Your best bartender has crafted a drink special you’re sure will bring thirsty customers flocking in for happy hour and after-dinner cocktails. You order plenty of liquor to keep everyone’s glass full.

Unfortunately, the special turns out to be a flop. Your customers are following new trends and ordering more mocktails, leaving you with a surplus of expensive spirits.

After catching up on new drink fads, you find that negroni cocktails are also in high demand. You decide to run a negroni special, but trying to learn from past failures, you’re sure not to overbuy the gin and other ingredients needed to mix the drink.

This time, your bar finds itself backed up with orders for the cocktail. Before you know it, your gin supply runs dry and you have to tell customers the special is no longer available. Not only are customers leaving unhappy, but you’ve lost valuable sales.

Managing and ordering inventory for bars and restaurants can be a double-edged sword. Order too much, and you risk wasting money on ingredients that will never be used and could go bad, eating into your profits. Order too little, and you could run out of ingredients and have to 86 a drink or dish, leading to lost sales.

Stock and serve up success

To better manage your inventory, Rewards Network recommends determining a par for your stock, both at the bar and in the kitchen. The par should be based on customer demand for dishes and drinks that use particular ingredients. When your stock of ingredients runs below par, it should signal you to order more.

Portion control can also help you keep stock steady. At bars, mixing up the right profit margin requires using the correct amount of each ingredient in a cocktail. Bartenders must also be careful to serve the right amount of wine or beer so the business doesn’t lose out on profits due to overpours.

Restaurants owners rank high operating and food costs as their No. 1 obstacle to profitability, according to Toast. To reduce costs, many are offering reduced portion sizes. Smaller dishes not only control food costs, they also help operators keep tabs on inventory and reduce the need to order more ingredients.

Even with these steps, it’s easy for alcohol and other high-end ingredients to disappear off your shelves due to theft, Rewards Network writes. Bartenders might pour a little extra for a friend, or wait staff might bring out an extra dessert “on the house.”

Since many businesses take inventory once a month, it can be hard to track when an item went missing. To prevent your stock from taking a trimming, Rewards Network recommends keeping a separate trash area for empty containers. The containers can be compared to the previous day’s inventory and receipts to make sure nothing is missing.

Employees should also have a designated space at the back of the house to keep bags and extra clothing. Not only does the precaution keep your kitchen and bar from becoming cluttered, it also prevents stock from being slipped into a backpack or jacket.

Utilize tech for real-time management

Hospitality management software Craftable is an easy, mobile way for bars and restaurant owners to manage their inventory. The tool offers real-time reports of inventory levels and allows users to order stock in less than 15 minutes.

As a result, inventory time is cut down by 50%.

Craftable also shows the true cost of goods by calculating how much inventory has been ordered versus how much has actually been used. The software can keep track of overpours, theft and waste with variance reports. It can also generate reports on popular drinks and dishes so you can focus your inventory more on what customers want, rather than on menu items with less demand.

Utilizing Craftable can help boost sales and profits, all while taking the stress out of stocking your bar, kitchen and walk-ins.

No matter what type of hospitality business you own, Craftable’s tools can help you better manage your inventory. Sign up for a free trial and stock up for success.