beverage production control
objectives of beverage production controlControl over beverage production is established to achieve two primary objectives:
1. To ensure that all drinks are prepared according to management’s specifications
2. To guard against excessive costs that can develop in the production process
Specifications for drink production must take into account both the tastes of expected customers and management’s desire to prepare drinks of appropriate quality and size. After all, customers who order drinks commonly have preconceived ideas of how the drinks will taste. A customer ordering a daiquiri, for example, may remember the enjoyable taste sensations provided in the past by the subtle blending of lime juice, sugar, and rum by skillful bartenders. A customer who is served a cocktail that does not meet expectations may be dissatisfied and complain or simply not return. Therefore, any establishment selling drinks to the public must recognize and accept certain standards of customer expectation and drink preparation and should establish procedures to ensure that these standards will be met.
Standards must be established for the quantities of ingredients used in drink preparation, as well as for the proportions of ingredients in a drink. In addition, drink sizes must be standardized.
Establishing Standards and Standard Procedures for Production
When standards are set for ingredients, proportions, and drink sizes, customers can have some reasonable assurance that a drink will meet expectations each time it is ordered. Once these standards have been established and procedures have been developed for training employees to follow them, they can be adhered to even in the face of a high rate of employee turnover.
By establishing and maintaining these standards, managers also establish a means for controlling costs. When drinks are prepared by formula and served in standard portion sizes, one portion of any drink prepared (a daiquiri, for example) should cost the same as every other portion of that same drink. In addition, because the
sales prices for drinks are fixed, the cost-to-sales ratio for one portion of any drink should be the same as the cost-to-sales ratio for every other portion of that drink. If this is true, the cost-to-sales ratio for the overall operation should be reasonably stable, provided that sales remain relatively constant.
Simply stated, once standards and standard procedures for beverage production have been established, it becomes possible to develop a standard cost percent for operation with which the actual cost percent can be compared.
Establishing Quantity Standards and Standard ProceduresThe quantities used by the bartender must be controlled. To do so, one must determine in advance the specific quantities to be used for the production
of drinks and then provide the bartender with a means of measuring those quantities.
Devices for Measuring Standard QuantitiesThere are four measuring devices commonly used by bartenders: shot glasses, jiggers, pourers, and automated dispensers.
The Shot Glass. In some establishments, bartenders are provided with small glasses, called shot glasses, that are used for measuring. There are two kinds of shot glasses: plain and lined.
A plain shot glass holds a predetermined quantity when filled to the rim. Plain shot glasses are available in a number of sizes, from fractions of an ounce to several ounces. In any given bar, all such glasses should be the same size. In many of the establishments that use shot glasses, bartenders are told to fill the shot glass and pour the exact measure into the drink. In others, bartenders are provided with shot glasses that hold slightly less than management is willing to give (3/4 ounce, for example, if 1 ounce is the standard measure). Bartenders are instructed to fill the shot glass, pour the three-quarters of an ounce into the drink, and then, in full view of the customer, pour an additional small amount directly from the
bottle into the glass. Some believe there is positive psychological impact to this practice: Customers think they are getting more than they are entitled to.
A lined shot glass is similar to a plain one, but a line is etched around the glass below and parallel to the rim. In some bars, the standard of fill is to the line, which is in full view of both the customer and the bartender. Some bars use shot glasses with deceptive lines, so that when the bartender fills to the line on the inside of the glass, it appears to the customer to go above the line on the
outside. This is an optical illusion, but it can give the customer a sense of getting something for nothing. Another variation on the lined-glass approach is to use glasses that hold the standard measure when filled to the rim, but have lines etched in the glass at some level below the rim. These are used for the same psychological reasons.
The Jigger. A jigger is a double-ended stainless steel measuring device, each end of which resembles a shot glass. The two measuring devices that make up the jigger are of different sizes—one may hold 1 ounce and the other 11/2 ounces. Many believe the jigger is necessary for the accurate measuring that ensures perfect cocktails.
It can be used for measuring straight shots as well, but is more useful for preparing cocktails that call for varying quantities of ingredients. For measuring the ingredients required for these complex drinks, shot glasses are inappropriate. Some cocktails call for such varied measures as 1 ounce of one ingredient and 11/2 ounces of a second. To measure exact quantities of each ingredient, it is necessary to use the jigger.
