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How to Manage Bar Inventory & Control Theft

Controlling inventory and theft in a bar can seem daunting, but it is manageable with the right tools and information. In this article, we will discuss how to control bar inventory and what systems are used to prevent theft in bars. We will also provide entrepreneurs tips on managing their bar’s inventory effectively.


What is Bar Considered Inventory?

A bar’s inventory includes all the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, glassware, mixers, and other supplies used to make drinks. It also includes any food that is served at the bar. Managing inventory effectively is vital because it helps keep costs down and prevents theft.


Methods in Which Bar Employees May Steal Inventory

There are a few ways that bar employees can steal inventory. The most common way is by “short-pouring” drinks. This means that the bartender does not pour the full amount of liquor into the glass, but instead, pours less so that they can keep the extra for themselves or sell it to customers later. 

Another way that bartenders can steal is by giving free drinks to friends or charging customers for premium liquor when pouring a lower-quality drink.


How to Prevent Theft in Bars

The best way to prevent theft in bars is to have a solid inventory management system in place. This system should include regular inventories, tracking of sales, and checks on the accuracy of bartenders’ pour counts. Another way to prevent theft is to use pour spouts or liquor control systems that measure how much liquor is being poured. These systems can help catch bartenders who are short-pouring drinks.


Tips for Entrepreneurs on How to Manage Their Bar’s Inventory

Entrepreneurs can use a few tips to manage their bar’s inventory effectively.

Tip #1 – Make sure to do regular inventory checks. This will help you catch any discrepancies and prevent theft.

Tip #2 – Track your sales. This will help you see what items are being sold the most and need to be restocked more often.

Tip #3 – Use pour spouts or liquor control systems. This will help prevent bartenders from short-pouring drinks.

Tip #4 – Train your bartenders on proper pour counts. This will help them be more accurate when making drinks and prevent over pouring.

Tip #5 – Have a policy in place for free drinks. This will help prevent bartenders from giving away free drinks to friends or family.

Tip #6 – Be aware of your bar’s pricing. This will help you prevent bartenders from upselling customers on premium liquor when they are pouring a lower-quality drink.



It is essential to manage inventory effectively to prevent theft and keep costs down. There are a few ways bar employees can steal inventory, but the most common is by short-pouring drinks. To prevent theft, having a sound inventory management system and using pour spouts or liquor control systems is vital. 

Entrepreneurs should also train their bartenders on proper pour counts and have a policy for free drinks. Following these tips can effectively manage your bar’s inventory and control theft.