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Sarah Ward

Bar Inventory: 5 Better Bar Inventory Basic Lists

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Learning how to open a bar, how to get a liquor license, how much do bars make, how to price a bar manager salary, and where the best bar locations are is all part of bar ownership. There is, however, something you need to do that will be an ongoing part of your bar business. That is finding and ordering your bar inventory supplies. This will help in setting up your liquor bottle display.

Many thoughts will float through your head when you hear the term bar inventory. You’ll think of cleaning supplies, from glass and surface cleaner to floor mat cleaner. Alcohol and drink mixers will be on the list as well. You might even think about bar books.

Of course, you can’t forget about bar inventory basics of lasting foods and other ingredients, including cocktail ingredients. There’s a lot that goes into bar inventory. Have no fear, BinWise is here to walk you through it all. 

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Bar Stock

Your bar inventory price will include everything from foods to drinks to cleaning supplies to dishes. When you’re planning out your bar stock and thinking about everything you need, there’s a practice that will help you visualize. When you think about your bar-or speakeasy, imagine each space, and think of everything you need to succeed. Some items will cover multiple areas, but working with each area will help ensure you have everything you need in your bar inventory.

One important part of taking control of your bar stock is mastering your inventory. From a wine app to a barcode scanner app for inventory, your bar stock is part of your business that needs to be well-documented. Once you have everything ordered, keeping it organized will keep you moving forward. 

How to Stock a Bar

Stocking a bar is all about figuring out what you need, and setting up a tracking system to keep on top of your orders-with flat rate shipping, bar inventory management, and wholesale products. Of course, that can be tough to manage. If you get bogged down, however, you can always go back to those basic needs and remind yourself to keep it simple. 

Figuring out what you need will, in part, come with time. As you build your key bar clientele you may switch up your beer brands, wine list, and even your wine food pairing menu. You don’t want to switch it up too often, as that can make it confusing for your regulars. However, staying fluid and adaptable will help you with changing patrons and food supply chain issues alike. 

5 Bar Stock Basics

While your bar stock can and should evolve over time, there are some bar stock basics to master. The following items are goods that you should order more of on a weekly basis for safety stock. That'll help you avoid ever having to tell a customer you don’t have them. You can’t avoid every supply chain issue, but these items are almost always available in some quantity. 

We’ll primarily cover food on this bar basics list, as we’ve covered cleaning supplies and drinks in other areas of the BinWise blog. These top five categories are also open-ended. That gives you the freedom to stock the inventory most suited to your bar. 

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5. Domestic and Imported Beers

Keeping a mix of domestic and imported beers in your inventory will ensure you always have something for every beer lover, from a well drinks list to call drinks. A combination of cans, bottles, and on-tap options will help with that as well, and it’ll keep you abreast of any supply chain concerns. 

4. Well-Rounded Wine Options

Keeping red wine types, types of white wine, and some sparkling wines on hand will give you the right wine types for every occasion and all your wine sales-including selling wine by the glass. Having a range of lower price to high-end wines also allows you to serve a variety of customers. 

3. Various Non-Perishable Snacks

The best bar snacks to have on hand are ones that won’t go bad quickly. Items like pretzels, nuts, popcorn, and crackers are all good options. With allergies and COVID-19 repercussions to work with, keeping bar snacks stored in their original containers, and served separately is imperative to patron health. 

2. Basic Cocktail Ingredients

A running cocktail ingredients list available will keep you prepared for any basic cocktails a customer may order-especially during happy hour. From types of whiskey and gin to mixer items (including Angostura bitters), the list is long. You don’t need everything to make great drinks, but options from every section of a general cocktail list will be important. 

1. Unique High-End Options

For those guests who come in to celebrate an engagement, a promotion, or a wedding, some high-end options will be important as well. Since these items–from $200 wine to the best rum (learn more: how to make a cocktail with rum) options–will cost you a bit more, you can keep them limited. That said, having the finer options for those looking to splurge will keep you relevant for any and all bar patrons.

A Well Stocked Bar

A well stocked bar is a necessity for any bar owner. On a busy night, the last thing you want is to run into the 86 meaning on your best bottles. Keeping your bar snack options on hand will ensure you can satisfy any customer waiting for a table. 

Learning where you need to maintain an inventory surplus comes with time and experience. One thing you can do to make it easier on yourself is use BinWise Pro. With mobile tracking and a perpetual inventory system, BinWise makes the process of inventory tracking and coordinating purchase orders seamless.

How to Manage a Bar Inventory

When it comes to how to manage bar inventory, the first thing you think of might be a spreadsheet and hours spent in your store rooms. When that comes to mind, it’s accompanied by a lot of headaches and time wasted with an archaic inventory management process. There are much easier inventory management techniques these days. 

BinWise has completely eliminated the need for paper spreadsheets and hours of peering into wine crates and beer bottle storage. Of course, pairing BinWise with BlueCart, an online order management software system, will make every step of stocking your bar easier. If you’ve ever hoped for an easier way to manage your inventory and ease your worries on busy nights, BinWise is the answer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Inventory

Maintaining your inventory will be an ongoing process, and you’re sure to have other questions along the way. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you assurance in the process of bar inventory and maintaining bar stock. As you move forward, you can always come back to BinWise to learn more. 

How Do You Maintain Inventory In a Bar?

Maintaining bar inventory requires diligence in your inventory management. It also requires an intimate knowledge of what your bar patrons are asking for most often. With those two key factors, you’ll be able to keep up with inventory. You'll even stay ahead of the curve with ordering and keeping your customers happy. 

How Do I Check Stock at a Bar?

Checking stock at a bar is a two-fold process: interactive inventory and a well-organized stockroom. Having your inventory on your phone or tablet will make it easy to get a glance of what you need. Keeping your physical counts of inventory organized will make it easier to take inventory, do an inventory audit, and check in on your inventory visually.

How Often Should a Bar Do Inventory?

Overall, the basic practice is to do inventory once a month. However, the counting and organizing are much easier if you do a basic count at the end of each working day. A large monthly inventory still works. However, the more regular work you put into keeping track of your bar inventory, the more pain-free that monthly count will be.

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Bar Inventory: From Spreadsheets to Shelves

Your inventory is all centered around one crucial aspect of running a bar: excellent customer service. It’s easy to get in the weeds of ordering bar stock, checking inventory, and organizing your store room. When it gets to be too much, remind yourself that it all goes towards customer satisfaction, and keeping your bar successful. 

Of course, bar inventory is just one small part of the process of running your own bar. To manage a bar, it’s best to keep your bar success and customer satisfaction at the heart of everything you do. Working towards those top goals will keep you moving forward.

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