Stocktaking may not be a subject to get your spine tingling with excitement but, for the independent licensee, it is one of the things that means the difference between success and failure. It isn’t just a matter of counting up what you’ve got left so you can order some more. In a cash business, like a pub, a stocktake tells you whether your staff are on the fiddle – or maybe whether you’ve been dipping into the stocks a little too much yourself.
On the positive side, it can also help you to build a business; giving you information about profit margins and ideas about how lines are selling, so you can tailor what you offer more efficiently.
1 - Why is stocktaking important?
You have to see stock as a form of cash that is tied up in the business. The success of the business depends on how effectively the stock is turned into cash in the bank. Your stock is vulnerable, as it is not locked in the safe or in the bank. Stocktaking can help maximise the return on your investment and help minimise the risk of loss.
2 - How often should I have a Stocktake done?
Usually monthly. Any longer and a problem could go undiscovered. It also helps in the production of more accurate profit and loss statements.
3 - What should I look for on my stock report?
Lots of things. Gross profit percentage, surplus and deficit figures, slow-moving stock lines, the number of days stockholding and the value of the stock held (overstocking is an expensive practice), comparison of sales against last period or the same period last year, sales mix, pricing opportunities, variances between till sales and actual sales. The report can also be used to gauge how profitable the business is compared to the estimates in your business plan.
4 - Getting organised for a stocktake is such a hassle. Any tips to make it easier?
Generally, be organised and keep your invoices/delivery notes together and takings records neatly filed with records of any allowances. If you keep a tidy cellar and keep shelves and fridges well stocked it won’t take long to count. Make sure all empties are in the cellar and are kept separate from saleable stock with full cases below part cases. Be on hand yourself or have a key member of staff available to answer any questions the stocktaker may have and to accompany them on the stocktake.
5 - I do a lot of cocktails and other mixed drinks. Does that make it difficult to calculate a true result?
Yes, unless the tills are programmed correctly or accurate records are kept of what makes up the cocktails. The stocktaker can then make an adjustment.
6 - Does it make any difference if I freepour spirits?
The result will reflect how accurately you or your staff pour the spirits and show up over-pouring and under-pouring, both of which are illegal.
7 - I don’t do a lot of food in my pub. Is it worth having food stocktakes done?
Generally yes, as food is not as easy to control as liquor – particularly wastage – and it is important to achieve a healthy GP on food.