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Basic Bar Inventory Guide: Tips & Software for Better Profit

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Bar and restaurant inventory encompasses everything you need to know about stocking and managing your inventory. From inventory stock needs to inventory management software, there’s a lot available to improve your inventory system, as long as you know how to use it. In this basic bar inventory guide, we’ll cover everything you need to get started and run a successful business. 

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Bar Inventory: 5 Better Inventory Basics List

Learning how to open a bar, how to get a liquor license, and where the best bars are is vital to a successful business. However, there is one essential component for your business: inventory basics and inventory management.

When you think of inventory, it probably brings to mind lots of spreadsheets and counting. Anything from cleaning supplies to meal preparation to inventory software may also come to mind. To start off our basic bar inventory guide, we’ll cover some of the basic bar stock inventory needs to have on your list. 

Bar Stock: 5 Essentials

Every bar needs crucial goods including drinks and snacks to everyday-use items like a corkscrew or flatware. As you open your business and start attracting ideal customers, you may find yourself updating this list to reflect the needs of your own bar. These five bar stock basics, however, are a good starting point.

5. Domestic and Imported Beers: A mix of beers will have you covered with any beer-loving customers.

4. Well-Rounded Wines: From the right wines for pairings to house wine options, a quality wine list will always be a good idea.

3. Various Non-Perishable Snacks: Anything from popcorn to nuts to pretzels can be a good bar snack or even a creative appetizer list option.

2. Essential Cocktail Ingredients: You should have something on hand to make at least five different cocktails any night of the week.

1. Unique High-End Beverages: High-end choices like a top shelf whiskey or fine caviar won’t be a nightly seller, but they will come in handy.

How to Manage a Bar Inventory

The question of how to manage a bar inventory is one you’ll want to answer long before you start purchasing inventory. Inventory can be simple, but only if you plan for it and have all your steps in place before you begin. Those steps include spreadsheets and traditional inventory practices, but these manual efforts require lots of time and training. 

BinWise has eliminated the need for dozens of time-consuming tasks, like hours of peering into wine crates and beer bottle storage. Pairing BinWise with BlueCart, our online order management software system,  makes every step of stocking your bar even easier. When it comes to simple ways of stocking your bar, it doesn’t get better than BinWise and BlueCart.

Bar Inventory: From Spreadsheets to Shelves

Purchasing and managing your inventory is one of the most vital factors in running a successful business. As you set up your inventory system, you’ll find yourself applying it to every aspect of your business. One important inventory aspect to take into consideration is your wine collection–specifically, your house wines. Let’s take a look at that.

“Key Takeaway: When you think about your bar, imagine each space and 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.”

House Wines: Best Basic House Wine Options

House wines are a vital component of bars, restaurants, winery production, and everything wine lovers know and love. House wines are the affordable, always-available options a hospitality business offers to pair with any meal. Knowing that, it's time to answer the questions of “What is house wine?” and “What is the right house wine for me?”

What Is House Wine? 10 Best House Wine Options

House wines are the ever-present, ever-affordable options that any bar, restaurant, or hospitality business keeps on hand every night of the week. While house wines are similar in pricing to happy hour or marketing bar promotions, there is a key difference between them. House wine prices don’t change, so patrons can always get the deal. 

These 10 best house wine options are some of the easiest to stock. They'll also be enjoyed by the majority of your customers. Here they are:

10. Dark Horse: The wine varietals from Dark Horse suit any budget, and can work with any meal.

9. Bogle Vineyards: Bogle is another brand with a large variety of options, for a surprising price considering the high quality of the wine.

8. Kendall-Jackson: Kendall-Jackson has been serving up high-quality, low-price wines since 1974.

7. Pine Ridge Vineyards: Pine Ridge Vineyards might be a wine you haven’t heard of before, but once you taste their Chenin Blanc + Viognier, you’ll add them to your wine list.

6. Robert Mondavi: Robert Mondavi is a highly recognizable wine brand, and with their moderate price tag, it’s no wonder it’s so widely enjoyed.

5. A to Z Wineworks: You can enjoy the mix of Oregon wine from A to Z and every variety in between with A to Z Wineworks.

4. J Vineyards & Winery: The simple J on the label of this unique winery makes the treat of great wine inside the bottle even more delightful.

3. Cupcake Vineyards: Wines from Cupcake Vineyards can be as sweet as their name suggests; it all depends on which of their many varieties you choose!

2. Josh Cellars: If we could meet the original Joseph “Josh” Carr who started Josh Cellars, we’d like to thank him. The California wines from this winery belong on any wine list.

1. Beringer: Since 1876, Beringer has been making a name for itself with great wines for an always-affordable price.

House Wines: Have a Drink on The House!

You can never go wrong with offering a variety of house wines. They can be enjoyed with a fancier meal, or they can pair well with a burger and fries. Any of the wines on this list are easy to drink, and they also pair well with some cool bar food ideas, which we cover later in this pillar post. 

Beverage Inventory Software: 10 Ways It Improves Your Business Management

Beverage inventory software is a vital component of a strong restaurant or bar business. Your beverage inventory success will keep you going strong through all seasons.

Managing your beverage program needs to be a top priority, and with beverage inventory software, your management can be a smooth process. If you’re looking for a reason to invest in the right software, these 10 reasons will have you using BinWise in no time:

10. Purchasing: When you organize your inventory process with beverage inventory software, your purchasing process becomes that much easier–you’ll always know what you need to stock up on.

9. Invoicing: Invoicing for your purchases is one of the paperwork-keys to keeping track of your budget and trimming expenses, and a software program with invoicing features is the way to go.

8. Interactive Wine Lists: When you have a great wine list, all you want is to keep pouring and selling. A wine list built into your beverage inventory software helps you do just that. 

