Establishing a Bartender Over-Pour Policy

After you’ve deployed TavernTrak at your bar, it will quickly become evident which of your Bartenders are conscientious professionals, willing to self-police and moderate any over-pouring that they may be engaging in.

Prior to TavernTrak’s deployment, it’s quite possible that your Bartenders never knew that they were over-pouring the drinks that they were serving to your customers. Armed with the knowledge that TavernTrak’s “Usage vs. Sales” report gives them, they’re able to tweak their pour count and fine-tune their technique.

On the other hand, it will also become readily apparent which of your Bartenders aren’t concerned about your bar’s profitability or the manner in which they perform their job. For these employees, the level of over-pouring that TavernTrak detects and reports will not trend downwards. Rather, these Bartender’s over-pouring percentage will remain consistently at unacceptably high levels (and wait until you hear the excuses!). Dealing with these (hopefully rare) employees can be a challenge — but will be made infinitely easier if a policy containing a well-defined set of consequences is instituted and communicated to your Bartenders. The policy must first clearly define what triggers the consequences.

Here’s one example of a trigger-based over-pouring policy:

  • Pick out several Products to be used as your “benchmark” Products.
  • It’s best if these Products change on a day-by-day basis.
  • It’s also best if the Products being picked out are selected and communicated after the shift has ended but before the Service Pools are inventoried — to eliminate the appearance to Bartenders that they are being specifically targeted.
  • The policy would spell out that for the given set of Products selected, any employee where over-pour of more than some percentage (15% for example) is detected is automatically a member of a “high risk” group of Bartenders.
  • From this “high risk” group of Bartenders, the Bartender with the highest percentage of over-pour would automatically “trigger” the consequences.

Consequences for over-pouring can take multiple forms — but must also be clearly defined in your bar’s Over-Pour Policy.   Some examples:

  • Loss of a shift (high-dollar shifts would probably draw the most attention)
  • Compensation from the Bartender for the cost of the over-poured Product
  • Compensation from the Bartender for the revenue lost by their over-pouring

In short (and as any dog will advise you) baring your teeth and growling is only effective if your staff knows that if necessary, you’ll bite (that is, that over-pouring will have consequences). And it’s safe to assume that word of a Bartender having some high-dollar shifts being taken away from them due to over-pouring will spread like wildfire among your Bartender staff and pouring accuracy and serving policy compliance will quickly improve.

To find out more about how TavernTrak can help your bar control costs, increase revenue and prevent your liquor, beer and wine inventory from walking out the door unpaid for, visit our website at or contact us directly.

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