There are a lot of ways to lose money as a bar or restaurant operator. One of the quickest roads to loss is through a tap or a bottle – every extra ounce of alcohol that’s poured by undertrained or over-generous staff is money out of your establishment’s profits. That’s where BevIntel comes in. A major feature on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue reality TV show, the liquor inventory control system is getting known –it’s also evolving to fit in with a wider variety of establishments, including major franchises and restaurant chains, and BevIntel CEO Dan Smith dropped by to fill us in on the details.
In order to understand how BevIntel’s systems can help you, first you have to understand how they work. It all starts with the company’s flagship service, now known as BevInco Prime, which involves sending a team of consultants out to get to work straight away, starting by scanning every bottle in your bar or restaurant and running each weight through the company’s proprietary software.
“Our software knows, for example, how much a bottle of Jack Daniels is supposed to weigh,” explains Smith.“So if 3/8 of that bottle is gone, our software knows exactly how much has been used. Our software then integrates into the POS system and tells the operator how much has been sold. So we know how much was used and how much was sold. Once we enter in all the invoices on how much was purchased, we can give the operator very specific liquor costs for week: how much alcohol was sold and how much is unaccounted for. Then we break that down into specific details out there, and come up with different thoughts, programs, and training that we can help them provide so that they can improve their liquor costs.”
BevInco’s sister product, IntelliTap, does practically the same thing but with beer. In addition, IntelliTap monitors keg lines for freshness, and consultations include training on how to pour the best pint possible. What both systems have in common is an emphasis on quality drinks and saving operators money by showing staff how to do things right. “Typically, we find thousands of dollars per operator that we’re able to help them recapture and put toward their bottom line,” notes Smith.
When Smith and his team acquired BevIntel earlier this year, as a complement to their similar IntelliTap program, the business had already seen more than twenty years of success built off the strength of its original Prime system. Recently, however, the company introduced new options: Choice and Select. Choice provides all the software, scales, and scanners for restaurants to collect their own data, plus the consultation and training that comes afterward, while Select simply provides the tools for you to do it all yourself. Smith explains that these options are gaining a lot more traction among large chains and franchises that want to keep their business to themselves.
“A lot of larger chain accounts really feel like their management should be responsible for doing the inventory and the accounting, and prefer to do it on their own and do reports their own way,” Smith elaborates.“BevIntel Select gives them the ability to have something specifically custom tailored to their business culture and for their labor management set-up. So we’re just making sure our product’s matching everybody’s needs out there.”
When describing BevIntel, it becomes obvious that Smith has a lot of enthusiasm for his brand. That’s probably because he’s not just CEO of the company – he’s also its number one fan. Smith’s background isn’t in software or auditing: it’s in restaurant operations. But from the first time he saw what BevIntel (called BevInco at the time) could do for the bar and restaurant industry could do, it was all over. The man was hooked and ready to spread the word.
“When I saw the technology and how the systems work, my initial thought was: ‘Wow, I wish I had seen this and known about this, because I would have used it immediately,’”says Smith. “Then, the more I learned about it, the more I thought there was a lot of opportunity to get this out.”
Smith’s excitement is infectious, and it’s likely that same excitement that won BevIntel its starring spot on Bar Rescue – as we learn, it wasn’t the show that contacted the brand but the other way around. “We heard that Bar Rescue was coming on, and we actually reached out to them and said: ‘would you have any interest in what we do with our product?’” says Smith. “We did a test in one of their locations, and when they saw what we could provide – the service that we could give to bar owners and how much we could help them capture losses – they fell in love with it.”
It’s also an enthusiasm that Smith hopes will spread as the company grows, which is happening through the optioning of franchise licenses. Franchisees that want to work in the foodservice industry, but not necessarily behind the bar or grill, can get training in BevIntel’s products and help businesses in their own city get their groove back. As Smith explains it, it’s all for a very good cause.
“I know it’s tight out there right now,” says Smith. “Taxes are up, utility charges are up, gas expenses are up which is impacting food costs and so forth. Operators are scratching and clawing to find every dollar they can to help their business survive, so I think BevIntel is a very timely tool. It’s a positive service that immediately helps the operator: it helps them save money, and it helps them serve better quality drinks and better quality beer.”