There’s Money in those Bottles: Drive Restaurant Profits with a Profitable Bar

Aug 17, 2014
Wall of tequila at Que Pasa Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar
Wall of tequila at Que Pasa Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar

By Jeffrey Manno

It seems like every week presents another obstacle for restaurateurs in order to make a profit. This year alone, the industry has been confronted with a rising minimum wage, increasing costs of food, and a rapid climb in rent prices, all of which cut deeply into an already slim profit margin. Despite all of these challenges, smart operators continue to not only profit, but to grow. One key way of achieving such success is by developing a highly appealing, profitable beverage program that doesn’t just compliment the food, but creates a destination.


So how can we create such a highly valuable beverage program? Beverage expert, David Flaherty, points out Five Elements to a Profitable Beverage Program:


1. Great Team:

Your team must have keen abilities, a thorough education, and an abundance of passion. Not only does your staff need to make the drinks, but they must share a passion for it to intelligently sell the drinks and enhance the guest experience.

2. Balance:

With the increasing challenge to maintain and grow the bottom line, the last thing a restaurateur wants to do is tie up loads of cash in an extensive beverage selection that won’t sell. Instead, one should strive to create an enticing array of beverage offerings that not only create appeal, but also fly off the shelves and drive profits. To avoid costly mistakes and achieve this unique balance, consult a skilled beverage professional.

3. Moving Target:

In the highly competitive world of restaurants, the old adage is true, “if you are not moving forward, you are falling behind.” Keep your beverage program exciting, fresh and always appealing to guests and employees alike. Regularly tweak your menu with seasonal offerings, beverage pairing dinners, and a rotating selection of favorites.

4. Systems:

Let’s do some simple math. If your team over pours Beverage Y 30 times/day at an over-pour cost of $0.50/pour, how much are you losing annually if you are open every day? That’s right, approximately $5475 per year! Assuming the pattern holds true for all of your beverages, the amount of lost profit can be staggering to an operator. As Flaherty points out, implementing some rather simple, yet attentive systems of inventory control and operations management can result in substantial improvements to your bottom line.

5. Competition:

As former fashion mogul Gianni Versace once said, “It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.” However don’t just watch and study your competition like it’s your enemy, but rather befriend your competition and learn from each other. You may even collaborate together to create the next great trend.


It is not easy to make a profit in the restaurant industry, and it is not getting any easier. However, through intelligent planning, a passionate team and effective operations, a restaurateur can develop a beverage program that drives profits and increases appeal of the venue.


If you are looking for ways to increase your restaurant profits and enhance your beverage experience, give Synergy a call. We are always here to help you and your team to learn and grow your bar, your business and your profits.