How to Use a Daily Business Report in the Bar Business

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

In your bar, business levels and sales will change from day to day and shift to shift. Getting the most-current information available is essential to help you adjust your purchasing plans, preparation schedules, and even staffing schedules.

For example, if you have an extremely busy lunch that lasts well beyond the typical lunch time period (usually 11:45 to 1:30 or so), you might consider calling in an extra staff member or two to help you restock your depleted supplies, such as garnishes, bottled beer, and mixers. Because this business is extremely fast paced, you need reports that keep up with you.

We strongly recommend doing as much of this reporting as possible using a computer. It saves a ton of time and tends to be more accurate than old-school arithmetic by hand.

Your daily business review is a report that you create by recording relevant details (like your sales figures, labor costs, and customer counts) every day. By recording this info in one place, every day, you build a history of your business that allows you to compare figures across previous days, months, and years to establish patterns and determine whether you’ve gained or lost ground in individual categories.

You can find a sample daily business review, but you should develop your own review that tracks data in the categories important to your particular establishment. In this sample, a line item (like “Sales”) was included and then a row was added just below it [Sales (L/Y)] so you can quickly compare your current sales to those from the previous year.

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Among other things, a daily business review can help you

  • Determine whether a current promotional event is affecting your sales.

  • Confirm whether your overall volume is increasing over time.

  • Identify whether you have a problem somewhere in your business. For example, if your sales numbers continue to rise, but your profits aren’t keeping pace, you have a starting place to begin an investigation.

    Because this document, in and of itself, is simply a summary of what happened on a given day, you’ll likely need to delve into other documents and operational practices to find the root of any problems.

  • Clue into trends in your business levels. The trends, in turn, can help you make more-accurate buying decisions and set your par levels (or how much stock you should keep on hand).

  • Keep your cash flow in check. Many people track their cash deposits and credit card receipt totals on this form so they know how much is coming in and when.