employee theft

Is employee theft affecting your business?

In today’s economy, every dollar counts. With employee theft an ongoing issue, accounting for 75 per cent of restaurant inventory losses, operators need to be mindful of this potential hit to their bottom line. How can you plan ahead, spot theft, mitigate the damage, and avoid being targeted in the future?

Restaurant turnover is at an all-time high (currently over 50 per cent), which can make vetting new hires and getting to know your team more challenging. However, with a proactive approach, there are several steps you can take to limit your risk of experiencing employee theft:

  • Stay on top of your inventory. Noticing something is missing means that you knew exactly what you had in the first place, and this means you may have to implement a more sophisticated inventory management system to increase efficiency and accuracy.
  • Take a closer look at employee behaviour while they are on shift. This may mean investing in security cameras to monitor staff activities to ensure the staff is not eating meals without paying, taking food home, giving out free meals, or overpouring drinks (to receive higher tips). One study showed that electronic staff monitoring decreased internal theft by about 22 per cent, with increased success over time, so it might be worth the investment if you are concerned.
  • Analyze voided receipts. Voids and comped meals are often a part of the losses associated with good customer service, but if you notice an excess of voids, look into employee behaviour to confirm that they are legitimate cases.
  • Implement blind closeouts, requiring workers to completely cash out at the end of their shifts. This practice can help you to track missing money or suspicious actions if the totals don’t match.
  • Time theft can also cost your restaurant money when staff takes longer breaks, clock in early, or manage time poorly while on shift. These actions can cost you in payroll, as well as a loss of productivity. Check time cards and surveillance cameras, and monitor performance on the floor to limit this type of theft at your restaurant.
  • Create a restaurant loss management campaign, with reporting that tracks trends and flags abnormalities, alerting management to any anomalies.
  • Spend as much time as you can attracting, training, and engaging with your staff. The better you qualify them and the more you get to know and appreciate them, the less likely you will be open to any nasty surprises.

Employee theft is a reality for restaurants, so do everything you can to be prepared to identify threats to protect your business.