How To Control Costs In Your Beverage Program Part 1: The Challenge

BY InVine Social

No matter what the size of your restaurant is, properly executing a beverage cost strategy is essential for the success of your business. Every dollar counts!

Creating  a dynamic beverage program that helps your bottom line AND helps you stand out as a restaurant is no small feat. Sommeliers and beverage directors know it’s actually an art. Especially in a crowded market. We all know there is no shortage of restaurants.

Every single drink served in any particular shift goes back to your bottom line. That’s a huge sales potential to capitalize on and also a huge potential to drain profits.

If you’ve taken a close look at wasted beer and wine in a week, you’ll quickly see those numbers add up. It can be terrifying.

Finding the right amount to charge for any given glass of wine or draft beer is a balancing act between what your customers are willing to pay, what will make you stand out as a restaurant and what will make you money.

Finally, return customers are key to this process too. You want to keep those customers coming back, happy, (and drinking!) while still making a profit.


Whoever is in charge of the beverage program has to take into consideration several different factors for EVERY single wine, beer and liquor purchase. These are the 3 key areas that the person responsible for your beverage program should be looking at:


What/When/How much to buy

You have to know what customers like, what pairs well with the food that’s currently on the menu, if there is an event that is going to push sales, what’s going to make a little extra profit, etc.


How to price items

After you have decided WHAT to put on the menu, you have to decide how to price it. Will you have happy hour specials? Will you do half bottle discounts Wednesday nights? What’s going to keep customers coming back but also continue to make the business a profit?


Measure Success

This might be the hardest step in this process. What’s selling and at what rate? What isn’t selling? Is it the price point or the brand? Have you done AB testing to find out?

With all of these considerations at hand, how do you manage it all?


Hint: we’ll be posting the solution here pretty soon!


Update: Read Part 2,  The Solution