Beverage Receiving, Storing, and Issuing Control


Establishing Standards

The primary goal of receiving control is to ensure that deliveries received conform exactly to orders placed. In practice, this means that beverage deliveries must be compared with beverage orders in regard to quantity, quality, and price. The standards established for receiving are quite simple.
1. The quantity of an item delivered must equal the quantity ordered. Verifying this normally requires examining bottles, to be sure they have been filled and sealed, and then simply counting bottles or cases. It can also involve weighing kegs of beer to confirm the standard of fill or examining containers to confirm that those received conform to the order.
2. The quality of an item delivered must the same as the quality ordered. For all spirits, wines, and beers, one would check to be certain that the brand delivered was the same as the brand ordered. For wines, verification may also require checking vintages or the bottling dates of wines that are best when young. For beers, it may require checking bottling or canning dates to ascertain freshness.
3. The price on the invoice for each item delivered should be the same as the price quoted or listed when the order was placed.
Because the basic standards for the job are rather clear and simple, any honest individual of suitable intelligence and ability can be trained to receive beverages correctly.

Establishing Standard Procedures

Standard procedures must always be established to ensure that standards will be met. The steps identified in the following list are generally considered those that make up a basic standard procedure for receiving beverages.
1. Maintain an up-to-date file of all beverage orders placed. Depending on the operation, these orders may be formal, informal, or a combination of the two. Major hotels, for example, commonly use formal purchase order systems. In contrast, the only record of an order placed by a small neighborhood restaurant may be some notes taken during a telephone conversation between the owner and a salesperson. Regardless of the size of the establishment, there can be no effective receiving procedure without written records of the orders placed, and the individual responsible for receiving must have these records available.
2. Remove the record of the order from the file when a delivery arrives and compare it with the invoice presented by the delivery driver to verify that quantities, qualities, and prices on the invoice conform to the order. the picture illustrates a typical beverage invoice.
beverage invoice

3. Complete the following before the delivery driver leaves the premises.
a. Check brands, dates, or both, as appropriate, to verify that the quality of beverages delivered conforms to the invoice.
b. Count or weigh goods delivered to verify that the quantity received also conforms to the invoice.
4. Compare the invoice with the order to verify that goods received conform to the order placed.
5. Call to the attention of both management and the delivery driver:
a. Any broken or leaking containers
b. Any bottles with broken seals or missing labels
6. Note all discrepancies between delivered goods and the invoice on the invoice itself. Call any discrepancy between an order and the delivery to management’s attention immediately. Any such discrepancy may require a decision from management as to whether to accept delivery of the questionable items.
7. Sign the original invoice to acknowledge receipt of the goods, and return the signed copy to the driver. Retain the duplicate copy for internal record keeping.
8. Record the invoice on the beverage receiving report.
9. Notify the person responsible for storing beverages that a delivery has been received.
In many establishments, a form known as a beverage receiving report is filled out daily by the individual responsible for receiving beverages. A basic beverage receiving report is illustrated in the picture
beverage receiving report


Establishing Standards

Storing control is established in beverage operations to achieve three important objectives:
1. To prevent pilferage
2. To ensure accessibility when needed
3. To preserve quality
To accomplish these objectives, standards must be established.
The following standards are critical to effective storing control:
1. To prevent pilferage, it is clearly necessary to make all beverage storage areas secure. To establish the proper degree of security, access to storage areas must be restricted to authorized individuals, and steps must be taken to guard against unauthorized use of beverages by those who are permitted access to the storage areas.
Alcoholic beverages are among the items in hotels and restaurants that are most prone to theft by those who are inclined to steal. Unless appropriate steps are taken, beverage products will disappear. There are many reasons for this, including the dollar value of the products, addiction to alcohol, and irresponsible, impulsive behavior, among others.
2. To ensure accessibility of products when needed, the storage facility must be organized so that each individual brand and product can be found quickly. In practice, this means assigning a specific storage location (shelf or bin number)
to each item in the beverage inventory.
3. To maintain product quality, each item in the beverage inventory must be stored appropriately, under conditions that will maximize its shelf life. This requires taking into account such important elements as temperature, humidity, and the manner in which items are stored.
Although the quality of spirits will not be adversely affected in storage under most conditions, wines and beers are subject to rapid deterioration if improperly stored.

