< back to Blog home
Lauren Platero

How to Take Bar Inventory Like a Pro In 8 Easy Steps

Table of Contents
Thank you! Check your inbox for details.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Learning how to take bar inventory like a pro is the first step toward streamlined bar operations. Once you create an actionable game plan for tracking beverage inventory, you’ll save significant amounts of time and money. Even if you decide to use a bar inventory app, knowing the basics of inventory tracking is essential. 

Are you ready to discover a proven systematic approach to understanding how to take bar inventory? If so, this article will teach you everything you need to know. Let’s get into it.

BinWise - Book a Demo

How to Take Bar Inventory In 8 Steps 

Learning how to take liquor inventory is a fairly simple process. Once you get the knack of it, you’ll reap the benefits of an organized bar in no time (see: beverage storage ideas). See below for eight steps toward learning how to take bar inventory like a pro:

1. Take An Initial Count

Before you can begin learning how to keep track of bar inventory, you need to identify the starting point. After all, this initial headcount will help determine metrics like usage and beverage inventory turnover in the near future. 

To keep such operations as simple as possible, we recommend that you begin taking inventory at the bar. Then, move to the liquor storage units and wine cellar in the back. This way, you have some of the most frequently used inventory accounted for first.

2. Categorize Inventory Records

Once you take count of all the stock at your establishment, it’s time to organize it. There are three categories that you can organize bar inventory within. These categories are the product type, brand name, and bottle design. 

If you have an overabundance of wine for instance, it might be important to organize them by brand. Meanwhile, if you operate a typical bar and have a wide variety of beer brands, wine, and spirits, it might be worth storing everything according to brand name. As you can see, the quantities and variety of what you keep on hand will dictate storage best practices.

3. Create An Inventory Tracking Schedule 

How often will you take inventory? Is inventory tracking a process that a particular employee will be responsible for completing on time? Speaking of which, at what point during the day do you plan to review stock levels? These are the kinds of questions you must ask prior to creating a schedule. 

4. Calculate Inventory Usage

One of the first metrics to be aware of when learning how to take bar inventory is the inventory usage. Luckily, calculating usage is simple to measure and can be done regularly. In fact, it’s so easy to figure out, you might not even need to break out the calculator! To understand how much of a particular beverage you’re selling, use the following formula:

Inventory Usage (# of Bottles) = Starting Inventory + Inventory Purchased - Ending Inventory

5. Calculate Par Levels

Par levels will show you the minimum number of bottles that you need to have available. In other words, this metric will dictate the reorder point for various types of inventory. By gaining a clear idea of Par levels based on historical data, you’ll be able to avoid excessive quantities of certain beverages, items going out of stock, and spoilage. As a result, you will also be able to maximize back of house shelving units and storage space. 

See: Par Level Definition for more details.

6. Calculate Inventory Variance 

Not all the beverages you use are beverages that are sold. That’s right–theft, over pouring certain ingredients, and freebies make up the variance in a bar. While learning how to take bar inventory, it’s important to understand variance for the most accurate reporting possible. 

The best way to avoid a high variance is by creating standardized menus that include a standard pour for each ingredient. Whether your bar staff is filling a pint glass of ale or stirring a mixed drink, every beverage should comprise a regimented recipe. Plus, the consistency of your drink’s quality will enhance the customer experience over time.

7. Calculate Pour Cost

Alcohol has some of the highest markups of all the types of inventory you’ll find behind a bar. A clear idea of how much you’re charging for each beverage is the pour cost. This metric showcases the percentage of a drink’s selling price that it costs to obtain the needed ingredients. Once you see which beverages have a low pour cost, you’ll know which ones to prioritize in promotional efforts. Then, you can ditch the ones that are costing you money entirely from your menu. 

View: Pour Cost Calculator

8. Automate Bar Inventory

When learning how to track liquor inventory, you’ll quickly realize that doing so requires a substantial amount of manual labor. Luckily, there is one inventory program after another currently on the market. These programs can let you automate inventory management processes. In doing so, inventory organization can be a breeze, you can implement smart pricing strategies, and your business can save money in the long-run.

BinWise - Book a Demo

Learn How to Take Bar Inventory Like a Pro With BinWise!

By using an advanced beverage inventory tracking system like Binwise, you’ll be able to learn how to take bar inventory like a pro! Plus, you’ll quickly notice how it can help save you money, improve operations, and organize your stock levels. Schedule a demo today to discover more about the ways that F&B professionals are simplifying beverage inventory management.

Book a Demo
Reduce inventory counting time by as much as 85%. Schedule a demo now:
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.