The Pourer. A pourer is a device, fitted on top of a bottle, that measures the quantity poured from the bottle, limiting that quantity to a predetermined amount. This is another way to control the quantity of liquor used in preparing drinks. A number of different types of pourers are available, but all operate on the principle of controlling the quantity poured each time a bottle is used. In an
establishment where 1 ounce is the standard measure, all bottles can be fitted with devices that dispense just 1 ounce. Each time the bartender tips the bottle to pour, exactly 1 ounce is dispensed. The psychological effect, if any, of these pouring devices is widely disputed. Some think that the customer is given the illusion of the bartender pouring freely; others argue that customers may feel a certain resentment toward an establishment that neither trusts the bartender nor permits an extra drop to be dispensed to a customer. Still others believe that pourers are useful at service bars, which customers never see, but should not be used at front bars, where customers watch bartenders mixing drinks.
The Automated Dispenser. Many companies have developed and successfully marketed various automated devices for dispensing predetermined measures of liquor. These range from comparatively simple systems for controlling only the pouring brands to
elaborate electronic control systems that not only control ounces but also mix drinks at the push of a button. These systems, costing many thousands of dollars, are usually linked to cash registers in such a way that each sale is recorded on a guest check as the drink is prepared. In addition, meters record the quantities used, and this makes accurate inventory control possible. Many believe that these
systems are best used in settings where bartenders have little or no direct supervision. Others think that such systems should be used in service bars but never at front bars, except in cases where repeat customers are rare, as in an airport bar.
Another means of measuring quantity is to allow bartenders to free pour. This is a method by which bartenders pour without using any device to measure quantity other than their own judgment or eyesight. In some cases, bartenders are taught to count silently to measure the duration of the act of pouring, which is clearly related
to the quantity dispensed. More often than not, however, managers are relying on the experienced bartender to use that experience to gauge the quantities poured. Free pouring is very common.
It is usually defended on the grounds that bartenders can prepare drinks at a faster rate by free pouring than they can with any of the measuring devices available.
In addition to controlling the quantity of liquor used in preparing each drink, it is desirable to control the overall size of the drinks. Standardizing the glassware used for service makes this comparatively simple. It is the manager’s responsibility to establish the standard portion size for each type of drink and to provide bartenders with appropriate glassware.
Establishing Quality Standards and Standard Procedures
Standard RecipesIt should be clear that to control costs, one must establish control over the ingredients that go into each drink, as well as over the proportions of the ingredients to one another. In other words, standard drink recipes must be established so that bar personnel will know the exact quantity of each ingredient to use in order to produce any given drink.
Generally speaking, bartenders prepare and serve two kinds of drinks that require liquor: straight shots with mixers, such as the gin and tonic, and mixed drinks or cocktails, many of which involve a number of ingredients that must be combined in a specific way for the drink to be right.
With mixed drinks and cocktails, establishing control over ingredients, proportions, and cost while providing drinks that are consistently the same is somewhat more complex. There are normally two or more recipes for making any given cocktail, and the resulting cocktails are often quite different from one another. For example, the two recipes that follow for a cocktail known as a Manhattan have been taken from two different drink mixing guides.
21/2 oz. blended rye whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
Dash of bitters
11/2 oz. blended rye whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
Dash of bitters
Although mixing the listed ingredients in the prescribed manner will produce a Manhattan cocktail in either case, there are substantial differences between two. In cocktail #1, the ratio of whiskey to vermouth is more than 3 to 1; in #2, it is 2 to 1. In addition, recipe #1 produces a drink that is 1 ounce larger than that produced by recipe #2. Finally, recipe #1 costs more to make because it contains 1 additional ounce of blended rye whiskey.
Most people are familiar with the martini, a cocktail made with gin and dry vermouth, stirred with ice, strained into a cocktail glass, and served garnished with an olive. For some, the best mixture for a 3-ounce martini is 2 ounces of gin to 1 ounce of vermouth;for others, it is 3 ounces of gin to one drop of vermouth. And there are an infinite number of variations. Because much of the success
of a bar depends on satisfying customer tastes, it is very difficult— many would say impossible—for a bar manager to establish an inflexible standard recipe for a martini. A single standard recipe may satisfy some customers, but displease others. Many bar managers think that bartenders must be permitted a certain amount of freedom to alter standard recipes to suit the tastes and requests of customers. Some believe that the standard recipe should be a kind of average of all the martinis mixed in a particular bar over a period of time.
