Just imagine your restaurant business is soaring and you thought the sales couldn’t get any better and then boom! Petty cash and minor inventory start to go missing and certain expenses are being unaccounted for you, but still, you don’t think much of it because your sales are skyrocketing. Then before you know it, the auditing shows that the numbers haven’t been adding up for months and you start to wonder what could’ve happened and who could’ve done this?
Well, my friend, it looks like you’ve been a victim of possible employee theft and unfortunately, it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, statistics show that 75% of employees have stolen from their employer at least once.
Restaurants are vulnerable to employee thefts and with so many transactions being made in a day, it might be difficult to identify when petty amounts of money or products might go missing or are unaccounted for and as a restaurant proprietor, you may not have the time to audit every one of those transactions and it could take months for you to gather enough evidence to be able to approach the employee in question. In this article, we have presented some of the more common ways in which employees commit theft and how a well-oiled loss prevention system can help identify and detect such discrepancies quicker and prevent employee thefts from reoccurring.
What causes employee theft?
The first step to tackling employee theft is to understand why your employees are stealing from you in the first place. By identifying the signs and symptoms, you can take the necessary steps to ensure such incidents don’t happen again. Let's learn more about why some employees commit theft in restaurants.
- No one to keep an eye on them - Employees might take to stealing if they feel like no one is watching them and the people who do commit internal theft are often opportunistic and tend to look out for the right moment
- Lack of remuneration – When employees don’t get the credit due for their hard work or are not paid well, they might get tempted enough to steal if the opportunity arises
- Inadequate management – If the restaurant proprietor or management remains uninvolved in the business and is negligent in auditing the systems and processes then it makes the store vulnerable to employee theft
What are the different types of employee thefts?
It is generally believed that restaurants have two categories of employee thefts namely, monetary and inventory-related thefts.
Listed below are some of the examples of monetary thefts in restaurants: -
- Producing false discount records
- The bill being reprinted after editing items
- Repurposing the same bill
How do inventory thefts occur in restaurants?
- Handing out food and liquor concessions to customers to attract higher tips
- Stealing food and liquor items from the inventory
- Giving away free food items to friends and family
How to determine if employee thefts are occurring at your restaurant?
Needless to say, employee thefts can have adverse consequences on the profitability of a restaurant business, resulting in significant losses. While running a restaurant hardly leaves a person with little time to look out for misappropriations, it is crucial that the proprietor closely observes the management of cash and inventory levels. Read on to know more about the signs that point towards employee theft:
1. Discrepancies in your finances: By carefully observing cash records and profit margins, you will know if your profits are increasing or decreasing and by keeping track of your food costs, you will know if there has been a change in the inventory. Remember, an increase in food costs can indicate possible internal theft. If there are high costs of food, low-profit margins and a huge difference between total bills and cash records then such discrepancies can be signs of employee theft.
2. Merchandise gone missing: If your restaurant constantly has shortages of food products and you have to keep repurchasing them or you hear a customer complaining about the unavailability of certain food items then it's worth considering that someone from your staff is stealing those items.
What are the best practices for loss prevention?
To alleviate the chances of employee theft in your restaurant, always maintain a well-rounded check on all the restaurant operations. Read further to know what loss prevention methods are best for you.
1. Keeping a close watch on employee access
A restaurant proprietor should always be privy about which staff member has access to keys or pass codes. Ensure that only the most trustworthy and reliable employees have access to store/locker/cash register keys and to sensitive information such as pass codes. It's also worth noting that no single employee should be held responsible for more than one security measure. For example, some of the best security practices are recording as well as processing cash transactions as separate duties.
2. Ensure that your restaurant does not have blind spots
A blind spot is known as an area of the restaurant that the CCTV cameras don’t cover so if you're not careful enough and if an employee identifies those blind spots, then they can use it to their advantage by pocketing money or products. Always ensure that your CCTV cameras are strategically placed at an angle wherein no areas of the restaurant are left out.
How can Wobot.ai help you secure your business?
Pilferage is a common concern in the restaurant industry which means that the employees should not open the cash till without the presence of the customer. So once the customer has handed over the money to the cash attendant, they should immediately file that money in the cash till and generate the necessary change to give it back to the customer. If the customer is not around and the cash till happens to be open then it can point to a case of possible employee theft. On the other hand, if a bill is generated without a customer being present in the restaurant, then this shows negligence on the part of the store employees. When the bill is printed in front of the customer, the chances of discrepancies are minimized.
By using Wobot’s AI-enabled tools such as the POS system, you will receive real-time feeds that can show the frequency of anomalies in restaurants and determine what items have been stolen. With an automated POS system installed, most of your threat prevention is already covered because such a system will help you to keep track of the total sales. With Wobot.ai, you can add accountability to your work environment, which will result in fraudulent POS transactions reduced by more than 25% translating it into a Net increase in Revenue of approximately 1.9%.
How great would it be if restaurant owners could receive instant notifications about a possible theft happening at their restaurant in their absence? Well, with smart software, that’s possible! Look no further than Wobots’ video intelligence and AI driven solutions because their digital tools can help transform your restaurant business. With AI algorithms and its associated hardware, you can now have a series of investigative tasks that help to capture events in real-time. Machine learning will allow for suspicious activity to be detected easily and can even prevent such unlawful incidences from reoccurring in the future.