Controlling Your Beverage Cart Losses

Quick fixes usually do not address the underlying causes of problems.  By examining, improving, and documenting the process, you can establish underlying systems that will routinely handle situations.  When the bulk of situations in a business are handled routinely, more time is available for customer service and paying attention to details.

Attempt to follow the 80-20 rule.  If you have established routine system procedures for your operation, you are able to devote 80% of your efforts to 20% of the operation – the most critical details.  Look at how one recurring problem was solved with the development of an efficient system.

Joanne is the beverage manager in a high-end country club.  One of her responsibilities is the beverage cart service provided on the golf course.  The challenge presented by this service is a lack of inventory control over readily consumable and easily pilfered snack items.  Predictably, the club has ongoing problems.  After continually suspecting employees and worrying about unidentified losses, Joanne designed a system of checks and balances.

The beverage cart attendant is required to draw inventory from the golf course snack bar.  The snack bar attendant completes the inventory issue sheet and notes all issues as well as turn-ins at the end of the day.  The beverage cart attendant keeps track of sales on an inventory sold sheet.  Both forms are turned in to Joanne daily, giving her an easy way to compare both sales and inventory consumption.

The system is not foolproof, is subject to daily counting errors, and can be overcome by collusion among employees.  But for the most part, it works well and gives Joanne a routine tool to monitor beverage cart sales.  Systems don’t have to be complex or highly sophisticated; they just have to work.

Excerpted from Leadership on the Line:  A Guide for Front Line Supervisors, Business Owners and Emerging Leaders, Clarity Publications, 2006

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

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