2018 off to a busy start – stocktaking update from Paul Hunt of Hunt Management Solutions

A busy stocktaking year ahead

I’m delighted to say that 2018 has got off to a great start with a busy month of stocktakes across the south west of England.

While there has been the usual month end work & monthly stocktakes, January also sees an increase in the quarterly work & year end stocktaking – many clients have the 30th December as their financial year end and so require end of year valuation certificates.

Changing times

While it continues to be a difficult trading time for pubs and the hospitality trade, I’m pleased to have gained two new clients this month.

Also a sign of the times, is that some of our new business has been won from clients whose current stocktaker is retiring.

Continuity of stocktaking service

In a profession that relies upon on expertise built on knowledge and first-hand industry experience, turnover due to retirement is to be expected.

As continuity of stocktaking services is so important to businesses in the licensed trade, Hunt Management Solutions offers a seamless stocktaking transfer service to new clients… so that their management reporting is uninterrupted and consistent.

Please get in touch to find out more.

1st April year end looms & over Easter!

The next big time for stocktakers is the 1st April with the financial year ends.

If you have not booked your end of year stocktaking date, then it time to get it done as soon as possible, particularly as this year it falls over the Easter Weekend.

Please get in touch to find out more about our Year-End services.

Stocktaking tip: spring clean & rotation

Now is  great time to spring clean your stock offering by checking the dates on your stock. Often over the busy Christmas & New Year period stock rotation gets overlooked because it’s such a busy period.

Also have a conversation have with your stocktaker to find out what stock is and is not selling. For example, your stocktaker will be able to give you thoughts on what low selling stock you need to promote to reduce/remove your stock holding.

Stocktaking tip: price increases

While, I don’t wish to finish on a negative… it’s also that time of year that the Breweries start to bring in price increases! So this is a good time to seek advice from your stocktaker on what the impact is going to have on your margins and what adjustments you should be making.

Paul Hunt
Hunt Management Solutions
07917 176 005


Shhh, Christmas is coming!

Christmas stocktaking: 9 top tips for festive holiday stocktaking

As no doubt we will shortly start to experience Christmas shop displays and countless toy ads on TV…. don’t forget that it’s time to start planning for the festive break!

Have you got your menu published & promoted? Have you sorted out staffing? What about your drinks stock order for the Christmas and New Year period?

No time like the present to get ahead before the Festive period gets in to full swing.

With this in mind, why don’t you also check out our 9 Christmas stocktaking tips»


Pub stocktaking reports – do you have enough management information

Pub stocktaking by Paul Hunt Management Solutions

Pub stocktaking reports

In what has been a very busy summer of stocktaking, I have seen a noticeable increase in the number of licensees – of pubs, bars and clubs – asking more questions and advice relating to their stock control.

It’s always pleasing that clients are appreciating the need  for more information to help them run their business efficiently and profitably.

Are you getting a PLU report?

A great example of this, has been a new client I have begun working with this summer, who felt that they were not getting the information from their previous stocktaker that they required.

In this case the main issue was that the owners were not being give a PLU report to highlight what stock was short. As this was a freehold premises being run by a manager on the behalf of the owners, a PLU is essential information for them so that they could analyse and discuss with the manager issues such as stock shortages.

What’s in a pub stocktake report?

A stocktake can reveal a lot of important trading information for pub, bars and clubs from PLU reports to gross profit percentage per category.

Click here to find out what our typical pub, bar and club stocktaking reports include»

Expert stocktaking in Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire

Paul Hunt, of Hunt Management Solutions, provides food & beverage stocktaking services for the hospitality industry across Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Paul works on a daily basis with pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, theatres, cinemas, student unions and a lot more.

If you need support from an experienced and qualified licensed trade stock auditor please contact Paul on 07917 176 005.


Are you monitoring and managing your stock deliveries? 6 stock delivery tips

Are you checking your deliveries and delivery notes?Stock control is an essential part of most business operations, but particularly in the licensed trade, catering & hospitality where profits can quickly turn to loss if stock isn’t carefully managed.

Start… managing stock deliveries

Good stock control starts with monitoring and managing deliveries effectively.  This often boils down to making sure every delivery is properly checked and signed for but while this may sound obvious, as an independent stocktaker I come across many occasions when this doesn’t happen.

