Another bar week another bar dollar, or in my case; another bar month, and yet another cash injection to pay the salaries and rent.
Yes it true, when we checked how much cash we had in hand to pay the end of month bills, there was a substantial shortfall, so once again I had to dip into my last remaining savings to keep the bar afloat.
This was very worrying, as I really felt that we had turned the corner and were at the very least were breaking even.
I am keeping proper accounts so I l know exactly how much we are taking each day, and how much we are paying out,(and what we are paying it out on), and every night we count the cash to make sure that everything tallies properly.
However, it is somewhat more problematic to keep proper control of the stock – i.e. matching up our sales and purchases with the physical stock in hand. In theory I can do this with my computerised till system, as it records the quantity of each stock item being sold and then I can match those numbers up with opening and closing stock, after taking into account the new stock items items purchased during the month.
I tried to do this at the end of the first month’s trading, but it proved highly problematic and very time consuming. Although I can carry out a reasonably accurate check on the beer, and other items sold by the can or bottle, it is much more difficult to check on the wines, spirits, liquor and other items, as they are sold by the ‘shot’ or ‘measure.
I soon found that to carry out such a detailed stock check on a monthly basis would be hugely time consuming, and in all probability would not be very accurate for all manner of reasons.
I am not worried about stock theft, as all the stock is chained and locked each night, and either Noo or her aunt are present during the opening times. Even if one of the girls manages to sneak out the odd bottle of beer or a shot of whisky it’s not going to make any material difference.
So what I have decided, is to do a physical stock check at the close of each month, and then price it, so that I know the value of my opening and closing stock. In this way I can accurately calculate my trading result for the month.
I know my sales, and I know my ‘cost of sales’ and I know my overhead expenses, so I know my ‘theoretical profit’, but this needs to borne out by the actual cash in hand.
So after having established that there was a substantial cash shortfall I pinned my hopes on the fact that my closing stock had increased by a similar amount, which was the only explanation of where the missing cash had gone – in buying extra stock.
So it was with a huge sigh of relief when I priced up the closing stock and found that we had indeed made a very substantial increase in our stock, and that the value of this increase pretty much accounted for the ‘missing cash’.
I am still learning about this kind of cash retail business and how to account for it with the minimum of effort, and no doubt I will continue to refine my accounting procedures over the coming months; but I am now reasonably satisfied that we are definitely breaking even and maybe turning a small profit. This is quite gratifying as I doubt whether many other bars around the lake that can say the same.
The other worrying issue that hit me at month’s end was the electricity bill had more than doubled! I have received some good advice on this from a number of expats who are experts in this kind of thing and we think we have traced the problem to our freezer chest, which had an ice ‘build up’ and wasn’t closing properly.
Apparently this means that the compressor never stops churning over and over and this alone can eat up a lot of electricity units. We have cleaned all the packed ice away from the lid and rim and the chest is now closing properly, so we will see if that reduces our bill.
The start of the EPL football season is fast approaching and I am hoping that we will get a good crowd on weekends to watch the live games, which will give a nice boost to the bar’s coffers. Hopefully this will tide us over until the ‘holiday season’ is over and there will be more customers around for us to entice into our nice little bar.
I am thinking of some gimmicks for the EPL, such as cheap drinks until the first goal is scored to attract the punters in….
The overall trend of our business is still upwards, and during the past week, we had the two best trading days since we opened. Even on our ‘off days’, when the bar remained empty for an hour or more, we still picked up enough business to make the overall day’s ‘take’ respectable.
Somewhat belatedly, I would just like to give all my highly valued readers a big ‘pat n the back’ and and even bigger thank you for helping my blog to reach the staggering number of over 200,000 genuine ‘hits’. (views)
Ever since I have been writing almost exclusively about my bar and Thailand, the number of views has increased and my blog has been read in no less than 161 countries, with Thailand no. 1, USA second and the UK 3rd.
I know that in the general scheme of thinks, this isn’t very much, as many blogs attract millions of views, but I like to think that I have a ‘quality’ readership, rather than ‘quantity’….
Last week, I wrote a piece expressing my complete support of the military junta in their attempts to bring Thailand into the 21st century; to wipe out corruption, nepotism and cronyism and to bring about a stable and lasting democracy.
