Pricing Bar Drinks: A Step-by-Step Guide

When you open a bar you think that pricing your drinks will be simple, but unless you’re careful you may find yourself out of pocket. There are many different drinks served today, from wines to exotic cocktails, so knowing how much they cost your business is the first step towards planning your price list. In addition to making a decent profit, you want to retain the goodwill of customers by charging a fair price.

Pricing Bar Drinks

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Step One

Decide what percentage of the cost of each beverage should be charged to the customer. The cost of the beverage to you should make up between 20-30 percent of the total sale price, so if the drink costs you 90p, your price for that item would be between £3 and £4.50.

It is up to you to decide exactly where to set the price. It is worth bearing in mind that, according to Big Hospitality, a Brexit could cause food and drink prices to rise considerably.

Step Two

The cost of individual mixers such as post mix syrup can all be lumped together as bar supplies, and can be obtained from companies such as This makes pricing much simpler, especially for drinks such as cocktails which have a range of ingredients. The alcohol itself should be accurately priced.

Step Three

Work out the cost of each type of drink carefully. If a 70cl bottle of spirits costs you £9.50, the cost of each millilitre is around 1.5p. Similarly if a 75cl bottle of wine costs £6, you are paying 0.8p per millilitre. Work out the cost per millilitre of each bottle to be viable. According to the Telegraph, 27 pubs go out of business in the UK each week, so pricing is critical.

Step Four

Multiply the cost per millilitre by the amount served. This is quite straightforward in the case of wine or beer, but cocktails may have different amounts of spirits added to them, so you need to work out the cost for each drink you serve.

Step Five

Multiply the cost of the alcohol by around four or five to determine the price of the drink, and round it up to a convenient figure to make calculations for bar staff simpler. It is up to you to decide how much profit you expect for each drink.

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