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Bar Inventory and Staff Control Can Keep You Out of Trouble

Bar Inventory and Staff Control Can Keep You Out of Trouble

If you want to run a bar successfully and prevent theft you need responsible employees and regularly conduct bar inventory.

After a few comments from our loyal readers, who found that the content of the texts we published is more related to restaurants owners, than owners of cafe bars, pubs and bars we decided to make a blog post that is exclusively deals with bars management, more precisely with the supervision of employees and bar inventory.

Before I throw myself to the actual topic, I would like to share a few general facts about bars with you.

Bars got different faces

Running a bar is part of hospitality business, place where are served the alcoholic and non – alcoholic drinks, including entertainment, humor, and appropriate music. Basically there is not big differences between pubs and similar catering establishments and bars .

The term “Bar” in its narrower sense, (English : bar) means place where people sitting on a bar stools and where bartenders are preparing different kind of drinks.
The associated shelves for bottles and accessories could be also called bar. (English Backbar) .

In a broader sense , the term bar has been understood as a place where people going out to have a drink or to socialize and have fun with other people.

Bar Types

A classic bar is an American bar, where were prepared and served alcoholic drinks and cocktails mainly. Most of them are open only in the evening or at night, but some of them also has been open during a during the day.
Depending what they have in offer there are quite different bars around us.


In recent years , the bar owners are getting more creative when we talk about bar design and offer. Specific design will make your bara different from others and play an important role if you want to successfully run a bar .

Lounge Bar , Resto- Bar (restaurant and bar all under one roof ), Various types of cozy Pubs, Milk bars, Internet Bar, Smoothie bars, Night clubs … these are different types of Bars made for different mood and atmosphere where people prefer to spend their free evenings.
I love them all, because almost each one is unique and interesting in its own way.
But, like almost every food establishment bar manager or owner has problems which they must deal in their daily work.
Each work segment must be professionally planned before implementation, starting with the creation of the business plan and well organized team.

Here you can find free examples and templates of business plans for different types of catering business.

What makes Bars successful

Every person who has established his own business and opened her own bar, has one goal: to become independent and to be successful, but also to earn a lot of money with the dream job. However, success is subjective.

Many people believe that independence and richness are on the same level. Indeed this is true, but until then it is a long way which must be mastered.

Determination, the appropriate education, experience in the profession and much, much more play an important role in the achievement of the goal. Also you will need little luck on your way to success.

Respond in time

One of the important skills that successful bar owners need to have is the ability to respond at the right time and in the right way. Quick and clear answers from the owner, who answered on the questions of the staff, contractors or inspectors say a lot about his character and his bar management skills.

In everyday situations, it is extremely important to “ respond quickly “ and to give appropriate answers. From time to time you will give a wrong answer, but it is better to correct your mistakes later, then that your staff think that you are incompetent and indecisive.

Be careful with promises, never promise something what you can not fulfill.

How to Communicate With Your Staff

” Arguing with minds ” should be accepted rule of succesful verbal communication. Staff with ” right” answers and arguments , is a rarity in the hospitality business. However, if the Bartender is responsible person and bar’s staff appreciates his questions and answers, this is the best solution for both sides. Your employees will appreciate the way you work , if you explain and convince them why that way of working is the best for them and your bar.


Direct control of the bar staff

Bar manager need to have a control over the bars operations, work of their employees and to optimize whole working process. The behavior of the staff and provided customer service must be monitored and evaluated. This gives you possibility to respond on time if the problems encountered and to prevent theft from employees. Remember , there are no successful bar without control.

Keep your eyes on your staff

My advice for you is to watch your staff, especially if they are new one, during their work and to make notes about them. Make notes about weaknesses but also about the strengths of each individually. No fear, control does not mean stalking. 

Tell to your hardworking waiter that he should be more pleasant to the guests even if he had a bad day and you can understand him maybe, but he must make an effort and with friendly “Good evening” come to each guest. That is a part of his work, especially in a bar.

Also you should tell to your bartender who speaks too much with guests that this is inappropriate behavior.

For you as the owner or bar manager it is necessary to be careful when you control your employees who work in front of and behind the bar. Some of them might interpret your control wrong. , In order to avoid misunderstanding do this in a discreet and imperceptible way. Sometimes owners exceed the limits of “allowed” control and enter in the privacy of his employees. You should not do that, never!


Watch realistically the entire work behavior of your staff and make notes about certain situations . Then bring out all the suggestions and compliments to each worker individually at the end of the working day. Give valuable advices , but also compliments.

Accept your staff oppinions

I know, that you could not talk with your waiters about every segment of your bar business, and asks for an opinion when making decisions, but, from time to time to hear a second opinion or to apply some obtained advice is always good for each person and every business. It is important to know your employees opinion to make the right decision.

