Wyatt Phillips is Spike TV's John Taffer, minus the chest-puffing bravado.
Taffer, a longtime food-and-beverage-industry consultant specializing in nightclubs and pubs, is the star of Spike TV's reality show "Bar Rescue." He offers his professional expertise -- at no charge -- to struggling bars in order to save them from closing. Taffer's "look-at-me'' approach makes for great television.
Phillips, on the other hand, uses a low-key, business-like approach to reach out to bar and restaurant owners long before they reach the desperation point. His Bevinco Company offers a liquor inventory-control system.
"I can't say much about the relationship with our company and 'Bar Rescue','' said Phillips, who owns the Bevinco rights (software and auditing materials) for all bars in Iowa and the Illinois Quad-Cities. "But we have been a big part of 'Bar Rescue'.''
Phillips is similar to Taffer in some ways. He understands what it costs to run a food-and-beverage operation.
Phillips pointed out that national data shows bars experience 20 percent to 25 percent shrinkage in inventory each week. Shrinkage can be attributed to something as simple as an improper over-pour of a mixed drink or a draft beer by a bartender, to drinks given away, or to a variety of theft options by servers and bartenders.
Like Taffer, Phillips said he can reduce that number. He shoots for 5 percent shrinkage each audit cycle for the approximately $200 weekly fee charged to each client.
"Say there is $8,000 a week in liquor sales,'' Phillips said. "And 20 percent is going out the door in a variety of ways. We're talking about $1,600 a week you are losing. That's $1,600 a week, four weeks a month, 12 months a year, going out the door. Think about what you can do with another $75,000-plus.''
As Taffer does, Phillips' staffers perform reconnaissance to determine operational and service weaknesses in an establishment. After studying the observations made, Phillips meets with the owner and staff to discuss his findings, and to describe the changes that need to be made.
"There's nothing covert,'' Phillips said. "It's simply knowing what to look for and having a plan of attack in place. We have one that has worked. And there is no hollering and screaming or finger-pointing at staff. The facts are laid out, and we go forward.''
Coal Valley's Mulligan's Pub was far below the national shrinkage average when proprietor Pieter Hanson called on Phillips. Still, operating with 14 percent shrinkage, Mulligans's was losing, on average, $1,200 per week through shrinkage and lackluster inventory management.
After three months of working with Phillips, Hanson said, Mulligan's is at 96 percent (4 percent shrinkage). He added that Mulligan's is audited every Thursday by Phillips.
"I simply needed to see where we were,'' Hanson said. "And a lot of it was my managing of inventory. I found we were doing many things right, but that some tweaking would make us better. Wyatt saw that. He continues to monitor our progress.''
Though their styles differ, Phillips said he is grateful for Taffer and the "Bar Rescue" television show.
"Awareness is a good thing,'' Phillips said. "The more informed you are, the better it is to run your business.''
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.
Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.