Beverage Dispensing – Managing the Perfect Pour
Historical records track the consumption of beer and wine back 5,000 years. Liquor distillation began about 2,000 years ago and today, liquor is one of the world’s most traded commodities. Central to the liquor industry are the millions of bars and restaurants that serve millions of liters of drinks each day
Key to the successful management of a bar or restaurant is being able to measure its liquor pour cost - the bar’s cost of goods sold as a percentage of total sales. For those keeping score, if a bar of restaurant has a drink product that cost $2, and sells it for $10, then the pour cost is 20%. In order to calculate an accurate pour cost and determine how to factor it into their overall profitability measures, restaurant and bar owners need to contend with inventory shrinkage, which is a big problem in this massive service industry. More specifically, bar operations often lose profits due to careless draft beer pouring by bartenders (the horror - around 10-15% of tap beer goes straight down the drain in most pubs), over-pouring liquor shots and product theft. In fact, industry research reports that the average bar can be losing more than 25 percent of their liquor, wine and beer profits through inventory mismanagement.
Gordon's, Vodka, Kina Lillet. Add RFID. Shaken, Not Stirred.
It may seem a little like an 007 gadget from the Q Branch, but, believe it or not, RFID is being integrated into liquor pour systems to help establishments measure every milliliter of alcohol poured to customers.
LasVegas.Net Liquor Inventory System, for example, offers replacement RFID pour spouts, active antennas and browser-based software that allows bar and restaurant owners and managers to record and review drink pour data – down to the last drop. With this system an RFID Spout is assigned to each bottle in the bar and every drink dispensed is automatically tracked in real-time. The Liquorinventory.Net System can generate customized real-time reporting, giving bar owners a detailed view into their establishment's liquor usage to help determine open stock inventory, bartender over/under pours, employee theft, and resolve differences between reported dispensed volume and point of sale records.
Similarly, Northern California based Capton, a leading developer of RFID-based business control solutions for the hospitality market, offers a solution called Beverage Tracker. Beverage Tracker utilize patented RFID-enabled pour spouts that monitor liquor use and wirelessly transmit information on every ounce that is free poured. In a recently published case study, Caption details how the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island in San Diego, CA produced an immediate 3.6 point drop in liquor costs by using Beverage Tracker – an improvement that paid for the system in only 3 months.
The first cocktail party ever thrown was by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. 50 guests were invited to the Walsh mansion at noon on a Sunday for a one hour pre-lunch party. Surely times were different and RFID-enabled pour spouts were not a topic of conversation at the Walsh house. But the next time you are out enjoying your favorite cocktail, take a look at the pour spout of the liquor bottle at the bar. Is RFID is helping manage the perfect pour?