Just when you thought your restaurant is going to earn you riches, and you’ll be able to buy that luxury villa in the Bahamas or well, at least invest in stock market, you might be shocked to learn that some of your adorable employees are sneakily embezzling from your accounts, and fattening their pockets. Fraudulent practices in restaurants are all too common, and employees often fudge accounts, raise false invoices, reduce bill amounts, even help themselves to food and drinks when no one is watching. No restaurant owner or manager can be expected to monitor all the time to ensure that kitchen staff or cashiers aren’t engaging in fraud, big or small. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue of restaurant owners who might be victims of fraud. Let us take a look at 5 best practices that will help in detecting fraud in restaurants.
1. Automate the process of refunds
Customers ask for refunds for a lot of reasons. They may not like the food they were served, they probably were given the wrong order, or they simply may be in a bad mood and demand a refund. Restaurants do oblige refunds, and most refunds are processed without any questions, especially when customers can write bad reviews on social media, hurting restaurant brand. While refunds aren’t the biggest problems, the way they are given away, and the manner in which they are approved need to be regularized. Cashiers and employees often raise fake refund requests, and pocket the money themselves.
Automating the process of approving refunds will minimize fraud, and you will be able to track refunds without remaining in the dark. It is unfortunate that in this day and age, a restaurant does not automate the process of refunding to customers. When a POS detects that a refund request has been made, it often automates the process of crediting the money back to the customers’ accounts, so that there is always a record of the refund. It also helps to go cashless, and have a policy that all refunds will be made only to customer cards or to their bank accounts directly. This contributes to track where the money is going.
2. Scrutinize small transactions
Employees often engage in embezzling money in very tiny amounts so that it passes your scrutiny, and you will not realize that money has been diverted. You should always be wary of small transactions that are less than a dollar, or whichever currency you might be using in your country. Small transactions, often in decimals, can add up to quite a lot, if they are being made frequently. A good restaurant management tool helps in detecting these suspicious transactions and alerts you when things start to look amiss.
Undercharging is one of the most prevalent forms of restaurant frauds out there. Fake discounts, promotional prices, etc may be given out or employees may even void a transaction by using $0 option in the POS. Most of the times, employees also engage in inserting no sales transactions within a POS. Good restaurant management tools often combine video analytics and POS to tally small and “no sales” transactions and analyze if something is not fitting within a regular pattern. This sort of data helps you to track fraudulent activity over a long period of time, so that individual employees can be tracked, based on their shift and work timings.
3. Implement video surveillance
Most restaurants have CCTV cameras installed these days, but they just aren’t enough. CCTV cameras do not provide digital information unless one installs cameras that provide such information. Moreover, CCTV cameras alone cannot provide the kind of data that helps in tracking and scrutinizing employee behavior and specific transactions. All these shortcomings of CCTV cameras need to be taken into account while speaking of restaurant fraud.
Automated video surveillance tools take CCTV cameras to the next level. They not only record all movements and activities within a restaurant but also convert this information to something that can be analyzed by software tools. Video surveillance helps in averting food and beverage theft, giving away cocktails for free to get more tips, employee behavior during no-sales transactions, etc. The possibilities are endless. No matter what your employees claim, you can always tally their claim with their behavior recorded on the surveillance tools.
4. Track kitchen inventory
If you thought thefts do not take place in the kitchen, and that raw materials aren’t being stolen, you are probably very wrong. Having access to mouth-watering eatables, and groceries that can be resold is a temptation that few employees can resist. If you also serve alcohol, you can expect that quite a few bottles of chardonnay or scotch do go missing once in a while. The only way to ensure that such thefts of raw items are tracked is by investing in a good inventory management tool, which tracks all raw materials so that nothing goes amiss. Most restaurant management software programs come with the ability to monitor and manage kitchen inventory.
5. Invest in dedicated restaurant management software
With so many varied fraudulent practices that take place in restaurants, it becomes quite a task for owners to ensure that they always keep an eagle’s eye over employee behavior and suspicious transactions. After all, running a restaurant isn’t only about kitchen inventory or ensuring that bills are raised and paid for correctly. Restaurant owners have to make sure that adequate marketing and sales activities take place, which advertising and branding campaigns go according to the plan, and a whole lot of other duties which make tracking fraudulent practices an additional burden.
Investing in a dedicated restaurant management software can take this burden off owners’ shoulders. Restaurant management software tools not only come with the ability to track fraudulent practices, but will also help you to manage your inventory better, nurture your leads and regular customers, and help you with your accounts and marketing.
Use technology to detect fraud in your restaurant
By now, it must be clear to you that even the most ethical person will be tempted to help oneself to a scoop of ice cream or some other treat when no one’s looking. It is also possible that more malignant frauds take place right under your nose, and you will not even come to know. The only way to ensure that these fraudulent practices do not take place is to invest in a restaurant management software such as the one we offer. Not only will you be able to avert fraud, but you will be able to focus on running your restaurant without additional worries and suspicions that may eventually hurt your profits, and create bad air between you and your employees.