A couple of recent examples:

  • 2 Barrels signed for that weren’t delivered

The manager went to check delivery & noticed that two barrels were missing that they remembered ordering.  On checking the delivery note, the missing items were listed even though they had not been delivered.

When contacting the brewery their reply was that the delivery had been signed for and therefore there was nothing that can be done.

Luckily when we conducted a stocktake, the results made it obvious that they had been short delivered. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean a brewery will reconsider, after a lot of hard work from the client talking to the company, they were eventually able to get replacement for the missing stock free of charge.

  • Missing case of 6 x1.5 litre bottles of mixed spirits

When a PLU report was completed as part of our stocktake for a bar, there were several spirits with large deficits – this equated to 6 x 1.5ltr bottles.

Further investigation revealed that these items were listed on the delivery notes. After the stock count was checked & delivery notes were rechecked to make sure they had not been marked as undelivered, the client was advised of the issue – which they had been unaware of.

Checks at the Brewery confirmed the items had been despatched and so at this time the business is picking up the tab for the missing spirits.

Stock control pays for itself

Both examples show the value of regular stocktaking to business of all sizes in the licensed trade and of the importance on managing the delivery process.

The first example showed how stocktaking helped to prove the delivery didn’t take place, recovering a potential loss for the client. In fact, the retail value of the recovered items more than paid for the independent stocktake.

The second example highlighted how independent stocktaking can reveal issues and problems that the owners were not aware of. Identifying and fixing these issues will again make big savings for the owner and cover the costs of the independent stocktaker.

5 stock delivery tips

Here are some basic stock delivery tips:

  • Make sure all empties are out of the cellar or moved to one side away from existing stock and stock about to be delivered
  • Mark the full barrels in the cellar as an easy guide to help double check delivery
  • Make sure barrels & stock are checked before they go in cellar or delivery area
  • Make sure the delivery drivers are supervised & don’t leave unattended
  • Make sure every delivery is properly checked and signed for by both the delivery driver and the person receiving the order

Helping your stock control

An independent stocktaker can help you manage your stock more effectively by using their experience to interpret your systems, invoices and reporting.

As the examples above show, as independent stocktakers we regularly identify issues, even if clients didn’t know they had them, and then help them put in place fixes and better processes to stop the issue repeating.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you with stock control and inventory management please call us on 07917 176 005.


Maintain your profit margins. Post Budget thoughts for the Licensed Trade

Profit margins - a stocktakers viewWith brewery new year price increases and recent Budget changes that also increased prices, now is a good time for those in the licensed trade to make sure that their profit margins are in good order.

I have found that most clients have waited for the outcome of the latest Budget before looking to increase prices. This is not surprising as most prefer to do just one price increase rather than two in quick succession.

However, it is important that you reflect the increased costs in your pricing so that your bottom line isn’t impacted.

Don’t forget changing food prices

It’s also important that owners of pubs, bars, restaurants etc don’t forget to review their food profit margins. As we have already seen this year, weather events are having quite an impact on the availability and pricing of food imported from Europe, particularly fruit and vegetables.

As a result, do keep an eye on your food GP%.

Calculating your Profit Margins

There is a simple GP% calculator that can be found on ILTSA (Institute of Licensed Trade Stock Auditors) website to help you.

GP% calculator»

Budget 2017

Here are my thoughts and observations on the March 2017 Budget:

  • The budget increase is going to mean about 10p on a pint. This is in addition to the 10p you may have been expecting to add because of the brewery increases.
  • Wine prices increased at the end of last year & have gone up again in the budget. Wine increases look like they will be in the region of 20p-50p per bottle.
  • Spirits, look like they need to be increased by 5p, but I would envisage that this will actually end up being a 10p increase.

What will customers make of price increases?

Of course no one is delighted by price increases, but while there may be some customers who show dissatisfaction, most will accept these increases in today’s economic climate.

Many still find that customers try and compare pub prices with supermarket prices. We can only continue to educate the public on the fact that prices are not just a reflection of the beverage but also for the environment in which they consume them.

Checking those invoice prices

Are you checking the prices on your invoices?

When stock arrives it is easy just to check that correct products have been delivered but I have found that many do not also ensure the prices are correct.

If you have regular stocktakes, then your stocktaker will help you pick up if you have been overcharged as they will have industry knowledge of prices.

However, it is good practice to check all the prices on the invoice as the stock is delivered as it could save you money.

