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Preventing Employee Theft from Your Restaurant

Many businesses in the food service industry become victims of employee theft. Employee theft consists of many different things. It may be money taken during a shift, food or a drink given to a friend without payment, or food taken by the employee during a shift. Employees often do this because it is easy to do and they don't suffer any consequences. If you take the time to set up a system that monitors the amount of food and beverages you have in inventory versus the amount being sold, as well as other precautions against theft, this will alert employees that you are monitoring what is going on andPreventing Employee Theft from Your Restaurant will help prevent much of the theft that may occur.

Sales Tracking System

It is not possible for those who run a restaurant to oversee everything at all times. This means that there needs to be a proper tracking system in place for sales. You want to know how much of each food item, beverage and alcohol is being sold each shift, each day. This will give you a better idea of what customers are purchasing at your restaurant and what is disappearing from possible theft.

Inventory Tracking System

Tracking does not only involve the items going out. In order to truly prevent theft, you must also have adequate tracking of what is in inventory. You should keep current, up-to-date logs of every item that is stored in the cooler, freezer and dry storage area. This includes food, drinks and the different forms of alcohol you keep in stock. This will allow you to compare what you have on hand with what was sold to determine if there is anything missing. By doing this you will have the best chances of learning if there is theft from your inventory. You should also keep all alcohol locked and only allow managers and the bartender access to the supply. Many employees may be quick to take a small amount of liquor if given the opportunity.

Keep Your Eye on the Cash

When it comes to the cash, it is imperative that you keep your eye on it. If employees have the ability to take even the smallest amounts of money, it could quickly add up and drastically affect your bottom line. One way to ensure that this does not happen is to limit access to the safe. Never allow employees to open the safe on their own. Only trusted employees, such as managers, should have the keys along with the responsibility. The same is true for cash drawers. If too many people have access to the cash drawers, it will be easier for an employee to pocket some money without being caught. Limit access to no more than 2 or 3 trusted employees, depending on the size of your operation. This will help decrease the chances of someone taking cash when you are not looking. Alternatively, each employee can have a login to the cash register, and the system can record how much cash it started off with, keeping track of all transactions.

Employee Benefits

One way to prevent theft is to offer your employees benefits to working at your restaurant. These can either include one free meal per shift, or coupons to eat at the restaurant or other perks to show that you care. If employees feel that they are working for a caring employer, they are less likely to steal.

Employee Consequences

Another way to prevent theft from your employees is to enforce all policies you have set up. Once you have your tracking system in place, it is vital that you also develop serious consequences for anyone caught stealing. This could be anything from losing their job to legal action being taken against them depending upon the nature of the theft. If employees understand that there is zero tolerance for theft, they will be less likely to give it a try.

Found this article helpful? Read more relevant articles and how-to's in the food service industry.