Last week we talked about external restaurant fraud, different ways that it can occur and how to handle it when it does. This week we look at what makes up around 75% of restaurant losses according to the National Restaurant Association, which is internal restaurant fraud. High turnover, large staff with multiple shifts coming and going, and many people having access to registers, makes it difficult to catch, and even more difficult to track back to the offender. We will cover a few strategic tips your restaurant can implement to better manage theft within the company.
Track and Monitor
Be sure you are utilizing your POS system and back-office software in order to best track all transactions and data that can alert you when numbers are not adding up. This gives you evidence that something is not right and a place to start investigating. You can look back and see who was working when the suspicious activity occurred and see if there are any recurring incidents during any of their other shifts. Tracking can help you catch time theft (employees who are repeatedly clocking in early and/or clocking out late) as well as catch those who are stealing by undercharging when ringing up an item (this occurs when the customer orders a menu item that costs 9.99 but server rings it up as a cheaper menu item and then pockets the rest of the money for the amount of the item they actually ordered).
Set up Surveillance
Setting up surveillance cameras is a great way to deter external and internal fraud. Having cameras near the cash register can help prevent theft from the register and is a great way to help keep people honest.
New Employee Training
A great way to help deter people from committing fraud at your restaurant is to have a policy in place from the beginning. Be sure when new hires go through training, they are given detailed information about the consequences of committing fraud and how to go about reporting fraud they are aware of. The steps for reporting should be simple, and confidential so all employees feel safe reporting an incident. This will not only help increase your chances of catching the person, but also help deter people from committing fraud in the first place.
Remember, small amounts of money being taken can add up to a major loss over time! Be diligent in training employees and tracking and monitoring your numbers to help catch any theft early on.