Allow to your staff to present their own ideas and suggestions. When you leave them to think about some problem and give them possibility to make their own solutions to fix some problem, they begin to respect you more because they feeling respected.

Good team – higher sales

Communication with your staff in the bar is not even a easy job. They are different individuals different character, and often it takes a long time to find your way for communication to each of them. You need to have knowledge about art of communication.

In successful team, each employee should feel as a part of it. This is a big challenge.What makes a good team, and how to build it ?
The owner of the bar achieved this harmony only when he becomes good example in everything he does. One thing is certain, there is no team without cooperation.

Team Leader, should always see the smallest details and to easily indicate the mistakes, explain why something was done wrong and offer proper solutions. A well-established and successful team makes every employee happy and in turn, make the guests happy and a full bar dominated by happy people, leading to more revenue


Theft in your bar?

How would you react if you during the inventory that you occasionally run in your bar, notice that you have been robbed ? Numbers tell you that the state of your cash register and the actual state of the stock is absolutely disagree. Oh yes, that means that you have lost a lot of money.
Who done that? Do you actually have right to accuse someone without evidence?
All the effort to build trust with your employees, suddenly it seems like wasted time. Yes, the horror !

To avoid this possible scenario, we advise you to manage inventory regularly that you can done more easily with the help of modern and high-quality POS systems.

 Why and how to manage bar inventory ?

It is important to explain how and why an inventory in a bar has to be made. In general, the inventory is primarily done to determine the actual state of the stock and what was the real value of goods sold in a particular period. Inventory in bars is of great importance, but unfortunately the most of the bars / cafes do not manage it regularly, because an inventory takes a lot of time if you want to be carried out properly.

If you are going to open your own bar, it is very important to write down the initial condition of the goods and to enter it into the POS system. It is the best to do this immediately upon delivery of the goods, because then nothing will be forgotten while you checked the delivery.

The initial state of the stock is very important , because each successive acquisition adds links to it. If any account has been entered correctly and all purchased goods were registered in the program actual state must coincide with the inventory situation of goods at the bar, which we get by physical measurement.

Controlling your bar ?

There are various opportunities for theft and negligence behind the bar. In most bars staff usually work without direct supervision of the owner or bar manager, which of course makes things easier if your employee planned a theft . Theft can easily be carried out , and difficult to prove , and it is almost impossible to prevent it.

Why inventory can not always prevent the theft ?

I will give you few examples.

It is difficult to record the actual state of draft beer during the inventory, because there are always already broached barrels of beer, which is impossible to control. Daily measurement and monitoring would perhaps lead to the actual situation, but this is almost impossible to perform. The same thing is with the juice from juice machines.

Openned and half-empty bottles are particularly difficult to measure. Different drinks and sometimes even different size of bottles of the same drinks lead to delays in managing the inventory .

The bar inventory can easily be manipulated, if for example bottles of liquor are filled with water.

If your staff bring their bottles of a drink in the bar, and sells this drink to your guests, inventory falls into the water .

If more people work in one shift, it is impossible to accuse only one that could be responsible for a criminal act. All of them will of course go crazy and deny theft. To accuse all workers also does not help, because this leads to the deterioration of working conditions between employees.

Inventory at the bar usually takes a lot of time, especially if you use the meter for drinks or scale. No matter how you resolved to carry out an inventory, it is rare that a bar every day can thoroughly carry out an inventory.


POS software as a solution ?

How can inventory be carried out so that no one is damaged?

The easiest way to conduct a inventory of bars, is the modern or rather say regular way, with POS systems for bars and restaurants. Enter each goods immediately upon delivery in the program.

When waiters issue receipts, then program automatically removes the goods from the stock that you previously entered into the system. At the end of the shift we read inventory list of goods that must match the physical condition of the goods.

If your items are not properly entered into the program, there will be certain differences between real state of stock and stock entered into the program. Such disagreements are favorable to the waiters if they want to steal your bar.

So I suggest that you should take lot of care when entering ingredients and items into the program.

How can inventory be carried out so that no one is damaged?

One of the common problems are in adjustment and control of inventories of additives, which are served at the bar during preparation of cocktails and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. For example, if your guest ordered cocktail with some additional fruit and its ingredients are entered into the program, there will be disagreement during inventory, which is understandable. Unfortunately, employees also use this situation to steal. Also if the stocks were not entered correctly into the program, there will be differences between stock inventory of the POS software and the true state. One more reason why is very important to enter items into the program correctly.

Have you been robbed as bar owner ?
Did you had problems with employees ?
How often you perform inventory in your bar ?

Share your story with us, you never knows, maybe you will help to other bar owners !