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How Toro Loco Sports Bar combats theft and COVID with MarketMan

Located on the island of Bocas del Toro, Panama, Toro Loco Sports Bar has turned to its food menu to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re relying on MarketMan to track their inventory from ordering to service, while preventing theft and waste in the back of the house.

Novel virus, new business model

Before the pandemic slowed the restaurant business to a screeching halt, Toro Loco operated primarily as a sports bar with some food options. To survive lockdowns and the loss of tourists, they transitioned to a full-time restaurant. Since they’d been using MarketMan for almost three years to manage their bar inventory, switching to a full-service restaurant business was as easy as an island breeze. They rely on MarketMan’s inventory management software to keep track of inventories the moment orders are entered into the POS system, whether it’s a food order or a drink to-go.

Toro Loco Bar

However, due to the low volume of customers and tourists, Toro Loco has been running lean for the past year. With half staff, cooks on call, and a simple menu with limited single-use ingredients, they’ve been able to leverage MarketMan to help keep the lights on and the doors open. This means that they need to be hyper-aware of inventory turnover and food waste. Consequently, Toro Loco orders items as-needed every two to three days to keep pace with an uncertain future.

Managing inventory and getting the best prices with auto-ordering

Before Toro Loco started with MarketMan, they were doing inventories by hand. Robbin Blythe, Founder at El Toro Loco, admitted it was a “mess.”

“We didn’t really manage our inventory when we began. I trusted everyone to do the count correctly, but things quickly got out of control. MarketMan simplified everything, and keeps count of everything in the bar and kitchen.”

Robbin uses the auto-ordering feature to stay on top of his inventory, ordering items as needed every few days. As prices rise across the island, Robbin can use MarketMan to find the best price among his three main suppliers for liquor and food, getting the best deal each time he needs to order. He can check MarketMan to see what he needs, as well as his theoretical and actual Cost of Goods Sold, and make a quick call to his vendors to refresh his inventory when he needs to.

“We save a ton of time ordering a week. We put in almost no effort. It’s helpful to see prices by suppliers, so we can find the lowest cost for goods automatically,” said Robbin. Being able to bargain for the lowest prices helps Toro Loco keep costs low, which is especially important as the future of tourism remains unclear. Staying afloat is the key business objective, and cutting costs wherever possible is crucial to keep Toro Loco resilient.

Monitoring food waste and theft with up-to-date inventory counts

Employee theft is a huge issue in the restaurant industry – according to some estimates, it deprives the food service industry of $3-6 billion annually. Before they implemented MarketMan, Toro Loco operated on the honor system, and without an organized way to track inventory, they were unaware of just how much employee theft was costing their business.

Toro Loco Drinks

The problem was so rampant that Robbin admits, “We were losing $600 a month on sodas alone. Some employees were drinking two to three sodas per day and not logging it.” Once MarketMan was implemented, Toro Loco was able to quickly and immediately quell the issues. Since ingredients and sales were immediately logged at the point of sale, Robbin could identify discrepancies immediately and take action.

“Nothing has been missing since we started using MarketMan. We’re saving thousands overall – theft was rampant and MarketMan helps us protect ourselves.”

MarketMan helps Robbin manage his inventory for more than just theft. Toro Loco has been able to massively reduce food waste, which is especially important for a restaurant running lean. Since most of the menu items use similar ingredients, cutting down food waste is crucial to reducing losses while maintaining a consistent, quality experience for their customers.

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To find out how your restaurant can use MarketMan to manage your inventory through any kind of operational challenge, from employee theft to a worldwide lockdown, request a demo today.