Single bottle or a case?

One of the common pricing errors that people miss is where they have been charged for a case rather than a single item.

Contract prices

For those that have contract prices on products, be particularly careful when you order something different. Make sure the price is checked because this type of error can easily slip through and be costly.

Use an expert

When it comes to maintaining profit margins and stock control, a professional and experienced stocktaker is worth every penny of their fee.

From establishing what your GP% is to identifying and fixing issues a good stocktaker will help your business run more efficiently and profitable.

Find out more about our stocktaking services including:

Or give us a call on 07917 176 005



9 Christmas stocktaking tips & festive holiday season advice

Christmas stocktaking: 9 top tips for festive holiday stocktakingAs we head towards another hospitality festive season, Hunt Management Services has put together our list of 9 Christmas stocktaking top tips to help the licensed trade have a successful trading period.

Christmas and New Year stocktaking top tips

Whether you run a pub, bar, club, restaurant, hotel or festive hospitality, we hope that you will find some stocktaking tips that will work for you.

1. Seasonal drinks.

With the colder weather and the celebratory nature of the festive season it’s a good idea to review your stocks of seasonal drinks, particular favourites for this time of year are:

  • Mulled Wine or Mulled Cider are both are popular at this time of year especially on those colder nights.
  • Darker Real Ales & Porter styles are a preferred choice at this time of year as opposed to lighter ales that are popular in the Summer.

2. Customer profile

The Christmas and New Year party season may bring a different sort of crowd to what you have seen during the rest of the year, with different tastes and preferences. So it’s worthwhile taking a look at your stock reports from last years festive season, to see what stock was moving quickly and revise your festive orders accordingly.

3. Spread the cost

To spread the cost of purchasing stock for the Christmas period, it is an idea to start building stock of the most popular products by ordering extra  in the weeks before Christmas.

4. Protect your profitability

Although turnover is usually good during the festive period, there are periods where trade is quiet. Offering Mini Prosecco and Wine bottles are a good alternative to offering it by the glass as it prevents stock of large bottles going flat and increasing waste.

5. Make the most of discounts and offers

At this time of year many suppliers offer deals and incentives in their Christmas Brochures that could save you money on all your orders – check them out before placing your order.

6. Protect your stock

Stock is one of your most important assets, and over the holiday season you will have more on site than normal and so it is important that it is secure.

  • Make sure that the larger December deliveries are properly checked & signed for at outset.
  • Ensure that your cellar and anywhere else you hold stock is safe and secure – especially if you are using new spaces because of the extra stock.
  • Make sure that in January any dated products are stock rotated properly, especially in the fridges.

7. Don’t forget to record information for your stocktaker

If you are  offering a discount by pre-ordering wine for Christmas meals, then make sure the amount of the discount is recorded for your stocktaker. Similarly, make sure any complimentary drinks, for you and your staff, are recorded accurately.

8. Special offer recording

If you are offering a package deal of drink & food then make sure the split between the two categories is recorded.

9. Christmas staffing

Throughout the holidays most establishments are rely on a greater number of casual staff than they have for the rest of the year. Therefore it is important that all those working are clear on the stock and till processes to ensure everything is recorded accurately.

From an owners perspective it is also a time to be extra vigilant on stock, monitoring any till shortages or till surplus. On a busy night some establishments will swap the till drawer & do an x reading on the till & credit card machine.

Expert stocktaking in Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire

Paul Hunt, of Hunt Management Solutions, provides food & beverage stocktaking services for the hospitality industry across Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Paul works on a daily basis with pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, theatres, cinemas, student unions and a lot more.

If you need support from an experienced and qualified licensed trade stock auditor please contact Paul on 07917 176 005.


Are you buying a Bar… get an independent stock valuation

If you are buying a bar, pub, club or other business in the hospitality sector it’s highly recommended that you get an independent valuation of one of the businesses biggest assets… stock.Buying a bar, pub or club.... get an independent stock valuation

You will be buying the hospitality business, including the liquor and food stock, and so it makes sense to be very clear about the value of the inventory and be sure that it is fair and representative to both parties.

By using an independent stock auditor both parties can be sure of a level playing field, providing peace of mind and reducing stress in what can be a challenging time.

What does a stock valuation cover?

Typically a stock inventory at a change of ownership will show, at cost, the value of stock holding, with the drink being broken down to individual products.

