February 11, 2020

Bar tools are a grudge purchase: Does it make any sense?

Bartender using a long tweezer to garnish a cocktail with an edible flower

For some bar and pub operators, spending (investing) money on quality bar tools is a painpoint. Like replacing car tires, there's a reluctance to spend even when needed. Sometimes this is called a “Grudge Purchase".

Funnily enough, there's a similarity between replacing car tires and bar tools.
Both tend to involve gritting one’s teeth.

According to international inventory mavens Sculpture Hospitality and Barmetrix, most operators lose upwards of 20% of every shot of alcohol poured.

Recently, we provided Australian and New Zealander hospitality suppliers with a Pour and Measure Whitepaper. The Whitepaper helped de-mystify the direct costs to a venue's profitability by not investing in bespoke Pouring and Measuring tools.

Printed cover and a page of a Pour and Measure whitepaper

Customer feedback fell into two categories:

  1. Hands-on operators seeing wasted liquor pooled on bar counter tops, for example or more discretely in monthly inventory discrepancies (variance between POS depletion and physical inventory on hand), seemed to act pretty quick to stop their losses.
  2. Larger multi-venue operators framed the situation more as a grudge purchase, not seeing a need to invest, despite the huge costs associated with doing nothing.

Maybe it's high time to reconsider grudge purchases as operational investments that have upfront costs yet short term ROI.