Every planner knows that the bar bill can drive costs way up. Here’s some valuable advice from our resident F & B expert, Claire Gould.
This month is all about the banquet bar and how important it is to not be lazy about checking inventory.
At a recent event in Arizona, I was signing off on checks for 90-person event held the previous night, when a bar bill set my B.S. meter buzzing. How did I know this bill was so far off?
For starters, I watched the bartenders pour the night before, and no one was over-pouring. Yet, all beverages consumed had high numbers. This is a good indicator something is wrong, especially for a smaller group. (Usually if liquor or beer is high then wine or sodas/waters will be lower.) Then, I added up the total number of drinks consumed and divided it by attendees. The per-person drink total was very high.
What’s a gal to do? I explained all of this to my CSM. Her comment was they had the inventory sheets to prove the numbers.
No, the only thing proven was someone knew how to write a number in the appropriate slot.
Here is what I did. I purposely waited until five minutes before the next evening’s function and told the banquet captain to instruct both bartenders to save all beer caps and wine corks. I would be doing liquor inventory with him that evening, and I would only pay for what was turned in.
With an additional 15 people in attendence, here’s what happened to the inventory numbers:
- Liquor went from 144 to 114 @ $6.00 per drink
- Domestic Beer went from 97 to 45 @ $4.50 per drink
- Imported Beer went from 135 to 104 @ $5.50 per drink
- Bottles of Wine went from 20 bottles to 10 bottles @ $34.00 per bottle
- Sodas went from 54 to 15 @ $3.25 per drink
- Bottled Water went from 63 to 17 @ $3.50 per drink
Needless to say, these numbers made more sense.
Do yourself a favor and save your client money: Follow the liquor inventory steps outlined above, and get the truest numbers on actual spend.