SOWO... SPILLS, OVER-POURING, WASTAGE, OUCH! August 04 2015
We all know how hard bar-tending can be - even simple mixed drinks are far from child’s play when a night is busy and nerves are high. The jigger jitters are real, and as all of us can attest, just pouring alcohol from a bottle into its final serving place can be fraught with shakes, quakes and trouble.
A slip of the hand, bump of the bottle, every innocent mishap creates potential SOWO for your venue’s bottom line. That’s Spills, Over-pouring, Wastage, Ouch – and this is an acronym none of us have time for.
In an average bar SOWO accounts for a 3-5 mL (1/10-1/6Oz) loss on every 30 mL (1Oz) shot of alcohol served, multiply this by how many serves are poured daily and you’re looking at a massive volume of liquor forfeited yearly.
Mistakes happen at all levels, but pinpointing the difference between an occasional misstep and a pattern of poor performance can save a significant amount of your stock and sanity.
Recognizing bar-tending bad habits is the first step to stopping SOWO, here’s some of the potential warning signs:
Holding a bottle in an awkward or unusual manner making it difficult to stop or better control a pouring process potentially results in over-pouring alcohol. This problem is usually easy to fix with proper training, however if the behaviour is a result of general carelessness or laziness this may be a sign of other risk factors.
Flash Over Function
Unusual bottle cuts and martial moves based on show rather than care can increase the frequency of mistakes and disrupt the work flow of a bar with collisions, distractions, spilt drinks the result.
Nothing is a bigger risk factor than good old-fashioned sloppiness. A need to slow down is often difficult to distinguish from a lack of care, and a staff member with little to no pride in their work is challenging to correct.
A safe pouring process requires the filling of a jigger to capacity, stopping the liquid flow from a bottle, and then emptying the jigger into a glass or shaker. Watch closely for a bartender who cuts corners and dumps the jigger just before it’s full, yet continues to free pour more alcohol into a receiving vessel. This really bad habit is possibly the most costly, as every ½ second of pouring time equates to 5 mL (1/6 Oz) of extra alcohol being poured away FREE!
The best way to stop SOWO is to invest in bar training programs that continuously re-enforce HOW and WHY you want bar practice to be done. Reward good practice, re-inforce bad practice with consequences!