Speaking in Code

When Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market, now Google Play, first threw open their “doors” in 2008, they had just a handful of apps and still seemed like a somewhat dicey proposition. Would people really come out in droves to a tiny digital marketplace to buy intangible things for their smartphones that much? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding YES. Last year alone, Apple pulled almost two billion dollars a month down from the cloud, emerging as the clear market leader in software just as they are in hardware. In fact, on January 1 of this year, their App Store had its busiest day ever with $240 million dollars. That’s $10 million dollars an hour, people—and on New Year’s Day no less. The takeaway is digital has become big, big business
and isn’t going anywhere but up.

Today there’s over two million applications available for download. That’s more than enough to have to choose between to fill the dwindling space left on your phone. So which are good and which are bad? Well, there’s loads of both with more being released every day. While many have companion desktop apps, these are all primarily mobile-based apps, and would obviously require a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch to use.

But the six apps that follow are the ones that we have handpicked as the most helpful to you, the modern bar owner or operator in streamlining, organizing, executing, and elevating your business in this new digital world.


Partender bills itself as “the world’s first inventory control system in your pocket,” and it has been featured on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. It vastly reduces the amount of time spent on inventory by using your smartphone’s camera as a unique onscreen measuring tool to determine how much liquid is left in a bottle and how much that liquid is worth in sales—up to a 99.2% accuracy rate. It can also measure inventory on things like bar fruit and even cigars.

After every inventory is performed, the app emails you purchase orders, which can be immediately forwarded
along to your liquor representatives and are also stored
in the cloud.


This app “helps you understand and monitor how well your bar is performing by determining exactly how much liquor your bar should have used and then comparing that with how much liquor your bar actually used.”

This data can actually be synced across multiple locations and/or smartphones and even updated via a bluetooth digital scale to weigh partial bottles. Their online version also links to your data within the app to be able to access it away from your phone—or allow other employees to without handing over your own phone. The online version also offers additional benefits not available on the app like pour cost analysis, generating orders and managing suppliers, and backing up your data just in case you lose your phone.

The company also has another app called Bouncer, which functions for people as Barkeep does for bottles, keeping headcounts, managing capacity, gestalts and age-verifying patrons as they enter your establishment.

Tip Sheet

Track hourly employees shifts, hourly wages, tips, and total earnings to keep track of who’s earning what and when. For your employees, it can help them monitor their own progress and hit goals. For managers, it can be a useful tool to determine overall how your employees’ earnings stack up to other local bars, different cities, or even your other establishments.

Also, it enables you to see just what people are earning per-shift, per-day, per-month, and year-to-date, that way next time someone complains about “not getting the good shifts,” you can consult this app to see if that’s true.


Everybody likes saving money, right? Well, Cheapr helps you compare costs across the many different sizes of beer (or anything, really). You can use it to help set prices on bottles versus pitchers versus growlers or to decide whether it’s cheaper to buy a keg or multiple cases from a distributor.

Cheapr also works cross-culturally. Say for example you’re buying a new craft beer from Europe and, like any good American, are unfamiliar with the metric system. Cheapr can convert those very “foreign” measurements for you.


Staying on top of bills isn’t easy, except maybe for accountants, but without having one of those, it’s up to you to manage. And in the same way that TurboTax helps you do your taxes, its makers now have Mint to help you create a budget, track and pay bills, monitor bank accounts, keep an eye on investments, and generally manage money coming in or going out of your business, all in one place.

Oh, and don’t worry about having to plug the cost of this app into itself once you start using it because it’s free.

Pour Cost

In bars and restaurants in the US, we order bottles of booze by the liter, serve their contents by the ounce, and charge by the dollar based on a target cost percentage. This makes for taxing math that we’d all rather not do.

This app does that math for you, without the need to type anything in. You adjust the sliders to fit the product, cost, pour, and margin you desire and Pour Cost does the work. Think of it like a calculator for your bar.

Some of these are free to download, while others come at a cost. But the cost can be justified on a business-integration application intended for daily use that can save you quite a bit of money in the end—after all, profit never comes for free.

There are also countless bartender apps containing cocktail recipes and helpful, instructional how-to videos for bar staff that may need a refresher; numerous happy hour apps you may want to get yourself listed on to help handle promotion and marketing; a host of apps to help manage your social media presence; and some very helpful basic, although not specifically hospitality-based apps, like Numbers, Dropbox, Excel, Evernote, Scanner Pro, and Money Dashboard that can turn out to be very helpful to any business.

Or, if you really wanted to go all out, you could use companies like Appypie, Bizness Apps, or Amplify to create your very own app for your establishment and jump on this e-money train while it’s still leaving the virtual station.

By Chris Tarantino

Photos: Shutterstock.com