Generally, it is advised that there is no food left to hand over however, if there is some remaining then it is usually advised that a figure is agreed. Find out more.

Both parties will receive a stock valuation figure & report, as well as documentation suitable for both buyer and seller accountants.

Can an independent Auditor work for buyer and seller?

A stocktaker can work for either the buyer or seller but it is often quicker and cheaper for both parties to agree to use the same independent valuer.

A joint valuation audit prevents duplication, ensures consistence and removes the need to compare and contrast 2 different valuations.

How do I choose an independent stock valuer?

When looking for a valuation expert that both parties can trust, it is recommended that you consider the following:

  • Are they a member of ILTSA, the only qualifying body for the Licensed Trade. Member of the Institute means that the stocktaker has passed professional exams and works in accordance with a professional code of practice
  • Experience in stock valuation and in the particular hospitality sector
  • What do their clients say about them and their service

Find out more about stock valuations

Paul Hunt, of Hunt Management Solutions, is a qualified and experienced licensed trade stocktaker covering Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath and the South West of England.

If you require stock valuation services for your pub, bar, restaurant or club please contact us on 07917 176 005.


Stocktaking for Theatres and Cinemas

Theatre stocktaker and  Cinema stocktakerIndependent theatre stocktaking and cinema stocktaking services are an essential way to protect your business profits.

If you own or manage a theatre or cinema, you will be fully aware of the importance of food and beverage sales to your gross profit margin.  It makes sense for you to protect one of your most valuable assets and ensure you are maximising your income from it.

Independent stock management

We provide stock management and auditing services for theatres, cinemas and arenas across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and South West England.

As an independent, qualified and experienced stocktaker, Paul Hunt can support your business whether it’s a theatre with multiple bars or a cinema with food and drink refreshment kiosks.

Cinema & Theatre stocktaking

Our cinema and theatre stocktaking service is tailored to your needs but can involve food and beverage sales, licensed trade sales, analysis & reporting on stock holding and gross profit, plus lots more.

Find out more about what a theatre or cinema stock audit includes»

Free quote for your stocktaking needs

If you would like to discuss your theatre or cinema stocktaking/auditing needs and get a free, no obligation, quote then please call us on 07917 176 005 or use our contact form»


Manage your stock at Festivals & Hospitality Events

Stocktaking at Festivals and events by Paul Hunt of Hunt Management SolutionsWith the Summer fast approaching lots of festival, fetes, open days and hospitality events will soon be taking place. However, if you are an organiser, please don’t forget to manage your stock.

Whatever the type of Festival (music, food & drink, beer, proms, weddings, flower shows, Christmas markets etc), food and drink can generate significant income for festivals and events.

However, managing your stock can be a challenge in the more unusual and temporary surroundings chosen for many British festivals such as fields, parks, schools or sports grounds!

Festival stock issues

Just some of the stock issues hospitality event organisers face include:

  • Multi bar and food operations across a festival site
  • High stock levels being retained on site because of the difficulty in re-stocking
  • Shortage of secure, lockable, storage space
  • Lack of good refrigeration facilities to keep food fresh
  • Lot of temporary staff, inexperienced with tills and stock systems
  • Potentially high wastage and theft issues
  • Lack of sales and stock reporting

Maximising your festival gross profit

If you are organising a festival or hospitality event we highly recommend using a qualified and experienced stocktaker. They will help you manage your stock effectively and ensure that your gross profit is maximised.

An experienced stocktaker can help you in a number of ways including:

  • Stock systems & advice
  • Stock reporting
  • Analysis of invoicing, sales and stock
  • Identifying the Gross Profit Percentage per Category & overall Gross Profit
  • Multi bar reporting

Find out more about a Festival & Events stocktaking»

Get a FREE Festival & Hospitality Events stocktaking quote today

Paul Hunt MILSA has been a hospitality events stocktaker for over 15 years. He is an exam qualified member of the Institute of Licensed Trade Stock Auditors (ILTSA), the qualifying body for the Licensed Trade. He has also been appointed to its Council of Management.

He has also achieved the coveted ILTSA Accreditation status. This means that his work practices and procedures have been reviewed by an expert panel of the Institute’s licensed trade stock auditors.

If you would like to discuss your Festival or Event stocktaking/auditing needs and get a free, no obligation, quote then please call us on 07917 176 005 or use our contact form»


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