Managing a bar can be extremely hard work. At BevSpot, we’re making the job a little bit easier by simplifying time-consuming tasks and helping drive down costs each week. Check out this series for helpful ideas and tips on managing a bar.
Guide to Bar Management →

Improving your bar’s profitability comes down to understanding the numbers. And, for any beverage program, there are plenty to remember.

To make it easier, we’ve put together the seven essential bar math equations you need to know to help you run a more profitable bar or restaurant.

Bookmark it. Print it. Never forget an equation again.

Inventory Usage

Crucial for efficient inventory management, the inventory usage equation tells a bar manager exactly how much of each product a bar has used over a defined period of time. This equation is a crucial first step in almost every measurement of a bar’s performance.

BarMathEquations_v2_Inventory Usage copy

Download your free inventory spreadsheet.

Pour Cost (or Cost of Goods Sold)

Pour costs, also referred to as beverage costs or cost percentages, represent the percentage of cost your drinks make up compared to your resulting sales. They’re affected by drink cost, drink pricing and product loss, and they’re an essential gauge of your bar’s profitability and financial health.

BarMathEquations_v2_Pour Cost


Variance is one of the biggest detractors of a beverage program’s profitability. It represents the difference between the amount of product sold during a given period of time and the amount of product used during that same period.


Total Beverage Costs

Total Cocktail Cost

The first step to pricing a cocktail is understanding how much your drink costs to make. To figure this out, you’ll need to know your drink’s ingredients, their container sizes, prices and pour sizes.

BarMathEquations_v2_Cocktail Costs

Or, let our free Drink Pricing Tool do it for you.

Total Draft Beer Cost

To determine how much each draft beer costs, you need to know the keg size (usually 15.5 gallons), its price and your draft pour size (usually 12 or 16oz).

BarMathEquations_v2_Beer Costs

Total by-the-Glass Wine Cost

In order to understand how much a glass of wine costs, you’ll need to know the size of the wine bottle (usually 750ml), its price and your wine pour size (usually 5oz).

BarMathEquations_v2_Wine Costs

Drink Pricing

To price your drinks, first determine your desired cost percentage for each category (e.g. 24% for beer, 15% for spirits and 28% for wine). Then, divide this by your desired pour cost percentage. Be sure to round numbers for straightforward pricing.

BarMathEquations_v2_Drink Pricing

Keep in mind, your drink pricing will need to be constantly updated due to shifting product prices. To save you time and effort, we created an easy-to-use Drink Price Calculator that will quickly do all your drink pricing for you.

We know, there are too many bar management equations to keep track of. That’s why we built software to deal with all the numbers for you.

BevSpot gives you all the data behind your bar—in one place, on any device—enabling you to make smarter business decisions while also saving you time and money.

Want to see how it works? Book a demo with one of our product specialists.

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