I want to first say that it is refreshing to be able to do what you love. Sure there are frustrations along the way and days that I do not want to go into work but for the most part I really enjoy what I do. Part of the reason I am documenting the process of this experience is because I want to launch a Beverage Consulting business. I want to come in and be onsite for 90-180 days full time and then another 90 days on a smaller scale. I believe this is the average time that it will take me to fix all facets of your beverage program. Not only will I be able to fix your program saving you money and increasing your bottom line I will be able to ensure that it runs efficiently and smoothly after I am all but removed from the day to day operations. This is the beauty of my business. You will never have to worry about your beverage program and 9 times out of 10 I will pay for my services in the first year.
Back to my current project. I have stepped into a very high volume classic Atlanta steakhouse that has been in business for 20+ years. They have a great clientel, great owners, great employees and a great reputation. I have been brought in to fix some problems in the beverage program. Up until this point the beverage program has been run by a server on staff at the restaurant. Having done that myself in the past I believe it can be a recipe for disaster. Beverage sales are a major part of the restaurants revenue and there are many places that a restaurant can lose a lot of money fast. There are three major areas that can bleed money in your beverage program.
Theft & Waste - This is the most commonly assumed problem when restaurants begin to see less profit from their beverage sales and is most certainly an area that needs to be watched.
Pricing Errors - This can range from a number of reasons but the most basic is that many people who are pricing drinks do not have a solid formula to base their prices on. It is easy with wine but a little more tricky with liquor and beer.
Cost Per Unit Increase - Another factor in the pricing equation is fluctuating prices from your vendors. If you do not have someone looking at every invoice you receive and watching prices chances are you are already losing a lot of money.
The key to finding where you are losing your money is what I spent the first 30 days doing. Building a system that allows you to track all of your numbers and find out where the bleeding is. Without these systems you cannot fully understand your beverage program and you can not maximize the potential profit from your restaurant. In the first 60 days you can expect to have a full diagnostic and plan to fix all areas of sales and profit loss.
Once these areas are identified there are easy solutions to stop the bleeding. That is the process I am currently in the middle of dancing with at my current project. I am awaiting my first full months costs but I already know where the problems are and have begun implementing plans to correct them. The biggest issue with this account is that there pricing had not been updated in the last 5 years. Liquor prices have gone up drastically and the amount they are charging per drink has not caught up. This seems like a simple fix. Just raise prices. That would be the easy option but I think it is being lazy and not doing the best for your guests.
There is a better solution that will take a little longer but will be better in the end. Yes prices must be raised but I still want to have the lowest drink prices in town and be able to make the most money off of those drinks. I want to have my cake and eat it too. In this scenario, with a little bit of work and negotiation I should be able to pull off both. Anyone can run a good beverage program but very few people can run a great beverage program. A program that makes incredible profit while giving the guest the best possible alcohol for their dollar guaranteed. That is my mission and my expertise in this area is available to you.