By Julia Boorstin

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Mike Zic, Bevinco, Portland, Ore.

MY JOB IS TO HELP BAR OWNERS IMPROVE THEIR profitability by controlling the amount of liquor they lose due to waste, spillage, and theft. Retailers lose about 1.5% of merchandise to shoplifting and theft, but 25% of all liquor goes missing on average. When we start evaluating a bar, teams of two or three of us will usually come in at 4 A.M. and do a secret audit. Liquor losses are usually about $3,000 a week. We carry handheld scanners to scan all the full bottles, and we weigh every bottle on a scale; then after a shift we can show all the items that weren't rung in correctly. The biggest problem is overpouring, but it's also typical for staff to pour a higher-end Scotch and charge their friends for a cheaper liquor. After we've met with employees, we find that product loss usually goes down for four to five weeks. Then I begin to see a bit of a rise--the employees are testing the system. So we'll pinpoint an exact person and an exact shift. I used to own a bar, and losses were a big problem. I learned all the bartender's tricks. -- Interview by Julia Boorstin