Times are still pretty tough for many in the hospitality industry, and a 5 to 15 per cent increase to the bottom line wouldn’t be too hard to take. Monitoring your shrinkage due to waste, theft and poor controls with respect to alcohol might help you find a portion of those profits. There are a few basic tactics or tools a restaurateur can employ to rectify this situation: 1. Demonstrate to employees your commitment to achieving an acceptable level of shrinkage. If staff feels management does not monitor diligently, it can create an environment of carelessness, over pouring, free drinks and theft. 2. Train employees to ensure that product isn’t wasted. Consider the additional cost of a bartender pouring a six-ounce glass of wine instead of five ounces. Although many corporate operators may have sophisticated systems to monitor costs, they too require a manager’s oversight. In smaller establishments, managers should randomly watch wine pours. Finally, employees who pour should not be in charge of counting inventory. 3. Consider using outside experts. Over the last few years, more owners have recognized the benefits of hiring an outside source to determine inventory loss and pinpoint where the shrinkage is occurring. President Mark Halpern of Toronto-based Profit Shield says that most restaurant owners believe shrinkage is just the cost of doing business. He continues: “The reality is, that’s just not the case. We explain how the audit is done, we invite employees to follow us around, and we review reports with the owners and the servers and ask for suggestions and questions.” After an audit the average variance usually decreases to four per cent from 15 per cent, according to Halpern. If you would like more information on the audit process please email email@example.com Jason Acosta, owner of Pizza Rustic based in Toronto, says that six months ago shrinkage in his establishment was sitting at approximately 22 per cent. After working closely with an auditing company on a weekly basis, that figure came down to three per cent, which he maintains is acceptable, but could be even lower. In keeping with this direction, Justin McAuliffe, manager and sommelier of the Miradoro restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery in Oliver, B.C., says no shrinkage is acceptable. He maintains diligent control over all three and five ounce pours. He adds: “Everything is recorded, even if a sample is offered. If a client does not like the wine, and it is poured down the sink, that is recorded as well.” Halpern suggests that if the variance becomes less than three per cent, the owner offer a reward to the serving team. The bottom line is that an improved level of shrinkage can be a win-win situation. About The Wine Ladies The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne founded by entrepreneur sister team in 2003, take life one sip at a time as they share the splendour of food and wine for all and the wonderful lifestyle it entails. Regular national TV personalities, columnists and hosts of their own weekly TV and radio show about wine, food and lifestyle these ladies share their passion and live life to the fullest and without hesitation. Their motto “everything in life somehow comes back to the vine” keeps their audiences entertained and informed. Connect with The Wine Ladies by visiting them at TheWineLadies.com or follow them on The Wine Ladies Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or The Wine Ladies YOU TUBE channel.