Here’s To Making Bars Profitable

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - August 05, 2009
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Andrew Crawford: Reward the customer

Operating at a 20-percent loss has become second nature to bars in the restaurant industry, says Andrew Crawford, owner of the local franchise of Bevinco, a profit management and alcohol inventory control company. To combat that problem, he helps reduce the loss by providing concrete information to the business owner.

“Every week, we count and weigh what’s at the bar,” Crawford says, noting that a hand-held scanner also is used. “We provide a report of how the bar did each week. We try to keep it as paperless as possible. The e-mail written report has spreadsheet reports they can analyze.”

The process of weighing the inventory can take anywhere from one to four hours, with the average audit taking two hours.

Customers range from small bars to national franchises. Oahu clients include Chili’s, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Crawford says the software, bar-code scanner, digital scale and laptop streamline the process to five times faster than manual data entry.

“We like to encourage the bar owners to give their bartenders the ability to sell the product and promote the product, and to reward good customers,” says Crawford. “We use what we call a comp tab to acknowledge good business practices. The owner is basically giving an allowance to bartenders so they can give a drink to customers as a thank you. This way they can tangibly evaluate how much they are giving away.”

Crawford was in the hospitality business in Canada with a 16-suite boutique hotel before he moved to Hawaii with his family. He opened Bevinco in 2006 and started serving the island of Maui, and this year expanded to Oahu. Crawford acknowledges his three employees, as well as the support of his wife, Tarra. They have two children: Kirra, 6, and Beckett, 11 months old.

One of the challenges Crawford has is to convince business owners to give him a chance. “It’s a hard to comprehend that there may be a loss,” he explains. “It’s a trust thing, too.”

He says fixing the bar takes it to a new level, and owners make more money.

“If you want to make more money, you can keep our services,” explains Crawford.

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