If you’re considering implementing a wireless liquor control system, you’ve probably run up against a terrible problem such as bartender theft, devastating revenue loss, or such a lack of time and sleep that manual inventory maintenance has become impossible. All these events can lead you to a sense of desperation, and you may feel that you have no option but to buy a liquor maintenance system to regain control of your bar. But do you? This article addresses the pros and cons of wireless liquor control systems so that you can overcome your bar stressors.
A Bar Owner’s Perspective
As a bar owner, you probably feel that a wireless liquor control system is the only solution to your problems—and why shouldn’t you? The things are pretty cool in that they dispense very specific amounts of alcohol, and they keep track of every drop that has been poured so that you know exactly when to reorder. They stop thieves in their tracks, and they save you time. These are all incredible benefits… but liquor control systems have their downsides, too.
In terms of money…
They stop losses. If your bar is suffering from a large loss of revenue, pour systems can help you regain your profits. Inexperienced, heavy-handed bartenders destroy your pricing structure and drain your resources (literally), but with control spouts, your bartenders will pour like seasoned pros.
But…they’re costly. Wireless liquor control systems also cost you a pretty penny, because they have to snap on to every bottle you have, all the time. Yeah, that’s every single open bottle in your bar that now needs a costly, radio-controlled pour spout. Plus, when you use these, you are literally soaking your electronics in liquid all day, so we’re not sure about the longevity of each spout.
In terms of inventory…
They track inventory for you. These systems save you time, because their sensors track your liquor levels in each bottle and they notify you when you’re running low on something. This handy feature makes your bar-backs efficient and makes re-ordering a snap. Plus, if you have a large party reservation, you’ll know what you have on hand sooner than you can say Long Island Iced Tea.
But…they aren’t perfect. Machines are pretty good at what they do, but they can’t account for everything. Liquids have different viscosities, and your bartenders pour at different angles. Both of these variables can affect the accuracy of your wireless liquor control system, and that affects your bottom line.
In terms of theft…
They prevent theft. If you suspect one of your employees is stealing from you, wireless pour systems can solve the problem for you instantly. Either the thief will freak out and stop stealing from you, or your real-time pour tracking will identify the culprit, but either way, you’ll get to the bottom of the problem very quickly.
But…they can’t stop it. Thieves are thieves, and a piece of plastic will not stop them. It will simply make them trickier. You know this, and I know this. Seriously, if you fear that you’re employing a thief, work behind the bar for a few days and figure out who is stealing from you. Then, fire them. Problem solved forever.
In terms of time…
They save time. Not only will you save time with immediate, databased inventory completion and reporting, you’ll also save time on employee training and product ordering. This is good news because you’ll now have the freedom to work behind the bar yourself sometimes, and make friends with the regulars. If you do this, your customers will love it.
But…they take time, too. You know those pour spouts that you put on every single bottle? They’re battery-powered. After a few thousand pours, you need to recharge the batteries in each of the spouts. Charging a wireless pour spout takes about as much time as charging a cell phone—but have you ever had to charge a few hundred cell phones all at the same time, and all before your bar opens at 5:00 pm? Yeah, didn’t think so.
No matter what you decide, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve considered all of your options. Implementing a new wireless liquor control system is a time-consuming process that takes money, patience, and dedication. Plus, it requires a lot of fiddling with software and you have to build an alcohol database. (But remember that it can save you money, and time, so it evens out in the end.) Right now, you’re already pressed for time, so if you decide to get a new pour system, make sure that you set aside some flexibility in your schedule to do so.
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