7. Barcode Scanning: Barcode scanning gives you a uniform way of counting your inventory with ease, to cut down on inventory hours and cycle count confusion.

6. POS Integration: A quality POS system is the unsung hero of any hospitality or customer service business. An inventory software program that works with your POS system is the key to technological bliss.

5. Mobile Compatibility: If you can work from your phone or tablet, there’s nothing you can’t do! Mobile compatibility for your inventory program gives you freedom to work in any condition, and to share your program with your whole team.

4. Detailed Product Information: The ability to put detailed information about your products into your inventory system gives you even more control over your inventory collection, and that’s a benefit worth premium costs.

3. Reports and Analytics: What’s the use of inventory with the reports and analytics? An inventory program with active reporting gives you the information you need, whenever you need it.

2. Customization: It doesn’t get much better than customization. When you can make your inventory program truly your own, you can make room for growth and cut back on errors and issues. 

1. Saving Time: A quality inventory program is measured in time saved. Traditional inventory can take multiple working days, while a software program can cut your inventory to just a few hours once or twice per month.

Beverage Inventory Software: Inventory Software Keeps the Taps Flowing

The best beverage inventory software will differ depending on your business, your beverage count, and your personal preferences. One thing’s for sure, finding the right beverage inventory software will keep you moving forward and the taps flowing. If you’re looking for something even better, choosing the right inventory management app is your next step.

“Key Takeaway: The best inventory management software for beverages includes functions that simplify the process of selling and tracking beverages.”

Inventory Management App: Software Assets for Better Inventory

An inventory management app brings ease of use to your inventory management program. An app gives you the ability to work with your inventory from your phone, your tablet, or any mobile device. 

The best inventory management apps all have a few common features. When you’re choosing the right app for your business, keep an eye out for these five features: 

5. Real-Time Inventory Tracking: Real-time inventory tracking gives you the tools you need to constantly keep track of your inventory, and never miss a beat if something goes wrong, because you know about it as soon as it happens.

4. Barcoding and Scanning: A barcode system takes some time upfront to set up, but once it’s done, scanning barcodes (through a barcode scanner app) will change your inventory process and save you time for years to come.

3. Reorder Points: One of the best parts of knowing what your inventory is in real time is knowing when you need to reorder products. Having a reorder point notification is even better.

2. Purchase Management: Once your reorder point notification goes off, being able to purchase your replenishment products through your software means you don’t have to move information from different programs to keep up with inventory.

1. Unlimited SKU Number Options: Your restaurant or bar could reach a million product numbers before you know it, and having the option of unlimited SKUs means you can add products without worrying about hitting a maximum capacity.

Inventory Management App Design

The design of an app isn’t something you necessarily think about every time you unlock your phone. It is, however, an important part of a well-made app. These five features are particularly helpful in an inventory management app: 

5. Decluttered Interface: A decluttered interface means an app is easy to navigate, easy on the eyes, and less inclined to develop bugs than cluttered apps. 

4. Customization in Text: The ability to customize text means any app user can set the text font and size to what works best for them. In particular, the ability to use sans serif fonts is useful for users with dyslexia. 

3. Self-Evident Navigation: A user-friendly app navigation system is the key to any great app, and self-evident navigation means users won’t be bogged down with trying to find the information they’ve gone to the app for.

2. Chatbots: When users need an extra hand, having a chatbot with FAQ access and a quick response rate from the customer service team makes your app a true extension of the business.

1. Search Options: Having search options on an app adds to the user experience, and makes it possible for an app user to find what they need without taking time away from their work.

Inventory Management App: Mobile Management Marvels

An inventory management app will help you keep your inventory under control all from one mobile platform. Of course, having the right app and software programs is just one characteristic of a quality inventory program. Learning the in-depth steps of how to do inventory will help you along even further. 

How to Do Inventory: 10 Key Inventory Management Control Steps

The question of how to do inventory is one of the keys to running a successful hospitality business. As you learn about inventory in this basic bar inventory guide, you’ll find helpful tips with the software features to look for. There are, however, some steps of how to do inventory that are on a more manual level. These 10 key inventory management control steps are all things you can incorporate into your inventory management plan: 

10. Inventory, Meet Aesthetics: While the main focus on your inventory setup should be on efficiency, suiting your inventory setup to your restaurant or bar aesthetics will make it more enjoyable to work with, and make the entire work process of your business seamless.

9. Inventory Habit Trackers: Inventory practices can be hard to build and maintain. Inventory habit trackers, with daily, weekly, and monthly goals, can give you the motivation to keep moving forward one step at a time.

8. Unique Storage Systems: Every inventory system needs storage spaces, and you can make yours unique to fit your business and craft the storage space that makes your inventory as efficient as can be.

7. Back Up Your Staff: Your staff will be as closely tied to your inventory system as you, and they’ll find the same frustrations and concerns. Be their backup, work together, and find solutions with them to ease the inventory process.

6. Stylize Your Standardization: A lot of inventory practices are the same across businesses, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While you don’t want to mess with what works, finding innovative inventory solutions for your business can keep you moving upward.

5. Build Celebration Into Inventory: Inventory can be a lot of work behind the scenes, and it’s important to take the time to celebrate inventory wins along the way, to make the process more enjoyable and feel great about the end result.

4. Build Your Year: A great inventory system gives you the ability to plan ahead, because you’ll know when things will be in and out of inventory and what you can do with what you have. Planning a few months or a year ahead will make your business run even more efficiently.

3. Inventory-Clearing Specials: Sometimes you just have too much of certain items in your inventory. Setting up promotions with those surplus items helps you clear some space, make some money, and bring in customers.

2. One Count at a Time: The inventory process is long and it never really ends. To make it easier, break it down into step by step tasks, and make it through each one fully before moving on to the next part of the process.

