The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of employees will steal at one point or another. In the food industry, the seemingly extra ingredients lying around and their low individual value make “borrowing” them seem trivial. Yet statistics point out that a typical organization loses about 5% of its total revenue to such instances. The problem extends beyond the staff. Jamie Oliver claims that 30,000 napkins are stolen from his restaurants each month, probably by diners looking for a restaurant souvenir. Such restaurant items are relatively inexpensive when considering just a single one, but the numbers add up once a large amount, such as 30,000 are being stolen. Restaurant theft is a touchy subject, since most do not associate their actions with theft and would be insulted to be accused of such a crime. On the other hand, restaurant theft prevention is a subject that must be addressed to smoothly run a business.
Restaurant Theft Prevention
Chances are, a business can not completely obliterate theft. But before trying to find a contraption to lock a fridge, there are various initiatives that can help lower the losses. The first step is to have strict restaurant policies for employees. During employee training, the policies should be stressed. Staff should be warned of the consequences of actions that go against restaurant policies. Clarify a no “borrowing” policy and the repercussions that will result from internal theft: immediate termination of employment and a deduction of the value of good stolen from the pay check. Installing cameras in strategic locations, such as the pantry and dining area, is a great way to encourage honesty and discourage stealing. Though it is difficult to stop a customer from taking a napkin, or other small restaurant item, the customer can be profiled and the business can consider banning him/her from returning. Keep careful tabs on spending, profits, and items, so that numbers that do not match up can be seen and addressed. Have a strong cash drawer that locks, or a safe, and only allow access to the business owner and manager.
What to Expect
No matter how careful a business is, there will probably still be some degree of internal theft of restaurant items. Expect these setbacks, and account for them when ordering restaurant items. Having extra cutlery, dishware, and napkins will eliminate the possibility of running out, which will hurt the business even more in the long run, since they will not be able to serve customers, or customers will be less likely satisfied. By taking extra precautions to prevent people from being able to steal with ease, businesses are sure to cut down on their losses. By expecting losses, despite their efforts, businesses will be prepare to continue running through the drawbacks.