Spike TV’s ‘Bar Rescue’ is Back for a Third Season!

Bar Rescue

One of our favorites, Bar Rescue returns again for a third season starting on Sunday, February 10th, 2013 on Spike TV.

During the first two season, veteran bar expert has helped dozens of struggling bars update their concept, fix their food and drink menus, and put internal controls in place…  all with true reality TV drama.

Here is a little preview of what to expect this season:

 

 

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Ask TrueGuest: How Does Using Table Numbers Improve Internal Controls and How Do I Assign Table Numbers?

Dear TrueGuest,

I read a couple of articles on your site about using table numbers to reduce employee theft.  How does that work?  Also, how do I assign table numbers in my restaurant?

Tables

Great question!  Using table numbers is not only a key tool for guest service, but a great tool for reducing internal theft.  However, judging by the receipts we see in hotel restaurants, very few hotels take advantage of using table numbers in restaurants or seat numbers in bars.  Why does using table numbers help reduce internal theft:

  1. Using table numbers makes it easy for a manager or supervisor to monitor an employee’s open checks.  As a manager, I used to stop in the restaurant often and pop open the floor plan on the point of sale system.  Anytime I would see an open check at a table without anyone sitting at, I knew there was a problem that needed to be investigated.  My policy was always that checks must be closed as soon as payment was made.
  2. Using table numbers and seat numbers makes it hard for servers and bartenders to reuse checks and steal the cash.  We’ve written quite a bit in the past about problems with servers and bartenders reusing checks.  See this article on check splitting and this section in our internal control guide for bars on reusing checks.  If your restaurant and bar have good table and seat number systems, it is more obvious when servers and bartenders reuse checks.  For instance, if a guest at table 22 pays cash for their buffet, the server cannot easily reuse that same check with table 34.
  3. Using table numbers and seat numbers also adds another layer of perceived controls.  It seems simple, but the more controls you have in place, the less employees will test them.  Experienced servers and bartenders know that restaurants who do not have simple controls like table numbers in place probably aren’t doing a very good watching out for internal theft.

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Ask TrueGuest: How to Test Your Bartender’s Free Pouring Count

mixed-drink1Free pouring is our 3rd favorite (ok, least favorite) method for pouring alcohol.  However, we understand that many bars want free pouring in place for ascetic purposes.  A highly skilled bartender can still achieve accurate pours using a free pouring method, just be sure that you are consistently testing your bartender’s pouring count.

In order to test your bartender’s counts, you will need a testing kit.  A couple of the popular brands are the Exacto Pour and the ProCheck.

Check out this video for a demonstration on how the kit works:


Just like everything else these days, there is an app for that!  Check out the Virtual Pour smartphone app from the World Flair Association:

 


Remember, whether you are using a measured pour or a free pour, the key is consistency.  Over-pouring not only leads to high beverage costs, but also increased liability.

Ask TrueGuest: The Importance of Watching Every Ounce of Liquor in Your Hotel Bar

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Dear TrueGuest,

I just finished your online guide to ‘Getting Your Beverage Cost Under Budget‘ and I am working on getting all of the internal controls in place.  However, I really feel like I am now spending all of my time chasing pennies and trying to control every single drop of liquor we use.  Should I really care how much alcohol is wasted?  A little bit extra vodka here and there shouldn’t make a big difference, right? – Javier

Javier, thank you for such a great question!  We often hear this exact question when we are teaching our liquor control class in person or giving a lecture on liquor controls at a HFTP meeting.  You are absolutely right, even an ounce of a really good vodka only costs about 50 cents.  Why worry so much?  Surely, that can’t impact the bottom line that much, right?  Wrong!

First, we have to start looking at the potential of that ounce of vodka, not the cost.  In many cities such as Los Angeles and New York City, an ounce of premium vodka at a high end bar can easily sell for $15.  So, for every extra ounce of vodka your bartender over-pours, you could be out $15 in potential revenue.  Most guests have a pretty small limit of how much alcohol they can consume in one night.  Let’s pretend a customer orders a vodka cranberry but your bartender pours 2 ounces of vodka instead of 1 ounce.  That customer has now had twice as much as she expected to drink and may not come back for a second one.  If that customer typically likes to drink two drinks, your hotel will be out $15 in revenue and $14.50 in profit.  Over-pouring is definitely a profit killer in hotel bars.  If you have just 50 customers a night and just 10 of them have one less drink because of the over-pour, you could be out over $140 in profit.  If you serve a few hundred guests, you can easily see how quickly the numbers add up.

I hope that helps.  Once you get your liquor controls in line, be sure to check out our post on maximizing bar revenues.

John Taffer from Spike TVs Bar Rescue Provides Great Bar Tips

BarRescue_logo_final

Spike TV has a new reality TV show called Bar Rescue.  Bar Consultant Jon Taffer and his team take over bars on the verge of bankruptcy and turn them around.  In addition to remodeling the bar, he gets the management and staff on the right track to running a successful bar.  He covers everything such as managing your pour cost, menu engineering, up-selling, even why proper uniforms are important.  Of course, like any good reality TV show, Bar Rescue is built around the drama that comes from running a bar.

