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Stop Profit Loss at the Tap

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It seems that a perfect storm is brewing for the restaurant industry. Customer traffic is sliding, commodity and fuel prices are sky rocketing, and profit margins on food and beverage are being squeezed. In addition to this, beer can now be added to the long list of problems, thanks to a shortage of hops supplies and the subsequent rise in breweries prices. Faced with the struggle to justify prices hikes to their customers, many are turning to something that is in their control: operational efficiencies

A situation like this spells trouble for restaurant concepts such as Hooters, which gets 25 percent of its revenue from beer. Although draft beer generates average large gross margins, it is also plagued by huge losses due to wastage and theft. Since draft beer is served directly out of kegs containing nearly 2000 ounces, restaurant operators have no visibility or control over how much beer is being poured. California-based Hootwinc, LLC, a franchisee operating Hooters restaurants in Washington, Oregon, and Southern California, has adopted a new technology at companywide stores to stem the draining profits from its bottom-line.

"Using this new technology solution has allowed accurate tracking of our draft beer, and has drastically affected our ability to decrease loss and drop money to the bottom line," says Mark Potter, CEO of Hootwinc.

The technology, invented by Syracuse, New York based US Beverage Net, allows restaurant owners to measure every ounce of beer dispensed and automatically compare it against what is paid for at the cash register. The system, called bevManager, involves the installation of a flow meter in every beer line between the keg and faucet. Flow meters measure ounces of beer flowing and send the data to the company's centralized servers. The system is also tied in with the restaurant's cash register to monitor beer sales. When restaurant operators log in to the bevManager system via a regular internet browser, they can monitor the quantity of beer poured against revenue collected at the cash register in real time. Losses, if any, are identified immediately.

“The system has helped us troubleshoot and pinpoint not only mechanical issues that cause loss of product, but also theft and poor techniques in pouring by our bartenders," Potter says. The real time system allows restaurant operators like Potter to view product losses by the hour or minute, and place accountability on their bartenders. The system is also capable of alerting restaurant managers of any suspicious activity by sending email or text message alerts to their mobile phones.

Besides curbing losses, the system saves restaurant managers time and effort in carrying out their daily tasks‚ from managing inventory, to placing and receiving orders from beer distributors. "You know what they say, you can't manage it if you don't measure it". This measurement supports our operational teams to help them conduct and streamline daily functions. They troubleshoot daily costs so they can better spend their time with our guests and employees," notes Potter.

Click Here to check out more information and a demo video on the Draft Tracker system.

Article courtesy of Hospitality Technology Magazine.