There is much to be done and it will take a very long time before Thailand turns a corner and can consider itself a nation that is truly part of the developed world and a functioning democracy.
In recent years, Thailand has taken many strides to bring prosperity to its people, and is now a nation where nobody starves and everybody has clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads, But there is still a dark ‘underbelly’ to this beautiful land, where heinous crimes, such as human trafficking and slavery still run rampant.
Last month Thailand was downgraded to the lowest level in the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report – a move that will trigger sanctions by the United States.
After years of warnings, the US has ‘named and shamed’ Thailand, and dumped them at the bottom of a list of countries accused of failing to tackle modern-day slavery.
Thailand has been on Tier 2 watch list for four years for poor law enforcement but has now been dropped to the lowest rung – Tier 3.
Thailand have now found themselves added to nations such as Iran, North Korea and Syria, which have already been languishing on the lowest tier of the State Department’s annual report into human trafficking.
“We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common,” US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in the 2014 report, denouncing what he called “the evil of human trafficking”.
The US report, which was carried out before the military coup, states that:
“Tens of thousands of the world’s trafficking victims end up in Thailand as migrants from neighbouring countries, who are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labour or exploited in the sex trade.
“Anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remained insufficient compared with the size of the problem in Thailand, and corruption at all levels hampered the success of these efforts.”
The Thai junta chief, General Prayuth, has stated that concerns about a possible downgrade led to the junta’s ongoing moves against illegal labour. He said this aimed at improving Thailand’s image on the international stage in regard to human rights and labour.
He blamed criminal gangs preying on migrant workers for the rumour that the military was brutally cracking down on foreign labourers, particularly those from Cambodia. The rumour led to an exodus of over 100,000 Cambodian workers. He said those gangs could make more money smuggling the illegal labourers back to Thailand.
Let us all hope that the good General, who I believe is utterly honest and earnest in his intentions, takes some action to rectify this deplorable state of affairs, which successive corrupt governments have been turning a blind eye to for decades.
On a lighter note, I was amused to read the other day the true account of a perplexed Bangkok taxi driver who accepted a fare to take a male teenage customer to the outskirts of town one morning. After the boy had paid his fare and left, the driver remembered that the boy had left his luggage in the boot (trunk).
He stopped the car to check and discovered a dead man stuffed in a garbage bag, lying in the boot of his taxi.
He took the body to the police….
On an even lighter note, I read with delight a couple of weeks ago that the Thai military has not yet responded to an appeal from the United States, asking Thailand to re-join the annual Cobra Gold military exercises.
Washington had earlier threatened to relocate the long-standing joint operation to Australia next year in response to the coup in May.
A high-ranking military source said Thailand has asked the US to explain in writing why it wanted to resume the Cobra Gold exercises with Thailand, after previously suggesting it might shift them elsewhere. The US threat was intended as a gesture of opposition to the Junta’s seizure of power on May 22.
“It was quite a strong reaction from the US in threatening to withdraw the Cobra Gold exercises from Thailand, which we are fine with,” the military source said.
“We are ready to conduct military exercises with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Asean, including Myanmar, along with China and India, which have already said they are ready to take part,” he added.
“The US has submitted a letter saying it will resume Cobra Gold jointly with Thailand, but we have not responded to it. We have asked the US to explain in a written statement why it wants to resume the exercises.”
“There are now a total of 3.5 billion people – the population of India, at 1.2 billion, China at 1.4 billion and the Asean countries, at 700 million – that understand the situation in Thailand, “ the military source said.
“However, the US, which has a 180-year-old relationship with Thailand, was among the first to publicly oppose the coup,” he added.
The annual Cobra Gold military exercises began in 1982 and are the largest in the Asia-Pacific region, with seven participating countries and 11 observing countries, including China. This year’s exercises were conducted in February, before the military seized power.
The exercises have been conducted every year since they began without interruption. They were even held in 2007, one year after a military coup led by Army General Sonthi who dislodged former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The source said the NCPO had categorised foreign countries into three groups based on their stance towards its coup:
- Asean countries, which he said were 100 per cent supportive of the NCPO;
- countries that had not expressed a strong stance, with which the NCPO was currently creating an understanding;
- and countries that had openly opposed the coup.
So it seems that Obama’s ill-judged and completely hap-hazard foreign policy has reared its ugly head again.
I wonder what they will say in response to the junta’s request?