1. Efficiency Through Innovation: Inventory practices have been perfected over the years, but there is always room for improvement. Keep an open mind for innovative ideas, you never know what might work even better than your current plan.

How to Make an Inventory Sheet

Although a lot of inventory has moved beyond inventory spreadsheet options, an inventory sheet can still be a useful tool in your inventory management. One of the best options is to use Excel or Google Sheets to organize your inventory spreadsheet and make the data shareable. 

How to Do Inventory: Not a Duke or Baron, a Count!

The process of how to do inventory is one that you’ll refine through your experience as a business owner or manager. These 10 steps will help you along the way. Another factor to consider is your inventory program as a whole, regardless of what that looks like for you and your business. 

“Key Takeaway: The work of inventory produces gains in all areas of your restaurant business when done well. From time saved and  money well spent, to better customer service and an all-around better work environment.”

Inventory Program Guide: 10 Key Features and Benefits List

Your inventory program is the tools, programs, software systems, and ideas you use in your overall inventory management plan. An inventory program has two definitions. Those definitions are:

  1. The existing inventory program and practice of a business.
  2. A software program designed to ease the inventory process.

Those definitions are often used jointly, as a business inventory practice will typically involve an inventory software program. You can use both definitions as you plan your inventory program. 

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5 Best Inventory Program Features

Your inventory program will be unique to your business, but there are common features spanning all inventory programs. These five features are things you should consider as you set up your program, as they’ll make the entire process much more efficient:

5. Forecasting: A program with forecasting capabilities means you can look ahead and see where things might go wrong, and what you can prepare to be ready for potential issues.

4. POS Integration: Integration with your POS system can’t be praised enough. Connecting your inventory with your POS system means your sales are tracked in real time, and your inventory is consistently up to date.

3. Real-Time Inventory Tracking: Real-time inventory tracking has a similar benefit to an integrated POS system, but on a much larger scale. When your inventory count is always up to date, you can trust your counts every step of the way.

2. Intuitive Reporting: Being able to immediately understand your inventory reports means you’re able to work with your inventory without having to research your results along the way. 

1. Mobile Compatibility: An inventory program that works on your mobile device gives you the freedom to work from any location, and keep your inventory information in the palm of your hand. 

5 Top Inventory Program Benefits

Those five features are part of what makes a great inventory program. But what do you get from a great inventory program? The benefits of a well-planned program span far and wide across your business. These five benefits will show up as you develop your program, and they’ll keep things running smoothly: 

5. Time Saved: Saving time is always a good thing, and a great inventory program means you spend less time counting inventory and more time selling it.

4. Better Organization: As you get settled with your inventory process through an inventory program, your space will become more organized with each count, and your business plan will fall into place accordingly.

3. Employee Satisfaction: The comfort and satisfaction of your employees is integral to the continued success of your business, and an inventory program that makes their jobs easier will certainly achieve that effect.

2. Profit Boosts: Boosting profits is one of the top priorities of every business. When you can spend less time and money on inventory, and waste less products, you’ll be able to save more, and sell more efficiently too.

1. Improved Customer Service: Next to boosting profits, customer service and satisfaction will always be one of your top goals. An improved inventory process through a great program gives you more time to focus on your customers and what will make their experience better.

Inventory Program: Program It Into Your Business

A successful inventory program improves your business and your profits. As you design your program, there’s a term you should get familiar with: low inventory. 

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7 Low Inventory Facets: What Does Low Inventory Mean?

Low inventory is a term you don’t necessarily want to hear when you’re dealing with inventory, but an understanding of low inventory is vital. Low inventory, from a low inventory turnover ratio to the inventory turnover ratio you want, is a consistent part of any inventory management process. Being comfortable with low inventory will help you work through any inventory issues you may come across.

What Is Inventory Turnover Ratio?

The inventory turnover ratio is the ratio of how much inventory you bring in compared to how quickly you sell through your inventory. An inventory turnover ratio has intrinsic ties to the inventory definition.

Any standard inventory turnover ratio rests between two and four. To explain those numbers, we’ll examine the inventory turnover ratio calculation. The calculation is:

Cost of goods sold / Average inventory for the same period of time = Inventory turnover

If your inventory turnover ratio isn’t what you’d like it to be, it’s time to investigate the potential reasons for low inventory turnover. 

6 Reasons for Low Inventory Turnover

Some reasons for low inventory turnover will be out of your control. Sometimes there may not even be a specific reason. There are, however, some common reasons you can keep an eye out for. These six reasons are ones you can plan for and work around:

6. Merchandising Mishaps: Merchandising and marketing plans go into every menu item you sell, and sometimes your merchandising plans don’t quite pan out. A promotion without the anticipated traction can lead to excess products. 

5. High Cost Products: For high cost products, for the most part you can expect a low turnover, because they’re only purchased by specific customers, mostly for special occasions. 

4. Low Demand: Demand for items will ebb and flow. You can’t always predict low demand items, but you can work with them as they come along and celebrate when the demand comes back around.

3. Bulk Buying: Buying in bulk can be great for saving money, but for most items, it is guaranteed to leave you with a low turnover while you work through the product.

2. Disorganized Inventory: A disorganized inventory space can lead to lost products and shrinkage, which means you lose out on the ability for high turnover before a product even hits the sales floor. You can directly combat this through keeping your inventory in top shape. 

1. Seasonality: You can set your calendar to seasonal items and their low turnover ratios. While holiday specials will sit on your shelves until that time of year comes around, they’re well worth keeping in stock for those times.

Low Inventory: Raise Those Rookie Numbers

When you can manage the days of low inventory and a low inventory turnover, you can manage anything. Low inventory, however, is just one facet of restaurant inventory management. There’s a lot more you can learn from this basic bar inventory guide on your way to the best inventory control.

