Preventing Restaurant Theft

Running a restaurant isn’t easy. But, the last thing you should have to worry about is restaurant theft from your employees.

Sadly, this happens far more often than you might believe. It’s not until you start noticing large discrepancies in profits that you realize something’s wrong. The good news is if you recognize the signs early, you can prevent it.

Types Of Restaurant Theft

Up to 85% of all restaurant theft is committed by employees. So, the first step in preventing restaurant theft is recognizing it. The two main types of theft involve either cash or food and beverages. These can include things, such as:

· Skimming off the register

· Price adjustments or voids after a register closeout

· Giving away free or discounted food/beverages without permission

· Taking home food and drinks

· Short ringing

Of course, in addition to employee theft, you also have to keep an eye out for potential dine and dash customers and credit card fraud. These are often harder to spot, but some of the restaurant theft tips for preventing employee theft help prevent customer theft too.

Install Security Cameras

This is critical for discovering and preventing restaurant theft. Inform all employees that cameras are installed and active. Also, place signs in your dining room that security cameras are being actively monitored. This helps deter many types of restaurant theft.

When installing the cameras, ensure they’re pointed at all registers, bars, entrances/exits and kitchens. You should also have one that shows most of the main dining area too.

Create A Strict Comp Policy

Giving away free food and drinks can actually boost business, but when employees decide that all their friends should drink for free, it hurts your restaurant’s bottom line. Implement a clear and strict comp policy. Each staff member has a set dollar or item amount they’re allowed to use or give away each week or month.

Monitor this by keeping a check on inventory versus your income coming in. If there are major discrepancies, then it’s time to watch your staff closely.

Incorporate Accountability Processes

All of your restaurant staff sees what others do. Prevent restaurant theft by encouraging everyone to report any unethical practices. They can report directly to a manager, HR or via an anonymous ethics hotline. The latter works well if management is involved in the unethical behavior or if a staff member just doesn’t want their name involved. This gives you more people helping to watch out for your restaurant’s well being.

Track Sales Closely

Install a system that keeps track of all sales, price adjustments, voids and more. This helps you stay on top of anything suspicious, such as numerous voids after closeout. It’s also a good idea to implement blind closeouts. The system doesn’t display what amount should be there. So, if employees are making adjustments or short ringing, they’d have to keep the total in their head, which isn’t easy to do. When the cash in the drawer isn’t anywhere close to what it should be, you know you have a problem.

Clear policies, an ethics hotline and careful monitoring all help to keep your restaurant in the black and creates a more ethical environment.