Establishing Standard Procedures

Standard procedures must always be established to ensure that standards will be met. The standard procedures required to achieve control over the storing of beverages normally include those discussed in the following paragraphs.

Procedures to Make Beverage Areas Secure 

Because beverage products are prone to theft, it should be obvious that keeping them in a secure facility is an urgent requirement.
There are two ways to maintain the necessary degree of security. The first is to assign responsibility for the security of the stored items to one person alone. This responsibility can mean literally keeping watch over these items. In many hotels and some large restaurants, a steward may be assigned to work in the storage facility, maintaining the stock and issuing beverages as needed. Typically, this steward is the only person permitted in the facility, except for authorized managers. In operations that are open for long hours, responsibility may be shared by two or more stewards working different shifts. Alternatively, the hours for storing and issuing beverages may be restricted so that one person can be held accountable for the beverage inventory.
The second way to maintain security is to keep the beverage storage facility locked and to issue a single key to one person, who will be held accountable for all beverages in the inventory. The person with the key is required to open the lock and issue the needed beverages. An alternative provision can be made for issuing the needed beverages in the absence of this one individual. For example, procedure can be established by which a manager can gain access to the beverage storage facility.
The difficulty with both of these procedures is, of course, that the individual assigned responsibility for the beverage inventory is not likely to be available 24 hours a day. At some point, the storage facility will be inaccessible, and no one will be able to obtain items that may be urgently needed. One way to prepare for this eventuality is to place a second key in a safe or a similar secure location and require that anyone using it sign for it and write a short explanation of why it is needed. Some managers may require both an explanation and a list of the items removed from the facility. However, making a second key available reduces both the degree of security and the possibility of holding one individual accountable for
all beverages in the inventory. In general, the common standard procedure is to keep the number of keys to the minimum that management deems appropriate for efficient operation and maximum security. If there is more than one key or if more than one person has access to the single key, it is normally advisable to change locks regularly to minimize the possibility that some persons may obtain and use duplicate keys. It is also advisable to change locks whenever a worker with access to the beverage storage facility leaves the employ of the establishment.
Some hotels and large restaurants take the additional precaution of installing closed-circuit television cameras to keep various facilities and their entrances under observation, such as the doors to beverage storage areas. A security guard in a remote area is responsible for monitoring traffic into and out of the area on a television screen. As an alternative, activity in the area may be monitored by means of a videotape recording that can be viewed by the security staff at a later time.
Another means of monitoring is to install special locks that print on paper tape the times at which the doors on which they are installed are unlocked and relocked. The times printed on the tape inform management exactly when the door to a facility was unlocked and how long it remained so. This is a less costly alternative to a closed-circuit television system, but it provides less information.

Procedures to Organize the Beverage Storage Facility

Ensuring accessibility means storing beverage products in an organized manner, so that each stored item is always kept in the same place and thus can be found quickly when needed. The physical arrangement of a storage area is important. Similar items should be kept close to one another. All gins, for example, should be kept in one area, rye whiskies in another, and scotch whiskies in a third. This kind of arrangement simplifies finding an item when needed. It is helpful, too, for a floor plan of the storage area to be affixed to the door of the facility so that authorized personnel can easily locate items.

