Don't Get Wasted! The 7 Deadly Sins of Beer Pouring in Bars

By: Taylor White

5 Minute Read

Nov 20, 2017

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We have a reasonable expectation that we get what we pay for in this life.

If you go to an ATM and withdraw $100, make your way to your favorite restaurant, and later find out that $20 fell out of a hole in your pocket, would you be satisfied?

Absolutely not!

Then why are we satisfied with throwing away that same 20% of potential revenue in each keg of beer? The reality is as much as 20% of draft beer in each tapped keg is wasted; this is beer that you paid for, but never sold to customers.

There are seven wasteful sins that could be the reason you are losing profit on your draft beer sales. We’re here to help you combat them.

CTA1) Free Beer

Two habits of your staff could be the reason you are pouring profits down the drain: freebies and overpours. Staff may assume that a few ounces won’t be missed from a keg, but freebies quickly add up.

Make sure bartenders know that you have a process for tracking draft beer through your bar POS system and provide an incentive for accuracy. Prevent overpours by training staff on how to perfect their pours. A properly poured beer will have an inch of foam, which is desirable to enhance aromatics and mouthfeel.

2) Inventory Guesswork

It can be tricky to assess how much draft beer you have in stock. You know how many servings a keg will contain, but since you likely offer a range of glass sizes, and beer head must be factored in, calculating inventory can get a bit complicated. Unless you know how much draft beer is leaving your kegs in real time, ounces poured versus ounces sold can vary widely from reality.

3) Unappealing Tap Lineups

Many bar managers choose their beer selection at random or based on the recommendation of their beer reps. Rather than guessing, you should take the time to analyze the market, make decisions based on what is selling, and understand that the right variety is vital.

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4) Foam

We all know that too much foam is a bad thing – it’s unappealing to the customer and contributes a lot of waste.

But what causes foam? Pressure.

When CO2 pressure is set too high, too much pressure is displacing the beer, causing it to come out foamy. Check the regulator for correct pressure settings. When kegs get too warm, excess carbon dioxide is released, causing foam to erupt and the beer to go sour and become cloudy. About 25 percent of foam is beer, so allowing foam to accumulate in the keg cheats you out of sellable product.

5) Non-Competitive Market Pricing

A keg of a trendy craft beer might cost you six times more per-ounce than the mainstream lager. Without the right approach to pricing, trying to sell that craft brew can be difficult. Like every consumer product, each pint has an optimal price point – that price where the most people are going to buy it at the highest profit value.

Charge too little for a beer and you might sell a lot of beer, but undercut your profit or lose sales among consumers who perceive low price as low quality. Charge too much, and nobody will buy the beer.

The key is to think about selling your beer by the ounce, not the glass. In doing so, you’ll better maximize your profit per ounce. The net result is you will likely see your prices per pint shift away from the normal $4, $4.50, $5, etc. and towards more specific prices like $5.15.

6) Stale Beer

Beer has a finite shelf life. Once tapped, the beer begins to lose its freshness and, once it’s stale, it becomes unsellable.

On average, 20% of beer is wasted in each keg. Investing in technology that helps you track real-time consumption and consumption trends over time alongside your bar POS system can help you get the most out of every single keg. With this information in hand, you’ll end up with an optimized cooler filled with beer you know will move quickly and consistently.

7) Untapping Too Soon

Traditionally, bartenders “shake the keg” to gauge how much beer is left. There wasn’t a better way to look inside a keg... Until now!

SteadyServ tracks real-time keg levels, provides actionable insights to eliminate guesswork, and helps you sell every last drop. The solution puts kegs online and allows you to see inside your kegs and know, down to the pint, how much sellable beer you have left – providing the intelligence needed to make data-driven decisions as to what you should be buying and selling.

What's Next?

If you would like more information regarding the seven wasteful sins, want to gain insight into the places waste may be occurring in your business, and discover tactics that will empower you to reduce your draft beer waste, click here to download our free ebook.

In this free guide, we share:

  • Seven ways you may be losing profit on draft beer sales
  • How retailers are using technology to dramatically reduce waste
  • Our insights into where the beer industry is headed how to stay ahead of the curve
  • Tips for keeping inventory waste at a minimum

Next, check out how Toast's bar POS system and SteadyServ's real-time bar inventory tracking software works together here.

Avoiding the 7 Deadly Beer Sins

What do you do to keep beer costs in control? Share in the comments below!

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