Theft in the Restaurant and Bar Industry
The numbers are out! Employee theft is rampant in the restaurant and bar industry! Even though statistics show theft is a huge drag on bar and restaurant profits, people still think, “Well, not me and my staff. I hire good people. I trust my staff. We have better morals in this part of the country.” Unfortunately this line of thinking is not only incorrect, at times, but can be very costly.
I have worked with restaurant owners all over the country, including small towns and big cities, and the truth is some of the worst theft, I have seen, has been in small town establishments because they do not expect it. These businesses provide too much trust and often make it hard for the employee to do the right thing, which can lead to theft that is more about being too lazy than wanting to steal from the company.
What Type of Thief is Your Employee?
In the article “Steal This Napkin. Feel No Guilt. Come Again.” by Bruce Buschel with the New York Times, Buschel sheds light on how diverse the term “theft” can be. Buschel refers to a customer that is pocketing every Sweet and Low packet in the restaurant and thinks nothing of it. He says that theft does not have to be taking all the cash out of the till and going home with it. Employees often see food wasted constantly as part of operating a restaurant. These employees may think, “If a steak is not cooked right and thrown out, then what’s wrong with me just taking it home or letting a friend have it?”
An ex-police officer put it to me this way once, “5 percent of people will never steal from you, no matter what. If the world was full of those people, we wouldn’t need security at our store. Another 5 percent will steal from you no matter what you do and all you can do is fire those people when you catch them because nothing out there will stop them on their relentless path to stealing from you. The other 90 percent of the population will steal in various ways if it is easy for them to do the wrong thing and/or hard for them to do the right thing.”
Here’s an example. Your staff is supposed to ring up .25 cents for extra cheese, .50 cents for juice in a drink, and .75 cents for bacon. However, the employee has to remember to do this and memorize what the prices are for each item. The employee also has to know that if other staff members don’t charge your regular customers for these additions, and they accidentally do, the regular customer will get mad and, possibly, not leave a good tip. To the employee, .25 cents is not a big enough amount that they would consider it stealing. Unfortunately, as most restaurant owners can tell you, .25 cents adds up and even the most innocent error can cost the business hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per month.
Another example is when you get your tab at the bar and you realize that only a portion of your drinks have been applied to the bill. Whether the bartender intentionally didn’t put the drinks on the tab or simply got too busy with other customers and forgot, you are so happy about the cheap bill that you leave a big tip. Unfortunately, the bar is still out that money and the liquor.
A final example is something many people can relate to. You are late only 5 minutes to work but don’t want to get the repercussions of being late so you change your clock in time to say you came in on time. If an employee comes in 5 minutes late but clocks in the time their shift should have started, that is theft. They are stealing money from the business. Do they think they are stealing? No, but the fact of the matter is, they are and the business pays for it in the end.
There are many more examples that I could give you. Most are things your employees never consider as “stealing” or that they don’t think could affect your business’ bottom line. In the end, however, almost everyone does steal to some extent and it’s the business’ job to make it as hard as possible to do the wrong thing and as easy as possible to do the right thing. Minimizing your staff member’s opportunity to steal keeps them trustworthy and your business profitable. No matter if you are in New York City or small town North Dakota, people are people and when it comes to your money you need to keep a close eye on it.
How Can a Point-of-Sale Solution Help with Theft?
So how can you make it easier for employees to do the right thing? The right Point-of-Sale solution can do wonders for your business. Point-of-Sale systems can calculate prices and taxes for you. That means if the employee enters in extra cheese, they don’t have to know how much it is, let alone worry about whether another employee is charging for it or not. They simply let the system do the work. The kitchen staff knows to only make food that is sent through the printer, helping you put your mind at ease knowing that all food that is made is paid for, and paid for properly.
How about if you want to offer a discount? With a POS solution, you can be sure that they are configured properly. This means that if your happy hour ends at 8pm, then your Point-of-Sale system will automatically end the discount at 8pm. This makes the waitress’ job easier and makes sure employees are not giving away discounts when they shouldn’t be.
Let’s say a coupon can only be used on Tuesdays. Your Point-of-Sale system can make sure that the specific coupon is only applied on Tuesdays.
What about those chronically, 5 minute late employees? If an employee clocks in 5 minutes late, the POS system makes sure they are clocked in when they actually started working.
Business owners that put a Point-of-Sale system in a bar or restaurant that did not originally have one before see about a 3 percent, or more, increase in their gross sales. This means hundreds, or possibly, thousands of dollars are collected, one .25 cent extra cheese at a time. Business owners cannot be everywhere and see everything all the time, but a Point-of-Sale system never sleeps, never takes a day off, and will be your most honest employee.
Contact BNG Point-of-Sale Today for your POS Solution!
If you are looking to get a Point-of-Sale solution to help with theft in your business or you simply want to prevent it from happening in a new business, Contact BNG Point-of-Sale Today and let us find the solution that best fits your business and your staff!
If you are more of a DIY’er, you can also check out our POS Doctor. After completing a series of questions you will be directed to a page with the best options for your business and staff. We can help you implement this solution and get your business as profitable as possible!