“Key Takeaway: The low inventory definition is any moment when your inventory dips below a normal fluctuation. Tracking that fluctuation gives you greater control over your inventory and business as a whole.”

Restaurant Inventory: 10 Restaurant Inventory Management Essential Tips

When it comes to running a restaurant, a smooth and efficient restaurant inventory management system is one of the most important factors. A restaurant inventory management system encompasses all aspects of a restaurant business, and it can affect each area in different ways. If you’re looking to get up close and personal with your inventory management system, start with these 10 factors:

10. Menus: You may not think of menus as a regular part of inventory, but keeping extras on hand, as well as storing the supplies to make more is something you should plan for. 

9. Guest Comfort: Guest comfort can encompass everything from booster seats for children to extra lighting available for anyone who needs more visibility at their table. 

8. Employee Support: Employee support inventory items generally come in the form of breakroom amenities. Everything from coffee to comfy chairs to food can make your employees more comfortable at work. 

7. Beverages: Beverages range from water to juices and soda to alcoholic beverages. It’s a long list, and it all depends on your menu items and bar offerings.

6. Seasonal Ingredients: Planning ahead for seasonal specials gives you the ability to purchase seasonal ingredients when you need them, and potentially save on them if you buy slightly outside of the normal time for them.

5. Dishes and Utensils: You won’t always need to restock dishes and utensils, but you will always need enough to make it through to the next load of dishes. 

4. Cleaning Supplies: Cleaning supplies will be a need every day of the year. If your business isn’t clean and ready for guests, the rest of your inventory products won’t matter much. 

3. Specialty Alcohol: Specialty alcohol gets its own list spot, as it’s separate in the eyes of sales from standard beverages. It’ll take a chunk of your budget, but keeping some top shelf bottles on hand will come in handy.

2. Meal Prep Supplies: Meal prep supplies cover everything your kitchen staff needs outside of ingredients. This can be frying pans, spatulas, aprons, and any cooking utensil or aid you might need for your food prep.

1. Staple Ingredients: There are some ingredients you will always need. From spices to flour to bread crumbs and more, you’ll have a basic stock of these items in your inventory at any given moment.

Restaurant Inventory Management System

A restaurant inventory management system goes a long way toward helping a restaurant maintain inventory structure. When it comes to great inventory management software, BinWise Pro and BlueCart make a great pair. BinWise gives you unparalleled insight into your liquor inventory, with BinScan mobile support to make fast inventory updates even easier. BlueCart optimizes your wholesale ingredient supplying, order management, and payment processing, and organization, which keeps you stocked up with the ingredients you need. 

Restaurant Inventory: Running the Restaurant

A great restaurant inventory management system can make or break your restaurant business. Within the overall inventory system, there are several individual factors that help shape each area of the restaurant. One, in particular, is your menu and stocked ingredients, which affect the recipes you can whip up any day of the week for cool bar food ideas.

Cool Bar Food Ideas: 10 Best Fresh Snacks and Recipes

Finding cool bar food ideas for a fresh menu is one of the best ways to consistently keep your business ahead of the curve. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the classics! 

From simple burgers to fish and chips, having some of the familiar favorites on your menu is always a good idea. However, including these 10 refreshing options that don’t always crop up in bars will keep your customers coming back: 

10. Bacon Burgers: You can make a classic bacon burger into a cool new idea by adding unique flavors, perhaps with a barbecue sauce topping or mashed potatoes. 

9. Customizable Mashed Potatoes: Everyone loves mashed potatoes, that’s a fact. What everyone loves even more is mashed potatoes with options, which you can provide with made-to-order mashed potatoes.

8. Nachos: Nachos can be plain, or they can be exceptionally unique. Both types are delicious, and you can make your own twist however you see fit. 

7. Onion Rings: Onion rings show up on plenty of appetizer lists. You can make them your own with specialized dipping sauces, a unique frying technique, or even unexpected flavors mixed into the dough. 

6. Cheese Fries: Cheese fries, like nachos, can be dressed up any way you like. They can work for any customer–heck, you can even use vegan cheese for anyone looking for a dairy-free option.

5. Chips and Dips: You can’t go wrong with a classic chip and dip combination. With the variety of chips you can buy or make, and the same variety for dips, the possibilities are endless.

4. Tacos: Whether you like your tacos crunchy or soft, there’s no denying they’re one of the best foods. Your customers are sure to agree.

3. Wing Varieties: The best thing about wings is the variety of sauces and other flavors you can mix them up with. From spices to sweet and sour sauces, the options are enough for your entire customer base.

2. Pizza: Pizzas can be made-to-order for any customer, with any ingredient you stock. You can have classics on the menu, make-your-own options, and mystery slices, it all depends on what you have in inventory.

1. Make-Your-Own Sandwiches: Like many other items on this list, the best thing about sandwiches as a cool bar food is their versatility. There’s a sandwich out there for every customer, and you can be the one to make it. 

Cool Bar Food Ideas: Get Cooking!

All these menu items are customizable enough that you can make them your own. That could mean putting barbecue sauce on a bacon burger. It could even be something as unique as making your own pizza in-house. Whatever you do, plan these items to pair with your drinks as well, including your mocktail options. 

“Key Takeaway: Your cool bar food inspiration can come from anywhere, as long as you have a cook who can make it happen.”

Mocktails: Discover Creative Bar Mocktails

Mocktails are the alcohol-free version and sidekick of all your favorite cocktails and mixed drinks. Some mocktails are alcohol-free twins of cocktails, while others are their own unique drink mixes. 

