Tips for Taking Restaurant Special Events Inventory

Tips for Taking Restaurant Event Inventory | Backbar
// By Malika Wichner // , Aug 15, 2023

Topics: Bar Inventory

If your restaurant offers space for larger groups, special events, or even full building rentals then you might have struggled to successfully track the goods being sold to these larger crowds or within group packages. Even if the event is an “open bar” you still need to keep track of everything being served for your inventory. 


Looking for event inventory software? Backbar has the specs you're looking for!


Why You Should Always Be Tracking What You Serve 

Managers and the staff attending to the event guests tend to feel more relaxed in terms of keeping track of what they're giving out to customers during events, especially if the event has a food or drink package that allows them to have whatever they want. The problem is at the end of the day all that still affects your inventory and therefore needs to be accurately tracked. Here are some reasons why:


Great way to audit your package prices:

Every price on your menu should be educated to maximize your profits and also give customers a fair price point. Keeping an eye on the average cost of the goods going out during events is a great gauge. For example, if your package accounts for every guest having one cocktail but after checking the goods being served it turns out that on average guests have two or three then you're most likely losing out on a large amount of profit and need to adjust the price to fit the sales. 


How to audit your package prices

Similar to reevaluating your menu prices to maintain competitive and fair pricing for your customers without losing out on profit potential, the same can be said about any event packages and pricing. Here are a few ideas to consider when calculating prices:

Ideal Food Cost Percentage Menu Pricing

Start by determining your cost percentage. This means calculating how much your business is spending on the package. This includes food costs, liquor costs, AND labor costs. You want to keep this within a reasonable margin, about 35-40% overall. 

You'll want to consider the raw goods cost as well. This means if one of the menu items is your house salad, how much are you spending on each individual ingredient needed to make this a given item? Same with signature cocktails. Also, if you're offering anything "complementary," like free champagne or appetizer, this should still be considered with pricing. 

Use equation: Raw Food Cost of Item / Ideal Food Cost Percentage to determine pricing. 

Ideal Gross Profit Margin
Start by choosing your ideal gross profit margin. Your gross profit margin is the percentage you make in profit from the sale. For example, a 30% gross profit margin means you're earning 30 cents to the dollar on the sale. The remaining is going towards the cost of ingredients and other expenses.

Using the equation: (Menu Price – Raw Food Cost) / Menu Price you can find your ideal gross profits margin. 


Need to know for your ordering process:

Depleted inventory has to be ordered. Over or under-ordering will affect your monthly costs and your customer care. If a party uses 3 cases of wine but your staff only tracked 2 then your inventory won't match out. This will either cause you to order incorrectly or will make the staff member doing the physical inventory waste time trying to figure out where the missing case could've gone.


Download the Bar Inventory Spreadsheet


Tips For Tracking Event Inventory 

Now that you see the importance of taking a look at how you're handling large group inventory, let's discuss a few easy ways to make your process better for your business. 

  • Train Your Staff: Making sure the team members who are giving out the products understand the importance of following your chosen tracking method is the most important factor. They are the frontline to seeing what's going out and therefore it's part of their job to track it. 
  • Ring Items In: If there is a POS system in the room then it should be used. Open a table for the event and have the staff ring EVERYTHING in and then close it to the event at the end. Print the receipt and attach it to the event's paperwork to revisit later or to give to your restaurant accountant later. 


Backbar currently integrates with certain POS systems making tracking inventory, sales, and other key factors easier than ever. 

  • Go Back to The Basics: If there is no POS system available then this is a good chance to go back to the basics-pen and paper. The staff should tally every beer, glass of wine, and cocktail they serve. This process obviously leaves room for some human error but something is better than nothing. Having a sheet already ready with the different beers, wines, and cocktails available to the group before the event starts is key as well to take some stress off your service staff. 



Easy Inventory With BackbarSales Integration and Inventory smaller image-1

With Backbar you're able to easily and efficiently track your inventory and ordering needs in one user-friendly program. Use the Backbar app on any device or on your desktop to manage key operations. 


Backbar allows multiple team members to update counts with their own color-coded labels so upper management can look at who took inventory when and where inside your business for locations with multiple bars or storages. This allows your special events manager to update inventory themselves without pulling another front-of-house into the process. 


Every aspect of Backbar's operating system has been designed with the unique bar and restaurant industry needs in mind. 


Malika Wichner

About the author, Malika Wichner

Malika is the Marketing Content Manager for Backbar. Prior to creating content to link industry professionals to Backbar she worked as a bartender and server in Chicago. She enjoys red wine or an IPA with a good book in her free time.

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