Expert Advice on Hospitality Topics

Drink Selection: Optimizing Your Liquor Inventory

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Wed, Sep, 14, 2011 @ 10:09 AM
By Elizabeth Godsmark
Atlantic Publishing

Part 3 of 4: Cocktails--Reduce Costs While Cocktails, LiquorIncreasing Customer Satisfaction

Cocktails are good for profits, and cocktail hour can be serious, big business. The customer feel-good factor is crucial. This can be achieved at no extra cost. Imagination is free.

  • Well brands. Reduce costs by sticking to well brands for cocktails. Don't pour away your profits by using premium brands in cocktail recipes.
  • Premium brands. Your establishment might be the sort of outlet that can make big profits out of selling premium brands. If so, use premium or middle-grade ingredients in your cocktails. Take every opportunity to advertise that fact. Emblazon quality brand names across your menus. Also, speak to your suppliers - they may be interested in offering you reduced rates in exchange for some free advertising.
  • Signature drinks. Use your imagination and create something really special. Above all, a signature drink must look special. Choose unusual colors. Use different garnishes, such as asparagus, pepperoncini, jumbo shrimp, crab claw or scallions. Stand out from the crowd.
  • "Stirred, not shaken." Don't shake mixed drinks that contain carbonated ingredients, particularly if those components are clear liquids. The bubbles will go flat, and the liquids will become cloudy. Stir instead.
  • Presentation. Dare to be different. How about serving Chambord on the side for a Meltdown Raspberry Margarita? Let customers pour the liqueur portion themselves. As the liqueur blends into the drink, it will release wonderful aromatic raspberry flavors. It will also look visually stunning. Guests will think, "value."
  • Champagne. Many recipes use champagne as a base ingredient. Once opened, a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine becomes a liability, because the bubbles are short-lived. Buy a bottle sealer specifically designed to cope with this problem. Ensure that bartenders know how to use it. You can't afford champagne wastage.
  • Ice. Choose a cocktail station that has a deeper-than-average ice bin (up to 15 inches, maximum capacity). Put a divider through the middle of the bin and use it for storing both crushed and cubed ice. When the bar is busy, hanging around waiting for ice supplies costs money.
  • Speed. Reposition liquor, wine and soda guns directly above the cocktail station. The soda gun should be placed on the left-hand side of the station, so that the bartender's right hand is free to hold a liquor bottle at the same time. A bartender using both hands is working at top speed and maximum efficiency.
  • Perceived value. Improve customer perception of value and quality by increasing the high-cost portion of the cocktail. Up the liquor content to two ounces. Guests will feel they are getting real value for their money; you know this is good for profits.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Controlling Liquor Wine & Beverage Costs, authored by Elizabeth Godsmark, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: liquor inventory timing, restaurant trends, liquor products