For your drinks menu, it’s a good idea to have several mocktails available. These are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a drink sans alcohol. Any of these 10 options will serve you well, as they cover a range of drinking styles and preferences

10. Rosemary Blueberry Smash

9. Strawberry-Ginger Lemonade

8. Sparkling Beet Lemonade

7. Salted Watermelon Juice

6. Berry Burlesque

5. Shirley Tonic

4. Tea-Totaler’s Toddy

3. Citrus Fizz

2. Virgin Watermelon Margarita

1. Lavender Lemonade

Mocktails: Making a Mockery Has Never Been More Fun!

Mocktails are the perfect bar option for anyone from a teenager to a teetotaler. Having these inclusive options on your menu will open up your customer base to include everyone. Of course, these are meant to be mixed in with alcoholic beverages, including some beers on tap. 

What Is Beer on Tap?: 15 Interesting Tap Beers for Your Bar

Beer on tap is something every bar, restaurant, and alcoholic beverage business can benefit from. Beer on tap is the beer options you keep on tap–hooked up to a keg system with options for different keg sizes–to offer any time of year. 

Of course, you can also offer seasonal beer on tap, or have limited editions for holidays and other celebrations. These 15 beer on tap options cover a range of reasons you might want to have something special, or something familiar on hand: 

15. Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale

14. Station 26 Brewing Co. Juicy Banger

13. Blue Moon Belgian White

12. Victory Summer Love

11. Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

10. Narragansett Brewing Co. Narragansett Lager

9. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

8. BarrelHouse Brewing Co. Mango IPA

7. Sam Adams Boston Lager

6. 21st Amendment El Sully

5. Rogue Ales Shakespeare Stout Nitro

4. New Belgium Fat Tire

3. The Alchemist Focal Banger

2. Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

1. Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen

What Is Beer on Tap? Tap the Kegs!

Any of the aforementioned 15 options cover your bases when it comes to beer lovers looking for their favorite beer brands or something new. Some of these beer on tap options are domestic, and some come from across the world. 

While there’s nothing wrong with home-grown beer, imported beer and other alcoholic imports are something to pay attention to as you set your menu. Up next are over a dozen tips on what to look for.

“Key Takeaway: Keeping the beer on tap flowing is a way to generate consistent consumer volume and keep them coming back for more. It’s a unique form of great customer service.”

Imported Beer and More: 15 Facets of Bar Inventory Imports

Your menu types ideally include a variety of selections from across the world. That means something different for all stages of a meal from food, to drinks, to small snack options.

When it comes to drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, imported options can bring a surprising flavor to your menu. Imported beer, wine, and liquor, all have a special place on any menu.

Imported Beer

Imported beers make up a large portion of the best beers on the market. From Germany to Mexico to Belgium, there are options that shake up the beer scene and bring worldly flavors to your beer list. These five options are among the most widely loved: 

5. Guinness Draught

4. Heineken

3. Corona

2. Modelo

1. Stella Artois

How to Import Wine

Since we aren’t lawyers or legal advisors at BinWise, our recommendation is to dive into your local laws for importing alcohol. You can take a look at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and their rules for your specific location. It also helps to learn about direct to consumer wine shipping laws and D2C laws in general. 

Largest Wine Importers

Importing wine can be a tricky business. There are so many places you can import wine from, and so many rules around transporting wine around the world. Working with an established wine distributor is the best way to go. Learning about wholesale distributorship can help you along the way. Any of these five businesses can help streamline the process and bring the best wines to your door: 

5. European Cellars: This group may be based in North Carolina, but their reach spans the globe to bring you the best wines. 

4. Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits: Since 1981 the Deutsch Family group has been importing the finest wines and spirits from around the world.

3. Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits: Southern Glazer’s are a top name in the wine importing world due to their 45 operations across the United States. 

2. Young’s Market Company: Young’s, partnered with the Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) is one of the premier wholesale alcohol distributors, with roots reaching back before Prohibition. 

1. Vine Street Imports: With a specialty in hard-to-find wines, Vine Street Imports have been bringing only the best to wine sellers since 1999. 

Liquor Importers

The rules around importing liquor are as strict if not stricter than the wine shipping rules and regulations. In that same vein, working with a liquor importer will ease the process and help you check every box along the way. These five companies are known for their good taste in liquor and their expertise in importing practices: 

5. bbb+ Drinks: This alliterative group covers a variety of local and international import needs, with a specialization in unique spirits from independent sources. 

4. Fridenson Solutions: Fridenson is your solution for everything from alcohol to chocolates to perfume. Their distribution expertise covers a variety of industries with ease.

3. Leigh Spirit Company Limited: Leigh’s is the place for small batch spirits that will grant you a unique clientele. You’ll only be able to buy in small quantities, but it’s worth the wait.

2. Shaw-Ross: Since 1968, Shaw-Ross has been covering wine, spirits, and sake needs for companies buying from Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and New Zealand.

1. Park Street Imports: With a covered range of the US to the EU, Park Street Imports has your wine, beer, and all other alcohol needs well managed. 

Imported Beer and More: Important Imports!

Having a range of imported options will make your bar or restaurant the place to be for a variety of customers. Of course, having these options is only half the battle of inventory practices. Once you’re set up with the inventory you want to have on hand you’ll be ready to start tracking your inventory. We’ve taken a look at the items you should consider. Now it’s time to dive into the other portion of this essential bar inventory guide: inventory software and support. 

Beverage App Review: Guide to Beverage Management Apps

A beverage app review is a great way to make sure you find the right beverage app for your beverage inventory purposes. Many of the best beverage inventory apps share a lot of features you want for any bar or restaurant business. When you begin your review of different app options, keep an eye out for these seven features: 

7. Accessible Notes: So much of the information you want to keep in your inventory can be stored in a notes space, so having easily accessible notes in an app is key to the overall app design.

