Every bar is different, but one uniting element is the need for inventory counts. With an inventory management app, such as Zip Inventory by Hubworks, the task of organizing and tracking your bar inventory becomes far easier and more efficient.

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Bars, much like restaurants, are in the business of serving their customers. On this level, bars and restaurants are almost identical. However, there are a few key differences between bar inventory and restaurant inventory; chief among these differences is the intricacies of the process.

Whereas restaurants must concern themselves extensively with different recipes and are forced to battle the shelf life of any given ingredient, bars have it a little bit easier. Sure, mixed drinks can occasionally become very complex, and require some different alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients, but generally, this doesn’t hold a candle to the stocking and ordering menagerie that can sometimes exist in a busy restaurant. Most bars, when dealing with alcohol, don’t need to pay nearly as much attention to things like expiration dates, since most booze is good for a pretty long time (notable exceptions being beer and some wines). In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, the bar inventory process is a much more interesting and unique one than you’d see in your average restaurant.

As such, the introduction of an inventory management system for a bar could very well make the difference between a clumsy, confusing, and otherwise stressful inventory process and a much more cohesive, efficient one. In this article, we’re going to have a look at just a few of the ways that employing an effective bar inventory system can be of immense benefit to bars, specifically in ways different than it benefits restaurants. To do so, we will be using the example of Zip Inventory, Hubworks’ inventory management app, to explain these benefits.

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3 Ways an Inventory Management App Can Boost Your Success

  1. Quicker and More Convenient This is perhaps the most obvious, and one of the biggest, benefits of using an inventory management system for your bar. Having an electronic version of your bar inventory sheet that updates in real time to any device synced with the app, couldn’t possibly be anything but convenient. Especially when compared to the more common and traditional “pen and paper” method of conducting inventory counts.

    With bars, inventory is counted in a slightly different way. Sure, you consider things like how many bottles of Scotch you have left or how many pounds of ice, but you also have odd amounts of things on top of that. You end up with situations like having three full bottles and then a bottle containing enough for, say, two drinks remaining in stock. Whereas, you don’t see restaurants with half an egg to count in their inventory. The ability to more accurately assess stock items is part of what makes an electronic interface so perfect for your bar inventory system.


    2. Easy Integration with POS Systems Due to how essential the relationship between inventory management and POS software can be, integration with POS systems seems like a pertinent aspect to mention. The principle is simple, as things are sold, a record of that transaction is stored in the POS system. Once that happens, the data can be transferred into inventory management software, like Zip Inventory.

    Where this gets interesting is that, because of Zip Inventory’s “Recipe” feature, you will be able to see how much of each ingredient goes into each menu item, and through some basic math, arrive at an estimate of how much stock you should have left. If there is a discrepancy, then you will know that extra supplies are being used that aren’t being accounted for.


    3. Error Alert System A standout feature of Zip Inventory is its ability to notify you if the inventory count does not match the estimated count; it will then send you a notification stating that there is an error. This could result from a very simple error within the app, or from the individual who conducted the inventory count. Once the difference is registered, you will be able to address it far more quickly than if you were receiving bar inventory counts on a printed piece of paper. With this Zip Inventory alert, comes the ability to rectify any issues before they snowball into bigger problems down the line.

    In a bar, where most of your inventory is alcoholic beverages, this detail can become majorly important. It is much easier for a bartender to be a little heavy-handed with vodka than it is for a chef to be heavy-handed with chicken breast, so some deviation is built into the bar inventory process.

    However, if the discrepancy is significant, it could be an indication that your bartenders aren’t being heavy-handed, but are giving free drinks to customers or even participating in the odd drink themselves without registering the usage to avoid being caught. While many bars have cameras set up to catch this kind of activity, not all of them do.

    Hopefully, this article has helped to demonstrate just how vital an effective bar inventory system, such as Zip Inventory, can be in your efforts to be successful. If you’re interested in learning more about the topic of inventory management, or any other topic related to restaurant and bar management, feel free to continue reading “Why Inventory Management is Essential to Your Restaurant” on the Hubworks Blog.