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Guest Blog: It's Time to Bring Your Alcohol Management into the 21st Century

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It’s 2020, and your teams are already using technology that improves efficiency and controls business costs. From cloud-based POS systems to mobile apps designed to improve employee satisfaction and streamline scheduling, technology is bettering business and changing the landscape of restaurant management. So why is it that alcohol management is lagging?

The problem with outdated alcohol management

It’s easy for restaurant accounting teams to get lost in the weeds due to the complexity surrounding alcohol purchasing, payment, inventory and reconciliation. Alcohol is a core revenue driver for any restaurant, earning around 20-25 percent of total sales across the country. But the labor costs associated with effective management can skew the actual bottom line. Without using technology that automates the essential functions of alcohol management, teams are left to handle alcohol payments and reconciliation manually – a practice that isn’t just inefficient; it’s inaccurate.Whether you’re given terms or paying cash-on-delivery, paying by cash, check or money order for alcohol deliveries increases your risk of issues with regulatory compliance, location security, and invoice retention. Location-level management juggles several daily responsibilities, the first of which should be providing an outstanding guest experience. Unfortunately, with outdated alcohol management methods, they’re often tied to a desk digging through paper invoices and manually entering invoice details into your restaurant management software. But can you be sure the information they enter is free from error or entered in a timely manner?

How technology helps your alcohol category

When your teams utilize sophisticated and smart restaurant management software, you bring all your business costs under one microscope, allowing you to make decisions that support profitability and growth. Using technology to import your alcohol data into your back-office system should be a no brainer! By integrating your alcohol data, you gain valuable insight into your alcohol program across all locations and improve the accuracy of the data used for decision making.

It’s the 21st Century. More than 80% of consumers pay bills electronically, and more and more restaurants are moving to a cashless environment. Why should your alcohol payments be any less digital? Paying your alcohol invoices electronically frees your teams from the burden of manual invoice payments and automatically routes important details into your system quickly and free from errors. Through electronic alcohol management platforms, the invoice goes directly from thedistributor’s route-accounting system into your restaurant management software. No time-consuming manual entry, no delay in information. Just real product data at your fingertips.

Just as you do with labor or food costs, you can use your alcohol invoice details to make decisions regarding recipes or menu costs that maximize profits. Because the information is imported automatically, you know, without a doubt, the product information, SKUs, invoice totals, purchase price, and payment frequency are entirely accurate. Rely on this information to confidently set profitable menu prices or manage your inventory; all to help you build out business plans that keep your costs aligned with target margins. Additionally, you’ll be able to quickly and easily compare purchases made across your entire company and ensure that one location isn’t overpaying for any one product. Standardizing alcohol costs is key to ensuring that the experience your guests receive at one location is consistent with the rest.Using technology to automate your alcohol management process magnifies the benefits you’re already receiving through your restaurant management software. But it does more than just that. There are several additional benefits of using this technology that can trickle down to improve operations across your entire company:

  • Increased location-level security: Automated payments decrease the number of times your safe is opened every day and reduces the risks associated with cash-on-hand.
  • Automated regulatory compliance: Because invoices are paid automatically on their due date, your locations will never risk ending up on the no-sale list.
  • Improved visibility: Not only can you see accurate invoice data through your restaurant management system, but many technology solutions provide an online portal where you can view pending invoices, price discrepancies, top products, and more.
  • Enhanced efficiency: When your teams no longer need to enter every individual invoice manually, they’re freed up to focus on other profit-building aspects of your business, like implementing promotions, assisting employees, and creating an engaging guest experience.

Key Takeaway

Obviously, in today’s industry, the benefits of implementing technology for alcohol management are endless. In the last year, Fintech has automatically imported 2,775,665 individual line-items into Restaurant365 for our alcohol retailers. If each line-item equates to even 30 seconds of behind-the-scenes activity, whether that be payment, reconciliation, or analysis, this means that the technology provided through Fintech’s smart platform saved 2.6 years’ worth of work! Imagine what your teams could do with that kind of time.

Are you interested in learning more about Fintech’s beverage alcohol management platform? Visit us at www.fintech.com.