6. 86 Meaning Suggestions: Being able to plan backup items when an item is running low will help you stay ahead of the curve and keep customers satisfied through inventory shortages.

5. Simplified Data: While some parts of the inventory process can be complicated, the data you work with shouldn’t be. An app that shows the most important data in a clean fashion will ease the process.

4. Scale-Abilities: One of the most unique features found in beverage apps these days is the ability to connect to a Bluetooth scale. It’s not something you need, but it’s definitely something to look out for. 

3. Recipe Counts: Inventory is only as important as the help it provides in planning menu and meals. The ability to batch items together and track your recipe availability gives you a leg up on meal preparations.

2. Barcode Scanner: You can’t beat a barcode scanner for long-term inventory ease. Once you’ve set the barcodes up, you’ll save time, money, and endless headaches with your inventory speed and accuracy. 

1. Wine List: A wine list in your inventory app allows you to track each wine bottle to the weight of wine left each night. Whether you have a list of 10 bottles of 10,000, a wine list is crucial to your inventory success.

Beverage App Review: Read the Reviews!

These seven features are important for any beverage app to keep your beverage inventory running smoothly. They are vital for any mobile inventory app, and they can actively improve your inventory process over time. They all feed into the best mobile inventory management system for you.

“Key Takeaway: A beverage app review is a quality use of time for anyone who needs to use a beverage management app to keep their beverage inventory organized and ready for sales.”

Inventory Management System: 5 Mobile Inventory System Features and Benefits

A mobile inventory management system brings your whole business together. Choosing the right software can be a challenge. There are, however, some features to prioritize that make finding the right software much simpler. 

You can’t go wrong with BinScan, our free app that pairs with BinWise Pro. With the two brought together, you get the full support of an inventory management system. That support pairs with the bonus of having your inventory counts and reports on your mobile device. 

BinScan has several special features that make it ideal for any bar, restaurant, or other hospitality industry business. These five features are some of the best in terms of making BinWise highly effective and easy to use: 

5. Scan Addition Options: BinScan gives you the option to add to your scanned inventory list in two ways. You can search for an item in your inventory and select it for scanning, or you can scan the custom barcode on the physical item.

4. Scan History Searching: With scan history searching, you can search through your entire history of scans on BinScan, even scans you deleted, to track your inventory history.

3. Alcohol Levels Graphic Slider: The alcohol levels graphic slider allows you to record the exact amount of alcohol left in a bottle, for a more accurate count.

2. Item Location Search: The item location search with the Find My Stuff feature gives you the ability to see where each item is physically stored, all from a search through the app and your virtual inventory space.

1. Searching by BINs: A recent release of BinScan enables you to search by BINs for each individual item. Using the BIN name, you can find your items even more efficiently.

Inventory Management System: Increase Your Mobility

An inventory management system like BinWise paired with BinScan takes all the guesswork out of your inventory process. With a mobile program in your hand, you can work easily with your restaurant inventory management software for a seamless inventory process. 

Restaurant Inventory Management Software: 10 Basic Factors

Restaurant inventory management takes the best of every type of inventory management we’ve discussed so far in this basic bar inventory guide. From beverage inventory and managing low inventory turnover levels to mobile inventory functions and beyond, a quality restaurant inventory management software program brings it all together. 

These 10 features are all integral parts of a well-rounded restaurant inventory management software system that will work for any restaurant. When you’re looking for the right software program, keep an eye out for these features. If you hit a snag in your inventory process, you can lean on these features as the core principles behind a good inventory practice:

10. All-in-One Features: Inventory management software with all-in-one capabilities means you don’t have to outsource to meet all your inventory needs. 

9. Menu Compatibility: Being able to match your inventory organization with the dishes you serve and their needed ingredients saves you time in the process of crafting your menu.

8. Interactive Reporting: Reporting is a necessary part of inventory management, but what’s even better is interactive reporting, where you can go in, view specific parts of your report, and update it as needed when you check your inventory counts.

7. Cloud-Based Platform: A cloud-based platform means you can access your inventory information from anywhere, and you can share it across multiple devices, so your whole team can be in tune with the process.

6. Real-Time Tracking: Real-time tracking is a must for any inventory management software. It gives you the ability to stay one step ahead of your inventory by always knowing how much you have and what you need.

5. Staff Management: Staff management, in the field of inventory management software, is the ability to delegate inventory tasks to your staff through the software, so everyone knows what they need to do. 

4. User-Friendliness: You can’t beat user-friendly software, it makes every step of the process easier, so you can focus on your inventory, not on your technology needs.

3. Perpetual Inventory Support: Perpetual inventory, the practice of doing daily counts to stay on top of inventory, is one of the most efficient ways to take inventory. A software program with perpetual inventory support will go a long way towards inventory management success.

2. Tech Support: Even when software is designed with care, sometimes you need tech support. A software program with a dedicated team behind it means you don’t have to slow down when bugs come up.

1. Report Reminders: From reorder points to reminders to take a cycle count, an inventory management software program with report reminders makes it so you have one less thing you need to remember on a daily basis.

Restaurant Inventory Management Software: Restaurant Management Made Simple

The right restaurant inventory management software system for your business will be unique to some extent. These 10 features, however, should be on the top of your list. They will support your inventory system every step of the way. Not only that, they’ll also help you manage your restaurant better outside of your inventory practice. 

“Key Takeaway: When you think of inventory management, you might think of an inventory spreadsheet and days spent counting individual inventory items. With the right restaurant inventory management software, it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Management for Restaurant: 10 Facets of Restaurant Management Style

Management for restaurant operations takes focus, hard work, and a sharp eye for the best ways to keep a restaurant running with operational efficiency. The work of a restaurant manager is never done, and there are always more ways to improve your management style. 

