B.B. King's Keeps Liquor Inventory under Control

By Tommy Peters, President, B.B. King's Clubs | April 08, 2009

When B.B. King's Restaurant and Blues Club in Memphis (www.bbkingclubs.com) opened 18 years ago, management faced many of the same challenges that any restaurant must face, such as site selection, permitting, and getting the word out about the brand. All of these issues were handled with relative ease with the exception of one. Control of alcohol inventory, the bar's figurative bread and butter, proved to be the biggest problem.

With a capacity of 500 persons, B.B. King's is a high-volume establishment, and when catering to a crowd of that magnitude, it's understandable that the occasional beer, shot, or glass of wine would be given away "on the house." But when that action is repeated hundreds of times per month, the costs add up. After ten years in business, the Memphis B.B. King's location was making a profit but management felt that they should have been turning a much larger profit than what was reported. This is where BEVINCO's (www.bevinco.com) alcohol inventory control system came in.

The BEVINCO system was installed through a one-day process that included weighing and counting all of B.B. King's beer, wine and liquor. Through the use of infrared scanners and scales that determine a base weight of each item, BEVINCO uses Bluetooth technology to transmit that information into its proprietary computer system. That information is then converted against actual sales from B.B. King's 2Touch point-of-sale (POS) system and exported into an Excel spread sheet that management can use to track liquor inventory.

Stopping shortages
Once B.B. King's integrated its POS with BEVINCO's computer system, costs went down and sales went up almost instantly. From that day on, liquor and kegs were weighed and bottles and cases were counted on a weekly basis by BEVINCO auditors. Management and staff were not only made aware of the products they were low on, but also the reasons as to why shortages were occurring (which ran the gamut from overpouring to employee theft). Bartenders never realized the damage that a free drink or double shot for the price of a single could do to the restaurant's bottom line. But as soon as BEVINCO entered the picture, it was abundantly clear that these actions could not continue if the company was to remain profitable. BEVINCO was also able to offer a number of seemingly small hints to B.B. King's managers and bartenders that made a huge difference in the way they did business, like recalculating recipes, using a jigger for measuring, and monitoring cooler temperatures.

In B.B. King Memphis' first year of using BEVINCO, management saved close to six figures and that amount has either held steady or increased over the past six years. When it came time to open a second outpost in Nashville in 2003 and a third in Orlando in 2007, management elected to use BEVINCO from the very beginning, a decision that has paid off in dividends.
 

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