Check surpluses

Related tags Soft drink

How closely do you look at your results once your stocktaker has given them to you? If it's a surplus then chances are you will be reasonably happy...

How closely do you look at your results once your stocktaker has given them to you? If it's a surplus then chances are you will be reasonably happy with it. But should you accept it as being a reasonable result for your business? You are the only person who can really answer that question, but here are some points to consider before filing it away in the drawer with the other results.

If your result is much better than your expectation then you should look closely at it, particularly if the amount of surplus is out of line with previous results. Depending on the style of business you are running in your pub, a genuine surplus can be legitimately achieved. The main two factors contributing to this are the dispensing of free-flow draught beer and the selling of large amounts of post-mix soft drinks. There is a tendency in the trade to accept a surplus as a reasonable result and to reject a deficit as poor performance.

There are many factors which can influence the final results. If all your draught beers are dispensed through a measured half pint, then there will be no natural surplus that you would achieve if your beers were dispensed on free-flow into exactsize pint glasses.

Post-mix soft drinks and ice is another factor that can generate a surplus. Obviously if you put ice into a glass before dispensing the mineral then you will save a certain amount of the product. If you charge a bit more for a splash of soft drink or make a charge for soda that is dispensed through the post-mix system, this again produces a surplus.

If your stocktaker says that you have a large surplus, and you do not have the means or the style of business to generate this, then you must ask yourself and your stocktaker if it is right. So what should you look for as reasons for getting a surplus that you are not expecting?

l Overcharging ­ regular supervision and observation will help.

l Short measures ­ ensure that correct glass sizes are used for the right drinks. Ensure regular supervision and observation.

l Missing delivery information ­ your stocktaker should spot this.

l Incorrect revenue figures ­ ensure that everything is included.

l Incorrect selling prices ­ check that all prices programmed into your tills and the stocktaker's file agree with your tariff.

l Allowances and adjustments have been calculated correctly.

You should look suspiciously on a large surplus as much as you would on a deficit, otherwise you may be kidding yourself and fall into a false sense of security.

The most important factor when looking at any stocktake data is to be realistic and do not look for false hope when you should be formulating an action plan to deal with a possible problem.

Accuracy is paramount and whether the news is good or bad you will be much better placed to deal with potential problems.

Always look closely at your results and ask your stocktaker to explain all the information on the detailed stock report.

You owe it to yourself for peace of mind and to your staff. After all if you can trust your staff then you are halfway there.


Post-mix savings

QI currently use a mixture of 1.5 litre bottles of cola and lemonade, along with 200ml and 330ml cola. My stocktaker has told me that post-mix is more profitable. Is this correct?

AYes, for several reasons. Firstly, although the 1.5lt bottles are priced quite competitively compared to post-mix, they are quite unwieldy and thus it is difficult to pour precise volumes, for example how big should a "splash" be when served with a spirit. They can also increase wastage if too fizzy when opened, or become flat if left opened for any length of time.

The smaller bottled soft drinks are much more expensive pro-rata than post-mix. For example, a 10lt box of cola would cost about £40, but yield at least 60lt of finished product ­ ie, a cost of just under 67p per litre. It would take five 200ml bottles to dispense a litre of liquid, this being at an approximate cost of £1.25 to £1.50 per litre, so the potential savings are quite apparent.

Post-mix dispensers can be set to precise volumes, it frees up storage space, saves time and you can charge more pro-rata for a "splash" than you do for a glass.

Keep tabs on food

QCan you please tell me what the best way is to count food stock? There are so many items in my kitchen and stores and many of the same products appear in different locations that I do not know where to start.

AFood stocktaking is no different to any other stocktaking, in that it must be carried out in a methodical manner. I have seen kitchen staff carry out their own food count and the most common fault is instead of locating the product, counting it and then recording it on the stock count sheet, they do it the opposite way round. They look at the first item on the count sheet and then proceed to find it in the store room or freezer; they then record it on the count sheet and move on to the second item on their count sheet. They do this until they have located everything on their count sheet, then they think they are finished. If new products have been delivered since the previous food count then by using this method they will never be counted. Make sure that you capture all the products during the count. This is done by systematically moving left to right, top to bottom until every thing is counted.

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