Raise Your Bar by Measuring These KPIs

Posted on 10th August 2017 in KPIs

Written by Freya Hughes

Managing or owning a bar means you’ll know margins can be tight, and stock takes are one of the most important parts of your month. You need to focus on maintaining a great environment for patrons, so we’ve summed up the top bar KPIs to measure while chatting to your regulars.

Hospitality is a very competitive industry. With pubs in the UK closing at the rate of knots (a loss equivalent to 29 closures per week), it’s never been more important to keep your business healthy and that’s where KPIs come in.

We spoke to Mojo Bar Group a little while back, who told us using FUTRLI has allowed them to see their whole financial picture. In the mid-2000s, they experienced exponential growth, which would have been manageable with a forecast. Instead, they had to rely on spreadsheets and it was a scary time for owner Martin Greenhow. Since using FUTRLI, Mojo has seen an astounding profit hike – tripling in the space of their first 12 months. Read the full case study here.

Right now though, let’s see which KPIs you should measure to get your business healthy like Mojo.


Peruse our KPI Library while you enjoy your tipple. We’ve got a plethora of industry-specific KPI lists in stock too.


Wet (drinks) sales gross profit

One of your main revenue streams, wet sales need to be monitored constantly. This KPI measures how much profit is being earned on these sales after direct, associated costs have been taken into account. Mojo owner Martin agrees,

“In the past, we’d serve customers day in, day out, and we might be running a certain product line at a loss, we just couldn’t see that without FUTRLI.”

Mojo Bar Group based in the North of England has been delivering music for the people and food for the soul for 20 years. FUTRLI has revolutionised their operations, KPI tracking being a crucial part of that.

Measuring wet sales will allow you to see which drinks aren’t shifting, therefore decreasing in profitability. For example, if you ordered a case of wine that didn’t sell, and you’re hoping it will eventually shift, you risk it corking and being unsellable.

As Martin says, you must keep a keen eye on what is popular. If you notice an uptick of sales for fruity ciders in the summer, don’t hesitate to up the price slightly. Coffees and teas may see a downturn in sales, and if you’re keen to shift these then consider implementing a two-for-one deal, or similar.

A low gross profit may indicate that costs are too high. We know you need to mark up these costs, but you must do so reasonably. Conversely, if you’re not charging enough, you might see your stock fly out and have a heaving bar – but have you made the revenue to maintain this way of operating? Calculate your wet sales gross profit here.

Average customer headcount

This is an engagement and customer behaviour metric. Measuring how many customers are purchasing your products or services within a set window or period to get a greater understanding of when you’re busy and when you’re not. Obtaining this information will allow you to evaluate your hiring policy and shift patterns.

Knowing a Monday afternoon is your quietest shift, rota a salaried manager so you’re not spending more on hourly staff. Mojo shows their team their dashboard, so the staff are aware of targets and what they’re working towards. The sense of unity this has created has made their three-site business work like clockwork. Staff understand that strategic shift planning makes their lives easier, and contributes to the overall business strength.

This metric also allows you to start thinking outside the box. Ask yourself: how can we get more people through the doors? Can we offer a loyalty scheme? Are there discounts people won’t be able to resist? Use the results of this KPI to consider your future revenue targets. Learn more about average customer headcount here.

Average customer wait time

This fast-paced industry means staff need to be on the ball at all times. If customers are waiting for more than a couple of minutes to be served, you risk them seeking out another establishment for their drinks. It’s not so bad if your staff ensure they greet every face that comes through the door, as customers know they’ll be seen to soon.

However, a high wait time may indicate a problem with staffing – if there are only two staff on a busy evening, they will suffer and so will your customers. So you can see this metric looks after both. Staff will reach burnout if they’re overworked, which will cost you more money in the long run. If there’s a low wait time, this is usually good. Although it may indicate a lack of customers, so you’ll need to up your marketing game. Learn more about average wait times here.

Waste %

Considering the average price of a drink these days, every drop counts. You’re paying a fair bit to suppliers, and aren’t getting much of a return on your sales. This means you need to be vigilant with your stock takes. All waste must be measured and logged. Sometimes this is unavoidable – we’ve all seen the picky customer that changes their mind halfway through you pouring their pint – but as long as it’s tracked it shouldn’t affect your bottom line.

If there are inconsistencies with your waste % it’s time to look at your team and work out what’s been going on. Sometimes in the thick of a busy shift the odd drink will be left off a bill, which is simply human error. You must remember that your drinks are your revenue, so be meticulous with your waste measurements. Add your waste % into your forecast so you can show your team where they need to improve.

Dry (food) sales gross profit

This only applies if you have an operating kitchen that is not franchised out, of course. Dry sales often keep bars and pubs afloat, and with similarly high margins to your wet sales, it’s crucial to get this measurement accurate.

If your gross profit is low, after the associated costs are factored in, review the kitchen team’s rota and suppliers. Could they get the same quality produce elsewhere? Are they portioning everything out correctly? Do they run out of their best selling dishes? Are the dishes priced out correctly?

There are so many aspects of running a professional kitchen, it’s advisable to sit your head chef down and go through your dashboard with them to make a revenue-focused plan. Learn how to calculate your dry sales gross profit here.


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