These 10 aspects of management for restaurant businesses will make the management process smooth as can be. Implementing and refining these management processes will streamline your restaurant business and give you less to think about on a day-to-day managerial basis:

10. Transparency In Planning: When you’re transparent in your planning, you’re showing your employees that you are open and easy to work with. You’re also giving the opportunity for anyone to come forward with innovative ideas.

9. Learn From Your Location: If you’re looking for ideas to improve your business, looking at similar businesses in your area can show you what the locals are looking for in a prime spot.

8. Proactivity Over Reactivity: Reacting to issues will always leave you scrambling to find a foothold. Being proactive, and planning ahead for potential issues gives you the time to find balance and get ahead.

7. Staff Appreciation: Showing your restaurant and bar staff that you appreciate their hard work should always be top of mine. Without your staff, your business won’t function, so keeping your employees satisfied is one of the most important things you can do.

6. Commitment to Teamwork: As a manager, you’re in charge of keeping things running, but you’re not working alone. Working with your team on every level, and supporting them with any issues, means you’ll know your business inside and out, and have a quality team to lean on.

5. Seek Innovation: Innovation can come from anywhere and anyone, at any time. From customer reviews to your employees sharing a potential improvement, keeping an open mind to innovative ideas will help your business grow.

4. Customer Service Reviews: Customer service reviews can help with innovation, and they can also come in handy with resolving issues and keeping your restaurant or bar at the top of your customers’ list of places to go.

3. Delegation and Recognition: When you have a great team, it’s important to go beyond appreciating them, and give them roles to continue to grow. Delegating management-level tasks, and promoting employees as they achieve their goals, will make your team stronger than ever.

2. Technological Investments: While your team is the backbone of your business, it never hurts to bring in technological support. Investing in inventory software, a great POS system, and even security systems, will elevate your business.

1. Consistency Is Key: Above all else–and combining all else–is the need for consistency. Whether you implement every idea from this list, or just a few, the most important thing is that you stick with each practice, to see results and perfect the practice over time.

Management for Restaurant: Well Managed, Well Maintained

A quality practice of management for restaurant businesses is the intersection between a great manager and a well-organized restaurant system. That system of management and every restaurant process takes work every day to improve and keep the business moving forward. 

We’ve covered a great deal of information about inventory management, as well as general management practices in this ultimate bar inventory guide. As we’re reaching the end of this resource for all of your inventory-related needs, we’ve saved one vital aspect of running your business for the end. That vital aspect is the factor of variance in your inventory and daily business operations. 

Define Variance In 8 Steps: What Is the Meaning of Variance?

The process to define variance is the first step in understanding why variance is such an important facet of inventory for your business. Variance is one of the most important factors of an inventory process. It shows you where you’re losing inventory and how you can improve your inventory process and business flow. 

“Key Takeaway: The meaning of variance covers a range of inventory concerns in a restaurant or bar. In restaurant inventory tracking and bar inventory, the meaning of variance is the difference between how much is sold versus how much is used.”

What Is the Meaning of Variance?

The meaning of variance is the difference between how much product is sold and how much product is used or lost. As a visual example, think of a carton of eggs. 

If you start the month with a carton of 12 eggs and end it with none, you might think that you sold 12 eggs. When you calculate variance, however, you may find a variance of three. This variance count means that you only sold nine eggs. Those three in variance could have been broken, or someone could have been slipped an extra egg. Ultimately, any number of things could have happened to those three eggs. 

Of course, you won’t necessarily be looking at variance in terms of singular eggs. Additionally, a variance count in small items such as individual eggs isn’t much to worry about. Variance only becomes a concern when it reaches unexpected levels. 

Finding the expected norm and understanding the reasons behind variance will help you feel more confident when variance unavoidably happens. We’ll take a look at eight reasons behind variance. With these facets of variance, you can find the meaning of variance next time it shows up in your inventory cycle count

8. Poor Product Quality: Poor product quality can result in breakages, and wasted products when ingredients are unusable right out of the bag or box. 

7. Receiving Errors: One of the biggest spaces in inventory is in the receiving process. If you miss an item, or overcount, you can end up with a variance before the products hit your shelves. 

6. Unrecorded Sales: Unrecorded sales can cover everything from a birthday meal that went undocumented to a free drink on a busy night. These instances are small, but they can add up.

5. Accounting Errors: Accounting errors can come in with the inventory counts and budget checks. They can be fixed, but the potential for human error remains. 

4. Portion Size: A deviation in portion sizes can result in variances in specific ingredients or full menu items. The best way to avoid this variance is to have measured meal prepping and a stress-free kitchen environment, so chefs have time to double check measurements.

3. Modified Food Cost: A modified food cost could come from your side, with an item being discounted, or from the distributor's side, making an item pricier than expected. Either way, a difference in cost can lead to small variances over time.

2. Theft: No matter how vigilant you are, theft will occur. You can keep an eye out for it, and build some wiggle room into your budget, but there is no avoiding it entirely.

1. Waste: Waste can come from poor product quality, a meal that misses the mark, or an egg that gets dropped on the ground. Waste is one of the most common reasons behind variance, and it’s impossible to avoid, but it can be mitigated through care and planning.

Define Variance: Variations In the Meaning of Variance

Now that we’ve defined variance, it’s time to dive even deeper into the importance of variance for your business. We’ll take a look at the formula for variance, to give you the skills you need to take control of your inventory variance counts. 

The Formula for Variance: Standard Variance Steps

The formula for variance is crucial in the practice of how to find the variance in your inventory. There are a few ways you can approach the formula to find variance. The standard formula will help you find the percentage of your variance count. 