Bin cards can be affixed to shelves and serve as shelf labels. When properly used, bin cards include essential information (type of beverage, brand name, and bottle size, for example). They may also include an identification number for beverages. Some establishments assign a code number from a master list to each item in the beverage inventory and record that code number on the bin card.
bin card

bin card picture
beverage code numbers

In many establishments, indelible ink is used to stamp this code number on each bottle received. This technique serves several purposes. In the case of wines, the names of which can be difficult to pronounce and spell, code numbers eliminate the problems faced by customers ordering wines and employees seeking to fill the orders. In many instances, wine lists are printed with bin numbers. This can lead to an increase in wine sales, which can be highly profitable. Stamping code numbers on bottles of alcoholic beverages also provides an added measure of control: The stamped number on a bottle identifies that bottle as the property of the hotel or restaurant. This makes it impossible for an employee to claim that such a bottle is personal property if one is found in his or her possession. In addition, empty bottles can be checked for numbers before they are replaced by full bottles, thus ensuring that no one is bringing empty bottles into the establishment and using them to obtain full bottles from the establishment’s inventory.
The use of bin cards also enables a wine steward to maintain a perpetual inventory record of quantities on hand. By using this card carefully to record the number of units received as they are placed on the shelves, as well as the number of units issued as they are given out, the wine steward has a way of determining the balance on hand without counting bottles. In addition, the wine steward who carefully maintains such records has a way of determining that bottles are missing so that this can be brought to management’s attention immediately.

Internally, the storage area should he kept free of the debris that can pile up as the result of emptying cases and stocking shelves. Once opened, cases should be completely emptied. All units in a case should be stored on the appropriate shelf and the empty carton removed at once. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that some individuals do not purposely remove cartons that are not completely empty.

Procedures to Maximize Shelf Life of Stored Beverages

Procedures for maximizing the shelf life of stored beverages may be divided into two categories:
1. Those dealing with temperature, humidity, and light in the storage facilities
2. Those dealing with the manner in which bottles and other containers are handled and shelved
Temperature, Humidity, and Light in Storage Facilities. For every beverage product, there is a temperature range appropriate for storage that will tend to preserve quality and shelf life. For some, the range is extremely broad; for others, it is very limited. Spirits, for example, can be stored indefinitely at normal room temperatures without harming product quality. If necessary, they can be stored well above or well below room temperatures for considerable periods. As long as the storage temperature does not become extreme, they will not suffer loss of quality. In contrast, carefully controlled storage temperatures are critical for maintaining the quality of beers and wines. The problem of maintaining product quality for these items is complicated by the fact that various wines and beers require different treatments, depending on how they were made and the containers in which they are purchased.
It is normally advisable to learn from the maker,brewer, or distributor of each specific brand the temperature range recommended for the proper storage of the product.

Shelving and Handling Bottles and Other Containers. Spirits can be stored upright on horizontal shelves for unlimited periods. In contrast, wines and other corked beverages cannot safely be stored in an upright position. If they are to be kept for any length of time, they must be stored on their sides, parallel to the floor.
There are special racks designed to store wines in the proper position. In this horizontal position, the beverage in the bottle is kept in constant contact with the cork, helping to keep the cork moist and thus keeping the bottle tightly sealed.


Establishing Standards

Issuing control is established in hotel and restaurant beverage operations to achieve two important objectives:
1. To ensure the timely release of beverages from inventory in the needed quantities
2. To prevent the misuse of alcoholic beverages between release from inventory and delivery to the bar
It is important for managers to control the quantities of alcoholic beverages issued and to take all necessary steps to ensure that quantities issued reach their intended destinations.
To achieve these objectives, managers must establish two essential standards for issuing beverages:
1. Issue quantities must be carefully set.
2. Beverages must be issued only to authorized persons.
“Authorized persons” means those who have been assigned responsibility for the security of the issued beverages and will be held accountable for their disposition.

