Deterring Employee Theft

Employee TheftIf you feel that you are losing money or inventory and cannot figure out why, theft could be the issue.  According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 75% of all employees will steal from their employer at least once.  Even more concerning to our specific industry is that The National Restaurant Association estimates that employee theft accounts for about 75% of a restaurant’s inventory losses – between 5-7% of gross revenue per year.  This means that a restaurant making $2 million per year may be losing $100,000 to $140,000 to their employees’ pockets.

Below a few simple best practices that you can use to monitor your business and deter theft at the point of sale (POS) system.

Lock down your POS.

Don’t allow employees to transfer checks, or to apply comps, promos, or voids without manager assistance. Culpability for items rung in decreases the likelihood of comp, void, and promo abuse.

Provide manager POS cards.

Rather than allowing managers to login to the POS using a pin number, require an identification card for login so that employees can’t simply memorize the manager number and avoid asking for assistance. Furthermore, ensure that all manager cards are assigned and utilized correctly.

Define time frames.

Institute a policy of applying comps, promos and voids to the check before the guests close out, rather than splitting the items off to comp later. Don’t allow employees to save all of their comps, voids and promos until the end of the night, when there is no longer a way for them to prove that Table 31 sent back their chicken salad.

Create individual accountability.

Hold each employee responsible for their POS activity by having individual logins, rather than generic logins such as “BAR,” “TOGO,” or “CASHIER.”

No ticket, no service.

Have a floor manager spot-check tables and the bar throughout the shift, to ensure that all self-service items are rung in before going out to tables. Similarly, never allow items to leave the bar or kitchen without the item being rung in through the POS.

Lastly, the best thing you can do to deter employee theft is to have a trustworthy manager on the floor, monitoring the day-to-day activities. The more the manager is on the floor and involved in service and inventory, the less likely you are to experience theft.