Steps for cutting down on employee theft of product and monetary theft.
- Use a Point of Sale System, many POS systems have inventory control management included into them, this makes running actual reports easier and much more accurate. It is much harder to scam a computer then an old fashioned paper record.
- Double check your inventories with redundancy, rotate employees doing inventories and do periodic double checks yourself. Errors repeatedly by one or two people means A. you have a theft problem or B. your staff is being lazy which is also a problem unto itself. ~ Doing inventory IS tedious work, it’s a good idea to reward your employees for being accurate and thorough, it creates a better incentive and it helps create employee loyalty.
- Secure high end items in locked cabinets or rooms (in the case of liquor, wine and beer) and locked reach-ins in the case of tenderloins and other high end products. Your nighttime dishwasher does not need access to your walk-in after service is over, for example, even if he runs things in for the line. It’s a good idea to lock up anything that can be locked when not in use.
- Discourage “shopping” in the walk-in. I don’t know how many times I have nabbed a waitperson on the way out of the walk-in at the end of the night because they were “out” of 1/2 + 1/2 at home. As part of your employee policy you need to draw a hard line with “take-homes”. If employees are desperate for something, make them pay you for it on the spot or have them sign a sheet for deduction from their paycheck. Discouraging it completely is the much better route to go though.
- With in-house accountants, have an outside accountant review the books quarterly or if you think there is something fishy going on, have it done monthly. The money spent usually more then makes up for itself in the long run.
- Have staff meetings monthly or if you have a hard time getting staff together do it quarterly and make it mandatory, explain how theft, even small theft, can impact the running and long term operation of a restaurant. ~ Most people that steal don’t even think of the ramifications of what they are doing. I know firsthand of a bartender that took so much product from the pub he was working at that it was a large reason that it folded. All he thought of was himself and how much free booze he could provide his friends with. When confronted after the fact, he admitted that it hadn’t even crossed his mind that it could make that much of an effect.
- Bring up the fact that theft affects everyone. If the restaurant goes under or does badly because of theft, employees can get wages cut, laid off or lose their jobs entirely.
- Treat your employees well. Listen to them. Be a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More). You need to trust your staff and your staff needs to trust you.
But, the caveat being, as an owner, products are your assets, protect them.