Stop Pouring Money Down the Drain: 3 Tips for Dealing with Beer Foam
One of the biggest opportunities in any given restaurant or bar is found in draft beer.
There are plenty of videos out there about maintaining glycol systems or how to pour a perfect pint—this isn’t one of them.
The opportunity we see most often deals with foaming beer.
Bartenders are Pouring Money Down the Drain
It’s a common practice—we see it all the time. Bartenders, in an attempt to pour a viable pint, just pour the foam (read: inventory) down the drain. Now, it doesn’t feel like pouring dollars down the drain, but that’s what’s happening.
Check out the video below where Dave Nitzel shares 3 tips to combat foaming beer issues:
Tip #1: Pour it Like Guinness
A quick way to combat the foam is to pour it like a Guinness. Fill the glass to about 70%, then let it sit there for 30-60 seconds.
What to do during that 60 seconds?
- Pour another draft
- Create a cocktail
- Start a conversation
- Top off the pint
- Serve it with a smile!
If we’re doing our job and staying ahead of the game, our guest isn’t out of beer. And if it’s the first beer, we’ve greeted them within 30 seconds, welcomed them to the venue, and they can see us pouring the beer.
If you’re engaged, and they can see you’re attentive to their needs, customers don’t mind waiting a few seconds—they just don’t want to be ignored.
Tip #2: Match the Draft Lines for Efficiency
Something we’ve learned by working with thousands of venues is that not all lines pour exactly the same. Now, if you have a great system, it’s likely you won’t experience this problem—but if you, like many operators, have some lines that just don’t pour right—or pour inconsistently, you can make some adjustments.
- Put the high-volume products on the best performing lines
- Move ciders and nitrous to lines that chronically give you problems
- Works like a charm!
Tip #3: “86 it!”
True Story: A client was experiencing some disruption with kegs in their business. It was Friday night and they were slammed—and they just poured foam through two full kegs trying to manufacturer some pints.
They ended up pouring 50 pints out of one 1/2 barrel, and about 70 out of another.
So basically 50% of those two kegs went right down the drain!
Can you imagine a world where you’d pull $130 -$140 out of the cash drawer, rip it up and throw it out?
That’s basically what happened. It was as effective as lighting that money on fire. And you say, “Hey look, we’re trying to get the beer out for Friday and Saturday night” which sounds reasonable on the surface—but now you’ve created a problem for the Monday and Tuesday guests.
Don’t subscribe to the idea that your best option is to pour your inventory, i.e., cash, down the drain.
You lose on both sides of the equation.
“86 it” and get people into some other products. You have substitutes and bottles available— people will survive that.
Bonus: Why does that happen?
Why do we have this mindset that it’s okay—in fact, acceptable— to pour inventory down the drain?
It’s because a lot of people, from a financial standpoint, don’t actually know what’s going on in their draft program
If you’re not using scales or some version of an inventory program, you simply can’t know.
It happens all—the—time, and it looks something like this:
The bar manager or bartender does a count by going into the keg room and sloshing the keg around. Then they say, “That’s 50%, that’s 70%, that’s 10%.
You come back and run the draft numbers, and based on the reported count, your draft program is at 34% cost— People don’t report that number.
They go, “Oh! I might have been feeling a little strong today! I think there was more beer in there than I thought!”
Solution? Just magically add 10% to all the kegs, now the draft program is at 23%.
Ah, that’s better. Good. Turn that in.
It happens. All. The. Time.
So if you’re not reconciling your true inventory— by weighing your kegs—and you’re not reconciling that against your draft sales, you really don’t know what’s going on in the draft program. That’s why people walk by foam being poured down the drain and just allow it to happen. What other reason would there be to allow such waste in a business without it being questioned?
Make sure you get real data— measurable data— in your draft and keg program. If you need help, we're just a few clicks away! Hit that orange button below to get started!