With standards and standard procedures established in the form of standard recipes and standard portion sizes, it is possible to calculate the standard cost of any drink.
|standard recipe detail cost card|
Establishing Standard Portion Costs
Straight DrinksThe cost of straight drinks, served with or without mixers, can be determined by first dividing the standard portion size in ounces into the number of ounces in the bottle to find the number of standard drinks contained in each bottle. This number is then divided into the cost of the bottle to find the standard cost of the drink.
With the introduction of the metric system for beverage packaging, it has become necessary to convert the metric contents of bottles into their ounce equivalents. A conversion table is presented in Figure 15.4.
For example, the standard portion size for the pouring brand of scotch in the Broadway Bar is 1.5 ounces. The bar uses 750 ml bottles of scotch. Figure 15.4 indicates that a 750 ml bottle contains 25.4 ounces. Dividing the 1.5 ounce standard drink into the 25.4 ounces in the 750 ml bottle, one determines that each bottle contains 16.9 drinks, rounded to the nearest tenth.
________ =16.9 drinks
Because there is a small amount of spillage and evaporation in all bar operations, this can be safely adjusted to an average of 16.5 drinks per bottle. If the purchase price of the bottle is $13.85, then the standard cost of each of the 16.5 drinks it contains can be determined by dividing the bottle cost, $13.85, by the number of drinks it contains, 16.5.
________ =$.839, or $.84 rounded to the nearest cent
This bar would normally offer a number of call brands of scotch as well, and the same technique would be used to determine the standard cost of one standard drink of each call brand. For a premium scotch costing $18.15 per 750 ml. bottle, the standard cost of each drink is somewhat higher.
________ = $1.10
An alternative procedure for finding the standard cost per drink requires that one divide the cost of the bottle by the number of ounces it contains to find the cost per ounce and then multiply the ounce cost by the standard drink size. For example, if the pouring brand of gin costs $16.90 per liter, the equivalent of 33.8 ounces, each ounce would cost $.50.
________ = $.50
This ounce cost, multiplied by the standard 1.5 ounce drink size for gin in the Broadway Bar, yields a standard cost for the standard measure of $.75, as indicated in the following equation: 1.5 ounce standard size $.50 per ounce $.75 per drink Some who use this method prefer to subtract 1 ounce from the true number of ounces contained in a bottle to allow for evaporation and spillage. Using this approach, one would treat a 750 ml bottle as 24.4 ounces, and a 1 liter bottle as 32.8 ounces.
|standard cost for straight drinks|
Mixed Drinks and CocktailsIt is particularly important to determine the standard costs of cocktails and other mixed drinks. These drinks, typically prepared from standard recipes, normally have several ingredients and may require two or more alcoholic beverages. Consequently, mixed drinks are usually more expensive to make than straight drinks. Knowledge of the cost per drink is important for making intelligent pricing decisions.
To simplify the task of determining standard costs of cocktails and other mixed drinks and maintaining records of the calculations, many bar managers obtain supplies of recipe details and cost forms.
|standard recipe detail cost card|
Establishing Standard Sales PricesIt is absolutely essential in any bar operation that the sales price be standardized for each drink sold, for straight drinks as well as for cocktails and other mixed drinks. When sales prices are standardized, customers can be properly charged for the drinks they order and the prices will not vary from day to day. The possibilities for customer satisfaction are increased: The customer who has been charged $3.50 for a particular drink on Tuesday has reasonable assurance that an identical charge will be made for the same drink on Wednesday. In some places, a list of standardized drink prices can be found posted on a sign over the bar. In others, they may be printed in the menu. These signs and menus eliminate many possible arguments over drink prices.
Perhaps the most important purpose behind the standardization of sales prices is to maintain a planned cost-to-sales ratio for each drink. The drink costing $.90 when prepared from a standard recipe and selling for $4.50 has a cost-to-sales ratio of $.90 to $4.50—20 percent. The sale of one of these drinks results in the addition of $4.50 to daily sales and $.90 to daily cost, the net effect being a gross profit on the sale of $3.60. For the drink in question, this is the desired, preplanned effect of each sale. It is not a matter of chance or a bartender’s whim; it has been planned by the manager. Ingredients (and, consequently, costs) are planned. With costs established, sales prices are set that yield acceptable cost-tosales
ratios. Product cost has a known relationship to product sales price. In addition, each sale has a known impact on gross profit. In effect, the increase in gross profit attributable to each sale is planned when management establishes the cost and sales price of a drink. Thus, it becomes possible to plan for and maintain acceptable levels of profit.
|list of standard cost and sales prices for straight drinks|
|relationship of approved metric sizes|