Bar owners turn to alcohol 'audits' to cut spills, boost profits

Raleigh News & ObserverSeptember 3, 2008 

In most industries, a 20 percent to 25 percent loss is enough to put you out of business. In the bar business, such losses are routine.

Beer foams up, and there are spills.

Bartenders pour a little extra into drinks for bar regulars.

Waiters and waitresses discreetly dole out freebies to friends.

And more unscrupulous employees flat-out steal while their employers aren't looking.

But Keith Bowler says a 25 percent loss isn't necessary. He says in many cases, he can reduce that to 5 percent.

More business owners are hiring him to do just that as the economy slows down and the expenses of running a business go up.

Bowler is the owner of Bevinco, which performs "alcohol audits" for bar owners, pinpointing losses and translating the ounces lost into dollars. The Wake County business is a franchise of a Canadian company of the same name. Bevinco has franchises elsewhere in the state, including Durham and Charlotte.

"Our objective is to show them where they can save money," Bowler said. "A lot of times it can be thousands of dollars."

Richard "Gus" Gusler hired Bevinco nine months ago when he suspected employees might be stealing at Players Retreat bar and restaurant in Raleigh.

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