July 12, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today


Buyer’s guide: The Top 50 Most Innovative Products

How 10 Billion Dollars of Liquor is Lost Each Year (And How It’s Being Found)

Have you ever considered how much waste your average bar service generates? I have my favorite local pub where I like to go for the occasional gin and soda. I like going there because I know the bar crew and the owners. My drinks are always a bit stiff, if you catch my drift. In this case, pouring a little bit of extra liquor goes a long way because I keep coming back.

Yet for most bars in most situations, those extra long pulls add up to a lot of extra costs and thus lost profits. Some bartenders are just trying to be generous. The problem is, they’re being generous with someone else’s money. And we’re not talking about small sums here either.

Reducing an Already Low Profit Margin

The average bar loses 20 to 25 percent to liquor shrinkage. In the United States alone, this adds up to around $10 billion a year in lost revenues. That’s a $10 billion dollar drinking problem. For restaurants, this is a grave issue.

Many restaurants sell much of their food at near break-even costs, hoping to later produce their profits off of drinks, desserts, and other higher-margin products. On paper, this works out quite nicely. Draw someone in for a burger, then sell them a few gin and tonics. However, profits can dry up quickly if those liquor bottles are being over-poured.

Few people would think that overly-generous pours at bars could be a multi-billion dollar problem. But, for the team at WeighUp, this was a problem worth tackling. The innovative startup sells weighing scales coupled with data systems to monitor and analyze shrinkage waste. Their system could ultimately help the food and beverage industry clamp down on billions of dollars of lost revenue.

A Data-Driven Response to America’s Liquor Shrinkage Problem

WeighUp’s system seems quite simple at first. Bottles are placed on highly-accurate scales. Then, they are monitored as each pour is made, making it easy for bar managers to keep tabs on how much is flowing out with each pour. Weight scales alone are an interesting solution. However, where WeighUp really shines is in its data system.

WeighUp is able to monitor pours from each individual bartender. Are one or two bartenders being overly generous with their pours? With WeighUp, you’ll know which ones. Not only that, but WeighUp can monitor pours for individual drinks, such as gin and tonics, mojitos, or rum and cokes. Maybe your bartenders are consistently over pouring for margaritas. Perhaps they were poorly trained or misunderstood directions.

By identifying issues at the staff level, bar managers can quickly rectify the situation. If one bartender is consistently over pouring, then you know that he or she needs to be retrained. You don’t have to point fingers, spread rumors, or speculate. Instead, you just look at the data.

In addition, there’s an obvious extension to WeighUp’s data system, and one that I’m impressed that they saw so early in their startup phase. If you’re tracking pours, you’ve already got a powerful, flexible data system in place. So why not expand it to also track inventory? In fact, WeighUp does just that. Bar managers can monitor what’s selling the fastest, how many bottles are left, and more.

Long-simmering problems that have been accepted as part of doing business are now being solved left and right. WeighUp is one such example, offering an innovative solution to a problem many people don’t even know exists, and one that many restaurant owners have come to view as being part and parcel of the industry. Turns out, there’s a solution for that.

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By I&T Today

Innovation & Tech Today features a wide variety of writers on tech, science, business, sustainability, and culture. Have an idea? Send it to submit@innotechtoday.com

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