isn't a method of stealing that won't negatively affect productivity. On the positive side, a bartender with consistently high sales per hour deserves acknowledgement. Either way you look at it, tracking productivity is highly beneficial. Error #6: Draft beer spillage and theft Industry wide, we lose roughly 20% of the draft beer we purchase due to waste, spillage and theft. That translates to one out of every five kegs of beer. With interest in draft beer soaring, clamping down on draft costs is essential. Proper maintenance of the draft beer delivery system and staff training are fundamentally important. Operations that depend on draft beer sales to remain financially viable should consider investing in a draft beer control system. These technological wonders are capable of tracking every ounce of product dispensed and providing a report detailing exact usage information and shift cost percentages per brand. Draft beer has always been something of a black hole for operators. These micro-processor driven systems have successfully plumbed the darkness and revived the category's profitability. Error #7: Your bar menu and/or recipes suck A restaurant that doesn't routinely change its menu always has plenty of open tables. Same, too, with bars. Add some pizzazz to your beverage lineup. Shake up your specialty drinks. Change will spice things up and help keep your clientele interested. Likewise, bartending staffs typically operate without a clearly defined set of recipes. The result is a loss of product consistency, fluctuating costs, and shoddy, hit-or-miss drinks. Determine what they're to pour, or they'll do it for you. Error #8: Boring drink specials The only marketing some operators do is to slash prices during happy hour. Strive instead to promote your business from the inside out. People are open and receptive to timely suggestions on what to drink. Develop bar menus, table tents, wipe off boards on which to market your house specialties. If you've created interesting, delicious signature drinks, make sure you announce your success. You'll likely notice that sales for whatever you actively promote will skyrocket. Error #9: No bartender/employee handbook Get a new car and you get an owner's manual. Get drafted into the NBA or NFL and they'll give you a playbook. Get hired as a bartender or food server and you'll likely get a handshake, three training shifts and photocopies of house policies. Is that all you give to your employees? Employing someone is fraught with legal ramifications. Make a mistake and you could find yourself on the wrong end of a civil lawsuit or in front of the National Labor Relations Board, where nine out of ten employees leave victorious. Suits for wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and racial discrimination are among the most prevalent employment related litigation with judgments averaging in the six-figure range. The first line of legal defense is a comprehensive, well- structured employee handbook, one that clearly defines the employees' job descriptions, areas of responsibilities, and all the operation's policies and procedures. Without it, legally holding employees accountable for their actions is practically impossible. The employee handbook has the potential for becoming more than just a legal document delineating operational policies and procedures. It presents a singular opportunity to provide employees with insight into what is expected of them as professionals and how they can best achieve those expectations. Error #10: No "leadership" Things are managed, people are led. Make every effort to become a dynamic leader, one who leads by example. Your staff is the lifeblood of your operation, without whom all enterprise ceases. Acknowledge and encourage their efforts, and nearly all other management issues will abate. ROBERT PLOTKIN is the president of the National Bar & Restaurant Association and author of numerous books including Successful Beverage Management- Proven Strategies for the On-Premise Operator. He can be reached at Barmedia, 800-421-7179, or e-mail him at robert@barmedia.com. continued from page 26 Productivity measures employee sales per hour, and is computed by dividing the shift's gross sales by the number of hours the bartender worked. An employee with chronically low sales per hour may indicate a serious problem.

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