How to Analyse a Stocktake Result (page 3)

  • Are the level of allowances reasonable or could and should they be reduced, are they being recorded accurately and comprehensively?


Top Tip – keep a stock allowances book in the bar, get staff to record all slops, give-aways (such as quiz prizes), breakages, mis-pours, “bad pints”, cask ale changes etc.

  • Profitability can be improved by the eradication of stock deficits, reducing the level of allowances or reducing ullage returns. Additionally you must look at whether it is possible to improve the gross margin by reviewing individual brand profitability with perhaps a general increase in the prices on products with a low GM.
  • Promotions – are you making the most of promotional activity, have you priced promotional items properly? We can help with planning profitable promotionsemail me for more details .


Your stock taker is an invaluable source of information and advice. S/he will be able to advise you on what gross margin % you should be achieving, what is happening in your area (they usually have other pubs on their books) and any number of tricks of the trade to make your stocks work harder for you. Don’t just accept the report, engage with your stock taker, you’ll find it one of the most rewarding business relationships you can have.

Top Tip with the preponderance of keg bitter and lager in the average pub’s sales split your stocks should always show a small surplus. The head on all those pints served should produce this surplus; so whilst you may look at a surplus and think “that’s good” remember that you should always have a surplus and maybe the recorded surplus is not as good as it seems.

In other words don’t be complacent, your stocks are the life-blood of your business and looking after them is the first and key step to ensuring profitability.

See also my guide to Stock Control and Management and EPOS Systems For Pubs.

To find a reputable and professional stocktaker contact the Institute of Licensed Trade Stock Auditors at:

I have a small list of independent stock takers throughout the country I have used on behalf on clients I am happy to recommend, please contact me to see if there is one in your area if you need an independent stocktaker. (Independent stocktakers usually have greater local knowledge and lower fees than some of the large stock taking companies).

Top 10 Stock Taking Tips

Venners, who are a leading stock taking company, offer this advice on stock taking:

1. Ensure only responsible and knowledgeable staff check in deliveries and that all stock areas are secure at all times

2. Display up to date price lists and menus. Ensure correct pricing on tills and in EPoS and that employees know them

3. Record all products not sold at the full retail tariff, such as discounts and special promotions

4. Use correct glasses and measures. Check the capacity of new glassware because oversize glasses can lead to up to 20% of beers and wines being given away

5. Train staff to dispense all products without loss and in line with portion controls – particularly food

6. Conduct regular spot checks on tills to let staff know that sales are being monitored

7. Don’t set a bad example to staff by not paying for food or drinks you consume or by giving to customers “on the house”

8. Check everyone can correctly use the EPoS system and monitor void transactions and refunds – conduct regular line checks

9. If you have a stock or cash problem, trust no-one, not even your most valued employee

10. Make the most of your stocktaker and their reports. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Ensure your stocktaker is working with you to improve your control, margins and profit, after all, reputable stocktaking should always pay for itself and more!

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