For the discerning bar manager, a perpetual inventory is a must. A perpetual inventory system is a method used so bar managers can know their exact liquor inventory at any given time. The rule generally is; the more liquor that a bar stocks on hand, the more crucial it is that a bar should use a perpetual inventory system.
What does it mean to take inventory perpetually? Like the name would suggest, it is a continuous inventory. Instead of counting your liquor inventory just once a month, you track each transaction in an ongoing count. The process is definitely tedious to set up initially, but once running can make the inventorying process much easier. Here are the steps to make it successful:
1. Log each type of liquor carried and all the information associated with that liquor in regards to costs and ordering. This includes:
a. Cost of bottle or case
b. Cost per pour (Bottle cost divided by ounces in bottle multiplied by ounces in standard pour)
2. Build a spreadsheet or database that can store and automatically update and calculate based on your inputs. The simplest way to do this is in Microsoft Excel. Be sure to add in places to log requisitions and purchases. Keep the different outlets and storage room all separate on the spreadsheet. Also, add in the extensions that calculate your total inventory value for each item as well as the total. Be sure to include a second area where you can calculate the important numbers that you would like to see (i.e. pour cost to date).
3. Lastly, find a good time and day to perform a full inventory count. The most preferable time is usually when the normal periodic inventory is done. Count everything and log everything into the database.
Now that the system is ready, be sure that the bottle for bottle exchange requisition process is in place, and begin to track each transaction. A good way to approach the situation is to think of each outlet as a separate entity that the storage room is supplying. Now, as all purchases and requisitions are logged as they occur, the database should show exactly how much inventory is in your storage room at any given time. Also, a pretty accurate pour cost can be calculated based on taking your outlet’s sales for the period divided by the requisition costs to the outlet (*Note – At least three months from the system’s launch should be allowed to see the accurate costs).
For a pre-made perpetual inventory database, a simple search online can produce many companies that can produce them. However, for one that is catered to your needs and products, find a person that can do basic Microsoft Excel formulas and functions. A very simple, effective one can be built from scratch.