Your restaurant staff might be stealing from under your nose- but do you sense it? It is a critical task for owners to deal with incidents of employee theft in the restaurant which is very much common malpractice in nearly every establishment.
Did you know? Nearly 75% of employees confessed to having stolen from their employers, at least once in their tenure. (Source)
Another source mentions that employee theft of the restaurant industry alone makes for $3 billion to $6 billion annually, on average.
Referring here to the restaurants does not mean the theft only circumnavigates around stealing from inventories. The sad truth is, restaurant employee theft includes forgery of the cash box, tampering of data and even making hidden or personal favours from the restaurant resources. Employee theft prevention can only be successfully done when you come across employee theft cases in details.
So, how to prevent employee theft in the restaurant?
1. Keep tracking your inventory and sales regularly
Restaurant owners who manage multiple outlets (or even one) may not be at the liberty to be omnipresent all the time to check every expenditure of resources. In this case, a versatile restaurant management system can be installed that will act as the digital tracking assistant for the owner. Integrating the POS software with every restaurant activities will give you a clear picture of the transactions that take place. This way, the offering of uninformed freebies to the guests will get eliminated. When order will be placed, it will be sent to the bar & kitchen details of which can be changed only by the authorized user.
2. Keep alcohol secured
Who does not love alcohol, especially when it can be had for free? Restaurant and bar owners experiencing alcohol vanish like magic is perhaps the most common employee theft. So, how do you keep them safe? By only giving access to the authorized handler like a bartender or the manager. For alcohol as well, you can keep track of every ‘ml’ sold with the POS system. In case, there’s a mismatch; you will be sure of employee theft in the workplace.
3. Update your PCI for handling all debit and credit card details
The payment card industry or PCI comes with a set of employee theft prevention policy for the restaurants to follow. Upgrading the PCI system integrated with the POS unit through which the transactions take place will keep the customer details safe and fool-proof. No restaurant owners will be at the risk of getting accused by their patrons with an upgraded PCI when the card information is stolen.
4. Install security cameras all over the restaurant
A majority of restaurateurs dealing with employee theft have unanimously agreed on the incident where they caught an employee stealing on camera. Where theft is included, it is easy to correct the guilty at the time he or she is committing the crime and hence close circuit footages play a vital role in marking and identifying the culprit.
5. Ask for feedback from your guests
In case of any customer grievance with the presentation of food, always check with the inventory of the kitchen. Chances will be high that the mayonnaise absent in the sandwich might have been already deducted from the kitchen inventory. Take count of these complaints seriously because the repeated ‘small mistakes’ can pile up to something big in the future.
6. Make accessing cash limited to the authorities
The cash drawer of your restaurant must be made accessible to only the designated authorities like the manager & cashier. This will reduce the chances of a monetary discrepancy occurring within the restaurant’s cash assets. The combination of the safe must be known to none other than the manager or the accountant. The less cash is touched, the more they are susceptible to be tampered with.
7. Do an employee pattern check frequently
A sudden devotion towards work, objections to the sudden change of handling inventory and cash, moonlighting with the restaurant materials, sudden elevation in lifestyle, working beyond the determined hours- all these should raise a concern with the restaurant owners. If these patterns are analyzed wisely, it will not be tough for proving employee theft in the restaurant.
8. Audits are not only for the financial year
An employee stealing money from an employer or tampering with restaurant resources is not new. As a conscious restaurateur, you should not wait for the fiscal year audits to determine who is detrimental to your business. Instead, start conducting informal audits by outsourcing the task to outside firms.
9. Keep changing passwords
Keep the passwords changing frequently for your software solution of the restaurant so that you can maintain track of who is using it when by asking for the credentials from you.
10. A background check is always a must
While recruiting, try and conduct a background check for the appearing candidate(s) from their past employer. Determine whether they had left their previous jobs under any bitter circumstances. This way, you will be able to know the credibility of the applicant for a job at your venture.
Writing it off…
The regulations as mentioned above for eliminating theft from your restaurant can only be backed by robust restaurant management software coupled with a stern protocol of employee theft consequences. There is indeed nothing alternative to maintaining a friendly relationship with them but not beyond the level where they start to take advantage of their position.