This can occur with any employee, management, regular staff, or inhouse bookkeepers who are notorious at getting away with “cooking” the books. When dealing with consumable products like you do in the restaurant industry, it’s fairly easy to cook the books if you know what you are doing.
Wait staff can take money a variety of ways, including shorting the change given to a customer, because many people don’t count their change, they just pocket it. They also can have two sets of checks.
An example is: one check is used for ordering and the order is given to the kitchen or bar; the other check is given to the cashier or manager. A waiter may take an order for three Seagram’s on the rocks at $6.00 a drink; the bar produces three drinks and the table gets served and ultimately billed for the three drinks. The cashier and manager end up with a check that says the table ordered two drinks and the extra $6.00 gets pocketed.
The same thing can happen with appetizers or desserts because unlike entrees not everyone at a table will order one. The two ways to cut down on this are to have a POS (Point of Sale) run operation where all orders go through the computer or if you are a paper only establishment, have a paper trail, where all orders to the kitchen or bar get saved instead of being thrown away at the end of the night; match those slips up to the checks at the end of the night or on a weekly basis.