Establishing Standard Procedures

To ensure that the essential issuing standards identified previously will be met, it is necessary to establish appropriate standard procedures for issuing beverages:
1. Establishing par stocks for bars
2. Setting up a requisition system

Establishing Par Stocks for Bars

As used in bar operations, the meaning of the term par stock is somewhat different from the definition used in wine cellar or liquor storeroom operations. In storeroom operations, par stock means the maximum quantity that may be on hand at any one time; it is a limit that the quantity on hand should never exceed. In bar operations, on the other hand, par stock is the precise quantity, stated in numbers of bottles or other containers, that must be on hand at all times for each beverage at the bar. For example, the stock of gin at a bar should be listed by brand name with bottle size and an exact number of bottles that should be at the bar at all times. One particular brand of gin, stocked in 750 ml bottles, may have a par stock of five bottles at a certain bar. This implies that someone can check the stock at any time and expect to find five bottles of that particular brand on hand. Not all would necessarily be full, but at least the number of bottles would be under control.
Essentially, there are three kinds of bars:
1. Front bars, where bartenders serve the public face-to-face
2. Service bars, where customers’ orders are given to the bartender by the waitstaff, who serve the drinks to the customers
3. Special-purpose bars, usually set up for particular events, such as a banquet.

Par stocks vary greatly from one establishment to another. In every case, however, the par stock for any particular beverage should be related to quantities used and should be changed from time to time as customer demand changes. Drinks may go in and out of fashion for seasonal as well as for other reasons, and par stocks at the bar should be adjusted to meet customer demand without being overstocked. In addition, since storage space at a bar is limited, the quantity of any item should be limited to the amount necessary to meet no more than two to three days’ demand.

Setting Up a Requisition System

A requisition system is a highly structured method for controlling issues. In beverage control, a key element in the system is the bar requisition form, on which both the names of beverages and the quantities of each issued are recorded. No bottles should ever be issued without a written requisition signed by an authorized person, often the head bartender. A simple requisition form is illustrated in Figure 14.5. In the majority of beverage operations, one type of requisition form is normally sufficient for maintaining the desired degree of control over issues. In more complex beverage operations, such as those found in many hotels, several kinds of requisitions may be required for specialized bars.
bar requisition

The requisition form is filled out by either a head bartender or another authorized person who determines the quantities needed at the bar to replenish the par stock. For a special-purpose bar, the quantities are those established as the par stock for the specific occasion. The signed and dated requisition is given to a wine steward or beverage storeroom clerk—jobs and titles vary from one operation to another. This individual is responsible for obtaining the listed items and quantities from inventory shelves and issuing them to the person authorized to receive them—normally the person who has signed the requisition. In some establishments, the worker who receives the beverages is required to sign the requisition to acknowledge receipt of all listed items.
Later, after the beverages have been issued, the unit value of each beverage is entered on the requisition, and these individual values are extended. This means that each unit value is multiplied by the number of units issued to determine the total value of the quantity issued. A total value is obtained for all the beverages listed on the requisition by adding the total values of the individual items.
The majority of establishments take the further precaution of requiring that each requisition from a front bar or a service bar be accompanied by empty bottles from that bar, to ensure that the units issued are actually replacing quantities the bartender has used. When this system is used, a par stock can be maintained at the bar. For example, suppose that the par stock of a particular brand of scotch is five bottles. When one bottle is emptied, the bartender puts it aside. At the end of the night, the bartender lists it on a requisition form along with all other bottles emptied in the course of the evening. This form is left for the morning bartender, who takes all empty bottles and the requisition on which they are listed to the wine steward. The wine steward checks each bottle against the requisition and then sends full bottles of those items— including that particular scotch—to the bar before the beginning of business. This brings the stock of the bar—including the scotch—back up to par. Such a system ensures a constant supply of beverages at the bar. Occasional comparisons of numbers of bottlesat the bar with the par stock list can ensure that items are not missing from the bar. This affords an additional measure of control.
Establishments that operate more than one bar must prepare separate requisitions for each, so the various bars may be controlled separately. For example, special banquet requisitions are often used that make provision for all bottles issued, whether consumed or returned.
banquet bar requisition

many establishments maintain additional control over full-bottle sales by requiring that a full-bottle sales slip be filled out each time a bottle of wine is removed from the bar for service at a table.

full bottle sales slip


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