In the restaurant world a certain amount of waste is unavoidable but good management practices can keep the potential revenue loss to a minimum. Success involves establishing easy-to-follow procedures and reflects “buy in” from all staff members that proper inventory control and portioning size are their shared responsibility.
As wine by-the-glass continues to increase as an overall percentage of restaurant beverage sales, it’s essential that staff understand the role they play in keeping it a healthy profit center. There’s a natural tendency for bar staff to want to offer “a little bit extra” to their regular customers when they’re working the service bar. Over- pouring alcohol can lead to inebriation—not to mention missed opportunities to sell guests a second glass—and it also causes significant erosion of sales; an extra half ounce may seem insignificant but can represent losses of between 10 and 15 percent of overall wine revenues.
Most restaurant point-of-sale systems link up with inventory control programs. It’s important to communicate what your wine variance is on a weekly basis; just letting the team know that you’re monitoring it can eliminate some waste. If you suspect wine is being given away, try to determine which bottles represent the most significant loss; conduct a count of these bottles before and after each shift and determine how much is not accounted for until you can narrow down the problem to a particular staff member who may need more training.
Training and management follow-up are the keys to minimizing by-the-glass waste. Fill one of your wine glasses with a precisely measured quantity of colored water and leave it clearly on display at the bar to remind staff that the volume represents the line that they cannot pour beyond.
A second solution is to etch a mark in each wine glass that clearly delineates the pour point. This method makes it much easier to hit a mark quickly and explain the reason for the size of the pour to skeptical guests because they frequent other restaurants with different shaped glassware.
Training and management oversight are the keys to making whichever solution you choose yield results. In restaurants that are too busy for this to occur consistently, another practice that can be employed is to use an electronic wine dispensing portion-control machine, although the potential drawbacks of this system are that in the eyes of customers it may associate wine service more with technology than with romance and cuisine. ·
Step by Step
1. Explain clearly to all staff their role in insuring profitability and reducing waste.
2. Make sure staff understands what causes variance and that it’s their responsibility to minimize it.
3. Determine which wines contribute most to variance and do critical counts of them until you’ve isolated the problem.
4. Choose a method of “passive” portion control, either using dummy glasses or etched glassware that makes accuracy easier.
5. Train staff to use whatever system you’ve chosen and follow up with coaching and testing to make sure it’s being used properly.