Hospitality, as an industry, embraces the season of spring like no other. January and February are typically quiet trading months and footfall tends to dry up (see #dryjanuary). We at Venners always suggest stock control as a good measure to get you through the slump of late-winter. Every drop of profit helps in that regard. However, now that winter has passed and the evenings are growing ever-lighter, there are some sure-fire things we would like to suggest to position your business for maximum profit throughout 2018. So, consider this a little stock control “spring cleaning” piece, if you will.
1 – Assess your bar’s product lines for sales performance
We always suggest starting by assessing the strength of your product-line sales performance (you should see this in your monthly stocktake report). This is a great way of understanding which lines don’t work so you can replace poor performers with new, more interesting product lines. Our customers will certainly be advised to look back at last summer’s stock reports to gain insight into the best summer sellers.
2 – Renegotiate supplier deals
We always ask our customers when they last negotiated with suppliers. The financial year end is a great time to look at your purchasing and drill down to find extra savings. Often this illuminates areas where negotiating discounts with your suppliers can prove successful and make for a more frugal business.
3 – Engineer your drinks offer for the season
Now, it sounds simple but it really is important to understand how the warmer weather changes drinkers eating and drinking tastes and habits allowing you to react accordingly. Drinkers will tend to move away from drinking reds to whites or rosés and from darker ales or rubies to lighter beers, ciders and perries. Soft options will likely be in greater demand too.
4 – Entice diners with lighter food options
Diners might look for a healthier option or a lighter option and there’s a definite demand-shift toward vegetarian and vegan dining at the moment which might be worth embracing, if you haven’t yet. The dryer weather will also increase demand for outdoor-friendly dishes with appetites turning to barbecues, meats and sandwiches.
5 – Sell through close-dated stock
It’s also the time to sell through close-dated stock and get your store rooms ready for an increased stockholding of summer flavours and menu options. So if you have any Christmas or winter stock left over from the period just gone, promote it heavily through discounts and offers, if you can. On a side note, if you find that this frees up some space in your store rooms, you could even ask staff to give it a proper spring clean – stock room cleaning is oft neglected (trust us, we’re stocktakers) and it’s really as good a time as any. Once that’s done, you can start planning your menus and offerings for the coming months, because with all that space freed up in your stores, you’re ready to get purchasing set up.
6 – Ensure staff are trained properly
With the large surge in trade, you might temporarily rely on a more casual workforce which can leave you vulnerable to certain types of shrinkage. For the best chance of success, use the coming months to train staff in dispense, perfect pour, correct measures and proper stock control, which can all contribute to a more successful summer.
7 – Don’t forget other summer activities!
Finally, make sure you plan for special nights or events. We’re fans of beer festivals, barbeques and really anything that helps you take advantage of those long summer evenings that provide extra revenue opportunities. These days, there are some excellent emerging technologies that allow for outdoor dispense that almost completely eliminate wastage, which can really bolster your profits. Just make sure you have adequate controls in place (see stocktaking) and you’ll most certainly be up.