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Behind the Scenes: Managing Cruise Beverage Inventory

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Providing a memorable customer experience takes work. It involves dealing with many moving parts and resolving various issues, including correctly managing the cruise beverage inventory

Cruise drinks can make the vacation of the passengers truly great if they are selected correctly, are of high quality, and are stored the right way. Beverage storage needs to be planned according to the beverage program to optimize the processes of the bar staff on the cruise ship.  

Once the drinks for each cruise bar and restaurant are selected, it’s time to decide on quantities from each type of alcohol. Mixers, beer brands, and different varieties of wine need to be chosen as well. Beverage packages should be curated, too. They can include various cruise cocktails and mocktails, cruise ship wine, and all-inclusive drinks.

Non-alcoholic drinks should be picked, too. From specialty coffee and matcha tea to fruit juices, soda drinks, and plant-based milk. You should even look into non-alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic beer. But now, let’s jump into the tips on how to manage cruise beverage inventory with ease!

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How to Manage Cruise Beverage Inventory 

Managing a cruise beverage inventory can be very challenging but there are a few strategies that will help you keep everything organized. To help you keep your bottles in check, we’ve curated a list of steps to follow. Here’s what you need to do!

Key Takeaway: Staying on top of the cruise beverage inventory is important for customer experience and profits. Implementing inventory management software will allow you to keep everything in check easier, which will result in a better cruise experience for all passengers. 

Categorize the Bottles

The first step in any organizing project is to categorize the items. Inventory organization starts the same way - gather all bottles and separate them into different categories. Make a category for different types of alcohol, various alcohol-free drinks, as well as soft drinks, garnishes, etc.

When you have everything sorted in a category that makes sense, it will be easier to put things into the designated storage areas. The staff that has to get bottles will do that with ease, which will make overall operations in the bar and/or restaurant much smoother. 

Implement Beverage Inventory Software

Beverage inventory software can bring everything to the next level. When managing inventory as big as a cruise beverage inventory, many mistakes can happen. Counting bottles by hand, for example, can give you wrong numbers. And it also takes a lot of time. 

When you chose to use good inventory management software, you will be surprised by the time you will save and all the great features that will give you a better understanding of what and how much inventory you need. Examining customer behavior is one of the many things you will surely benefit from!

BinWise Pro is a platform that will make cruise beverage inventory management a breeze! Organize your wine lists, order what you need, and keep track of all the bottles currently available in all bars and restaurants - all in one place. Save time, and effort, and prevent man-made mistakes to create an unforgettable experience for your customers!

Set Par Levels

Once you gather historical consumption data, you will be able to set par levels for each type of cruise beverages. Other factors that come into play here are the cruise itineraries and passenger demographics. The software will help you determine the par levels of the different bar drinks so you can ensure enough stock to meet customer demand without excess. 

Conduct Regular Audits

Cruise beverage inventory is challenging to manage mostly because of the amounts of bottles and the diversity you need to carry. Because of the amounts of bottles you need to have in stock, conducting regular audits is a must.

Mistakes do happen and theft is also an issue managers need to be wary of. To make sure that you have the number of drinks tracked in our system, schedule some time to do beverage inventory audits. 

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Relationships with the Vendors

Developing strong relationships with the vendors is a must. A good relationship with the people who are supplying the beverages for your cruise line is going to make things so much easier. You will be able to communicate your needs and expectations better and get the quality and timely response you desire in return. 

Practice FIFO

Use the first in, first out rule (also known as FIFO) to minimize the risk of anything going bad or losing its qualities. Educate your staff on alcohol expiration and make sure that drinks that are getting closer to expiration are used before new bottles are opened. 

Staff Training

It’s important to train all bar and restaurant staff on proper inventory management procedures, including accurately reporting usage, handling different situations, and maintaining the storage areas in order. Making sure that temperature-controlled storage is working as it should is also a must. 

Waste Management

If you monitor waste well and analyze the data, it will be much easier to do loss prevention. With as little waste as possible, you will not only control costs but be more sustainable, too. 

Have an Emergency Reserve

Identifying which are the most popular items on the menu and keeping some extra bottles from each of them will help you in cases of unexpected increases in demand. Over time and with the use of historical data, you will be able to plan things out easier. 

Stay on Top of the Menu

No matter what types of menus are used in the different bars and restaurants on the cruise ship, it’s important for them to be engineered well. Changing some of the offers from time to time is a good idea, too. Review the menus that are used across the cruise ship to identify what’s working well and what’s not. Focus on the things people love the most and add some seasonal or special offers when that’s suitable. 

Always Gather Feedback

Encourage your staff and the passengers to give feedback. Getting information from the customers is what is going to make cruise beverage inventory management much easier and customer satisfaction will increase. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cruise Beverage Inventory Management

If you need more information about cruise beverage inventory management, check the following paragraphs. 

How Often Should I Do a Physical Beverage Inventory?

Conducting physical beverage inventories every week and/or month is what most experts recommend. It depends on the volume you are dealing with. Regular audits help catch any discrepancies so action can be taken immediately. Spoilage and theft will be kept under control. 

How to Track Beverage Consumption During a Cruise?

Implement a POS system (point-of-sale system) that records every sale, including the type and quantity of beverages sold. This data can be used to analyze patterns and adjust inventory orders. Using such tools will help decrease waste, too.

Should I Adjust Beverage Inventory Based on Passenger Feedback?

To help passengers have a great experience, it’s important to gather their feedback and make some changes accordingly. When it comes to beverage inventory, you can gather their feedback and curate the menu in the bars and restaurants on the ship with what customers love the most in mind. This, of course, will help you boost profits. 

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