Why Weighing is the Most Efficient and Accurate Bar Inventory Method

Why Weighing is the Most Efficient and Accurate Bar Inventory Method
Industry & Technology - January 18, 2021 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Successful beverage inventory management results in a huge number of benefits for your bar. It helps your business to reduce drink shortages, limit waste, optimize reordering, avoid order mistakes, increase profits and much more.

Yet not all beverage inventory management methods are born equal. Unsurprisingly, a lot can go wrong when managing your bar’s inventory - particularly when you do so manually. That’s why it’s best to invest in an inventory management system that will automate and improve your internal processes.

The issue is, a lot of these systems are still encouraging bar managers to manage their inventory through the tenthing method. 

Here at Sculpture Hospitality, our team of inventory management experts understand that tenthing simply isn’t the best way to manage a bar inventory. That’s why our innovative inventory management system uses the method of weighing instead.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at what tenthing actually is, why it’s not completely accurate, whether electronic tenthing is any better and why the method of weighing bottles is a far more efficient and accurate way to manage your bar’s inventory.

What exactly is tenthing?

Many bars are still using the traditional method of tenthing to manage their inventory. The tenthing system is an inventory management method in which a person picks up or eyeballs a bottle to estimate how full it is to the nearest tenth. The estimated number is then recorded on a clipboard before being manually entered into a spreadsheet. 

For example, a bottle that is a third of the way full (30 percent) would be noted down as 0.3. 

What are the issues with tenthing? 

The process is slow: Having a member of your team complete the tenthing method is incredibly time-consuming. They need to pick up each individual bottle, estimate how much beverage is remaining in it and then note that down in the correct section on the clipboard. They need to take their time to ensure they don’t make an error, as that could have a ripple effect on your inventory management processes.

It’s completely subjective: There’s no way to accurately measure your true inventory with the tenthing method, it’s entirely subjective. It’s an estimation, and while one employee may believe there’s 50 percent left in the bottle another staff member may think there’s 60 percent remaining. This subjectivity leads to inaccurate inventory counts. 

It doesn’t let you measure variance: Most standard drinks involve a 1.5 oz. serving, yet due to the size of alcohol bottles the tenthing method means you are calculating your inventory in 3.4 oz. increments. This means you can’t accurately measure variance, and won’t have a clear idea of what you’ve used compared to what you’ve sold. 

What about electronic tenthing? 

Our definition of tenthing above is the old school and standard approach to tenthing which many bars still perform, but tenthing can also be performed in conjunction with an inventory management system. This is called electronic tenthing.

Electronic tenthing is the same as standard tenthing, but an inventory management system is used to speed up the process. The process works by uploading a photo of a bottle into the system, you then move a line to where the beverage is in the bottle and the system uses an algorithm to determine how much is remaining. 

While electronic tenthing provides some improvements on standard tenthing by speeding up and automating the process, it’s still far from perfect and will prevent your bar from truly accrutaley managing its inventory. 

The issues with electronic tenthing

It’s still not accurate: Drawing a line to the exact amount of beverage left in a bottle can be difficult on a phone, and that’s not even taking into account if you are measuring a bottle in which the product isn’t clearly visible. There’s still a vast amount of room for human error and subjective counts.

It still doesn’t measure variance: Despite using technology to speed up the counts, you are still using the tenthing method. That means the increments in which you are measuring still don’t match your serving sizes, giving you no real accuracy into what your bar has used vs. what it has sold.

Why weighing bottles with the use of an inventory management system provides the most accurate results

To ensure your bar is able to accurately measure inventory and, in return, increase profits, you should instead consider weighing your bottles. Weighing your bar’s bottles is actually the most efficient and accurate way to measure bar inventory. 

Using electronic scales and an inventory management system to weigh your bottles, both at the beginning of the inventory period and at the end of the period, will give you true accuracy into how much product you have used compared to how much you have sold. 

Weighing bottles is fast, objective and incredibly accurate. This results in internal efficiencies for your bar and a deeper understanding of your inventory that allows you to make well-informed decisions to increase profits, prevent waste, optimize your orders and limit spoilage.

Are you looking for more information on how weighing bottles can significantly improve your bar’s inventory management processes? Contact the Sculpture Hospitality team of inventory management experts today. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

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A Complete Buyer's Guide to Food & Beverage Inventory Management Systems

With around 25 to 35 percent of a restaurant’s operating budget dedicated to purchasing food (that’s not even taking into account beverage inventory costs for the bar), proper inventory management can significantly improve expected revenue.

To maximize profits you need to improve visibility and control over your restaurant or bar’s inventory. 

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