In reviewing expenditure many committees ignore the costs of cleaning lines and waste. These costs are usually recorded by means of an allowance on the stocktaker’s report, however, these allowances can spiral out of control if not properly managed. The majority of clubs are able to keep these allowances at below 3% of the bar take, this increases up to 5% where the cellar is some distance from the dispensing pumps, the club is poorly designed with a large number of bars throughout the club or too wide a range of products are carried. An allowance of 5% equates to a loss of one pint in every twenty sold and the club should aim to manage allowances at 5% or above down.
It is important to regularly clean beer lines, facets and keg couplers to ensure the dispensed beer is of a high quality, failure to do so will result in deterioration of taste resulting in increases in waste and loss of members and bar takings.
The recommended cleaning regime has always been every seven days; however, newer systems allow clubs to extend times between cleaning. The process involves pumping water mixed with cleaning chemicals into the beer line and letting it soak, then thoroughly flushing the beer line with water to remove all traces of the chemical. The beer pulled through with the first water flush should be measured and will form the basis of the stocktake ‘line cleaning allowance’.
In addition to the line cleaning allowance most, but not all clubs give an allowance for waste, although a few operate a policy of zero waste allowance. The calculation of the waste allowances varies from a fixed weekly amount, to a set percentage of the bar take, to reimbursement for ullage and waste as recorded in a wastage book. An example of an ullage and waste book is reproduced below. A waste allowance can be like a blank cheque and it is important that an officer of the club regularly reviews and signs the waste book as evidence of approval of the steward’s claim.