When you search for the sample variance, you’ll find search results for standard deviation, population variance, sample standard deviation, variability, and more. We’ll start off with a simple equation. That simple formula is a two-part equation:

Cost of goods sold (COGS) - Usage cost = Variance in monetary value

(Variance cost / Usage cost) x 100 = Variance percentage

Of course, you don’t have to rely solely on the formula and your own math skills if you don’t want to. You can also use support from Excel and Google Sheets.

The Importance of the Formula for Variance: 5 Benefits

It’s hard to find the joy in solving a math equation, but when it comes to finding your variance, it’s well worth it. The formula for variance gives you the key to discovering where your inventory holes are, and how you can continually improve your inventory practice. You’ll experience these  benefits in your business once you start working with the formula for variance: 

5. Greater Accountability: When you know more about your variance and your inventory needs, you’re better able to plan for the future, and take responsibility for and an in-depth interest in your inventory process. 

4. Risk Assessment: One of the most valuable facets of working with the formula for variance is the ability it gives you to assess potential risks. You can look back and formulate when risks paid off, and you can plan ahead for risks you may take in the future. 

3. Improved Customer Service: Customer service will always be important for your business, and being in touch with your variance is just one more way to improve your business functions and improve customer satisfaction.

2. Growing Profits: Understanding your variance is the first step towards countering your variance and getting your inventory under control. That control and understanding will lead to profit growth as your variance shrinks.

1. Better Inventory Control: Better inventory control is the most direct result of understanding your variance. You’ll be more in touch with your inventory, and be able to work with it on a more in depth level than ever before.

The Formula for Variance: Forming Your Inventory Counts

Finding your variance is one of the most important parts of your inventory process. The formulas for variance are things you should keep bookmarked on your tablet, phone, or computer for easy access throughout your inventory process. 

Once you’ve got the formulas thoroughly integrated into your inventory process, you can work with the results to find the analysis of variance. 

Analysis of Variance Guide: 13 Key Results of Variance Statistics

Defining variance, then working through the process of formulating variance in your inventory, are two parts of a three-part variance system. The third part, analysis of variance, is where you take control of your variance and find ways to improve your inventory practice and business.

These 13 results of variance statistics and a quality analysis are all things you can look forward to once you understand your variance count. These will help at different levels for different businesses. Their commonality lies in their ability to help you improve every aspect of your business: 

13. Overall Efficiency: A quality analysis of variance in your inventory leads to a great many improvements, with an umbrella improvement being a rise in overall efficiency in every restaurant function. 

12. Materiality Threshold Analysis (MTA): The material threshold analysis is the level of loss you can sustain before it becomes a problem. An analysis of variance helps you learn what your threshold is, so you can avoid going above it. 

11. Menu Refinement: When you can see the gaps in your menu and profits through variance analysis, you can build a better menu to increase profits and work with the inventory you have, rather than struggling without the inventory in your variance.

10. Business Assessment: Analyzing your business is something you should do at every given opportunity, to improve your business plan and increase profits. A variance analysis is an act you can add to your list of business assessment practices. 

9. Customer Service: Anything that improves your business will improve your customer service, and the potential for a variance analysis to have a continual improvement on your business grows each time you do an analysis.

8. Risk Management: When it comes down to it, your possibility for variance is very similar to the possible risks you may end up taking. When you analyze your variance, you’re examining those potential risks and planning ahead to mitigate them.

7. Room for Growth: The more you learn about the gaps in your business plan through variance analysis, the more you can plan ahead and find room for growth in profits, customer satisfaction, and overall business health. 

6. Managerial Concerns Identification: One area of your business that can have a direct, if not overtly obvious effect on your variance is your management practices. When you analyze your variance to see where it’s stemming from, keeping an eye out for management causes can give you extra insight into potential problems.

5. Improved Forecasting: Inventory forecasting is a vital component of any business. With a quality analysis of variance, you can calculate variance trends into your forecasting to see where you can expect to need some wiggle room in your budget. 

4. Competitive Advantage: Getting an edge on your competitors is one of the most effective ways to grow your business. Finding your variance statistics and viewing the strategies of your competitors can help you find ways to adopt their strategies.

3. Theft Management: You can’t control who is going to steal from your business, but with variance analysis, you can find out what the commonly stolen items are and find solutions to keep them closer at hand. When it comes to dine and dash theft, you can discourage it through high quality customer service. 

2. Promotional Planning: Your variance analysis can tell you what your variance items commonly are, and when they’re occurring. With that information, you can plan promotions to maximize profits around those items. 

1. Cost Control: Boosting your business profits can come from two avenues: selling more and controlling costs. Selling more is always good, but when you get control of your costs by analyzing your variance and planning ahead to mitigate it, you can get ahead of costs and make that much more of a difference with the sales you make.

Variance Statistics

These 13 factors of your restaurant affected by the analysis of variance are connected to four areas of your restaurant in general. Those four areas are:

  1. Accounting
  2. Food products and ingredients
  3. General and cleaning supplies
  4. Basic kitchen needs and restaurant equipment

These four areas represent the basics of any bar, restaurant, or similar type of business. From the most technical business standpoint, your accounting variance statistics will have a high level of importance. Your variance statistics from the other three categories will all feed into your accounting variance analysis. 

Analysis of Variance: Analyze That

When you reach your comfort level with the analysis of variance, you're almost there. You’ll be on your way to operating a successful business with minimal issues and maximum potential. 

“Key Takeaway: Finding your variance is only as important as your analysis of variance makes it. The better you understand it, and the more ways you apply your knowledge to your business, the better off you will be.”
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Basic Bar Inventory Guide: You’ve Got the Basics Down Now!

With the tricks and formulas you’ve learned in this basic bar inventory guide, you’re set to go after the best possibilities for your business. Setting up, operating, and maintaining a quality inventory program, management program, and everything in between is something you will master over the years. With this resource in your pocket, you’re all set to continue on your journey to success. 

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