Check out this clip below.  John talks about the perfect one ounce pour, the power of suggestion, bar menu engineering, and why selling fruit drinks helps promote food sales.


 

Bar Rescue airs on Spike on Sunday but they rerun episodes often.  Also, many clips and some full episodes are available on Spike’s website.  Check out this clip and meet John Taffer, the star of Bar Rescue.


Links: Spike’s Website for Bar Rescue

Perpetual Beverage Inventory How-To Video

mqdefaultTraining Video Goal: Successful implementation of perpetual beverage inventory by providing instructions and necessary tools

Training Video Length: Approximately 10 Minutes, Video can be paused and replayed at viewer’s chosen speed

Training Video Audience: All Food and Beverage Managers implementing a perpetual beverage inventory system

This video takes approximately 1 minute to load and will automatically play once loaded.  For your convenience, all templates and instructions that are mentioned in the video are available free for download on this page below the video.

To download the Perpetual Beverage Inventory Template in Excel Format, click here.

To download the Perpetual Beverage Inventory Template instructions in PDF format, click here.

To read an article on Perpetual Beverage Inventory, click here.

To download the free Banquet Bar Requisition Template in Excel format, click here

To download the Banquet Bar Requisition Template instructions in PDF format, click here

Ask TrueGuest: Best Methods for Pouring Alcohol

Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_HospitalityDear TrueGuest,

I can’t seem to get our liquor costs under budget.  What is the best control for measuring the bartender’s pours?

Good question!  There are a few different methods for pouring alcohol such as free pour, jigger, or measured spout.  Which one works best depends on your bar.

Typical lobby lounge – If your bar is typically slow, usually a measured jigger works best.  Just be sure to have plenty of jiggers on hand so the bartender always has one within reach.  We like the measured jigger because it is easy for your supervisors to monitor from across the bar.  Also, customers are accepting of a jigger in most cases.  Of course, the down side is that it is easy for the bartender to overpour using the jigger.  Most bartenders we see using a jigger like to run a tail with each pour.  Here is a good video on basic jigger techniques:

High volume bar – If your bar gets pretty busy and the bartenders need to crank out drinks fast, we like the measured spout.  The ball bearings in the spout automatically pour the exact amount and then stop.  The bartender would have to tilt the bottle back a second time to be able to overpour with these spouts.  Here is a good video of how the Precision Pours work:

Free Pouring Method – We really do not like any bars to use the free pour method.  It is both dangerous to your profits and to your customers.  Our mystery shoppers have reported time after time instances where they were poured a drink that had over 4 ounces of alcohol when a bartender free poured.  You can easily see how pouring 3 times the correct amount can be very dangerous.  But if you must free pour, at least have a good counting system in place and a system to test the bartender’s pouring skills.  Here is a good video:

How to Calculate Beverage Cost

calculatorSurprisingly, many people that are in food and beverage management positions and even general management positions do not know how to calculate beverage costs, one of the most important costs in every hotel’s budget.  Don’t worry, we won’t tell!  We will help you keep that secret by showing you how beverage cost is calculated.  It is really quite simple.

Here is the way that most actual costs are calculated.  This is the cost that you usually try to get as low as possible in order to beat your budget.

First, you will need your bar’s total purchases (in dollars) for the period.  Remember, these should be liquor purchases only.  Second, you will need to know your change in liquor inventory (in dollars) for the period.  You will then subtract the total change in inventory from the total purchases (if total change in inventory is negative, keep it that way but still subtract it from total purchases).  We must take into account the inventory change because if you do not, purchasing more liquor to stock up would drive your liquor cost up, while lowering your inventory by purchasing less would lower your liquor cost.  If the liquor inventory is not considered, your liquor usage will not be properly seen in your cost calculation.  Lastly, you will need your bar’s total liquor revenues for the period.  Divide the first (purchases – inventory) number by the revenues.  That final number will be the cost percentage for the period.  A formula for those of you that need to see it visually is below.

 Actual Cost Formula

Check back soon for more useful tips that just might make your job easier.

Perpetual Beverage Inventory How-To Video

mqdefaultPerpetual Beverage Inventory How-To Video

Training Video Goal: Successful implementation of perpetual beverage inventory by providing instructions and necessary tools

Training Video Length: Approximately 10 Minutes, Video can be paused and replayed at viewer’s chosen speed

Training Video Audience: All Food and Beverage Managers implementing a perpetual beverage inventory system

This video takes approximately 1 minute to load and will automatically play once loaded. For your convenience, all templates and instructions that are mentioned in the video are available free for download on this page below the video.

To download the Perpetual Beverage Inventory Template in Excel Format, click here.

To download the Perpetual Beverage Inventory Template instructions in PDF format, click here.

To read an article on Perpetual Beverage Inventory, click here.

To download the free Banquet Bar Requisition Template in Excel format, click here

To download the Banquet Bar Requisition Template instructions in PDF format, click here