Five Tips for Breweries to Move Away from Spreadsheets

October 7th, 2019 • by Seth Steinman
Seth Steinman

Seth Steinman

    Upserve provides a restaurant management platform which allows independent full-service restaurants to run and manage their entire business. Seth Steinman savors summer sours while sunning by the salty sea. When he's not writing an alliteration, you can find him practicing meditation or sipping his favorite libation.

    People want to open a brewery to serve up tasty craft beers, be their own boss, and build a team of top servers and bartenders. Reasons that never makes the list? The desire to spend hours doing payroll and bookkeeping, or calculating inventory by hand.

    Automatization has helped manual processes go digital, meaning brewery owners and managers can get back to supporting staff and providing stellar customer service. In fact, breweries who embrace inventory software can save 30 to 50 hours a month by ditching the pen, paper, and spreadsheet-based methods. That equates to gifting managers an entire day back in their schedules to take care of the tasks that pile up when they’re bogged down by reporting.

    Restaurant management software helps making that switch to automation more seamless than scary. Kyle Kensrue is the Director of Operations at Randolph Beer, a multi-location brewpub with three locations throughout Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Kyle has been been using Upserve’s tools since the beginning, analyzing his staff’s performance and implementing new strategies to train his team. He has managed to increase sales at Randolph Beer 10 percent while increasing labor costs just 6.8 percent, saving over 3 percent in labor year-over-year. “We use Upserve to look at the numbers for what’s selling and what’s not,” he says. Below are five tips to get you started on automating your business organization tasks.

    Invest in Smart Inventory Management

    Simply choosing to invest in a smart, cutting-edge point-of-sale system that includes automatic inventory management can save time while boosting margins. Customers using automated inventory report 5 to 8 percent improvement in their margins by tracking food waste, avoiding excessive ordering, and maintaining appropriate inventory levels for every day and occasion, across one restaurant or multiple locations.

    Holidays and special events make inventory management more important than ever. Anyone who’s experienced the pain of 86ing a critical dish or drink because of an inventory-related oversight can appreciate the peace of mind that comes with digital inventory counts, updated automatically with each shipment and order placed. Rather than poring over spreadsheets and crossing your fingers that human error stays at bay, the system tracks everything on its own while you’re on the floor touching tables & making connections.

    Enhance Server Performance

    A counterpoint to the argument that advanced technology will replace human employees, a smart restaurant POS system can actually enhance server & bartender performance, bringing in more money for them and the business. Think of all the hours you’ve spent combing through stats and sales reports to identify which bartenders are excelling, and which ones need improvement—not to mention having to keep an eye on their customer service skills in real time, to boot.

    With some software systems, you can generate a personalized report card for each of your servers in the palm of your hand. Not only does this help you realize which servers need to improve, but it can show you exactly where they’re faltering so that you can help them in the best way. For example, if one server always upsells a second craft beer, but fails to move desserts, consider having him shadow a server who knows how to tap into a guest’s sweet tooth. These types of insights not only increase check sizes (read: tips for servers), but they’ll increase a brewery’s revenue exponentially over time.

    Focus on Sales Analytics

    Understanding sales analytics is key to running a successful business. But even more than the time spent to record the data by hand, the manual analysis can tie managers and owners up for significant chunks of each day. Meanwhile, a smart POS system, with an integrated loyalty program lives up to its name by generating a sales report each day that’s simple and to-the-point, making it an easily digestible look into the health of the business that saves time and money. 

    Keep a Logbook

    A logbook can have a meaningful impact on a brewery’s success: “They’re a useful tool to improve communication in your restaurant and better hold your management team accountable.”

    Think about how much time your management team spends debriefing on the day’s or shift’s events. How often have you had to take a late-night call because the manager on shift was missing crucial information for closing out? A digital cloud-based logbook contains all essential information, and can be communicated to each member of the staff throughout the day, or accessed remotely, so everyone stays on the same page.

    Design Your Menu the Right Way

    How many times have you tinkered with your drink menu hoping to figure out what is and isn’t selling? Ditch the guesswork and opt for information instead by operating your brewery through a POS system that automatically charts top performers and dishes to ditch. Rather than laboring to figure it out on your own, you can make informed, data-driven decisions that lead to results. Keep seasonal drinks and restaurant trends in mind as you replace low performers: ”The ideal menu offers a balance of unique dishes and old favorites,” the Balance explains. Consider this your recipe for success.