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PLBTA Tip: The Cost of Overpouring

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PLBTA Tip: The Cost of Overpouring

Inevitably, it happens. A bartender makes a drink a little stronger than it should be. Maybe it’s an accident. Maybe it’s intentional. Regardless, it should be avoided.

Overpouring can cause more than one problem, and, in general, you can lump overpouring issues into one of three areas.

  1. Back-end Business Math
  2. Loss Sales Opportunities
  3. Marketing Death Ray


Cost to business

High on the list to anyone operating a bar is the impact of overpouring on the business. A lack of portion control can squeeze profits tighter.

Possibly you have a bartender looking for bigger tips through stronger drinks. Or maybe they’re playing up a friend or favorite customer. Possibly, they don’t have the right tools to properly pour the correct amount.

Whatever the reason, tavern owners should demand the perfect pour from their bartenders. Consider the following:

Let’s pretend a bottle of liquor costs your business $27 to purchase, or 80 cents per ounce. Now, let’s pretend that you sell a mixed drink for $10 and there is a one-ounce overpour of liquor when making that drink. If that happens every time, you’ll have a revenue loss of 48 percent on that bottle.

Using this example, you should be able to make 33 mixed drinks from that liquor bottle. Overpouring just one ounce per drink brings that figure down to 16. In this case, overpouring decreases a potential $330 to just $160 before you pull out the next bottle to use.


Loss Sales Opportunities

Not only will you make less per bottle as a result of overpours, but it’s well known that stronger drinks decrease the number of drinks a patron orders. This is essentially a double-whammy! The tavern loses the opportunity to make an extra sale because the responsible drinker is worried about the amount of alcohol in a drink, and how it may impact them when they leave the bar.


Marketing Death Ray

Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most important marketing tools you have. Nothing will hurt you more than if a customer tells his friends that your drinks are too strong to enjoy. Similarly, underpouring can also be a marketing death ray.


What should a tavern owner do?

Responsible tavern owners want to provide the best environment for their patrons. That includes pouring the perfect drink that tastes just right. Consider the following to avoid overpours:

  • Have the right tools – jiggers, measured pouring spouts, and other precision tools are worth the money
  • Technology – automated systems may cost money, but can make you money too
  • Training – bartenders need skills. Help them with their skills.
  • Business math – keep an eye on inventory and compare it to sales
  • Staffing – hire trustworthy people







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