Competition remains fierce in the quick-service restaurant industry. Not only that, but today’s economy only makes it more difficult to make a business successful.
However, there is another real threat to the bottom line: internal employee theft.
Revenue lost to employee theft also can affect employee raises, bonuses, 401(k) matches, and benefits, and it might spur good employees to go elsewhere for these benefits.
Free food items passed along to friends and family, cash pocketed at the drive-thru window, items tossed out with the trash—ask any quick-serve operator and almost every one will have a tale of how different employees managed to steal. As a result, it takes due diligence to detect it.
Brandon Ansel, who operates Roly Poly Rolled Sandwiches in Jackson, Michigan, noticed something wrong on his bank statements. “We had an employee who was ‘floating cash’—sending us reports that he had deposited the day’s sales, but he was actually taking the money and paying it back later with money from future sales,” Ansel says. “A careful analysis of our banking records brought this scam to light.”
Restaurant owners and operators need to take a proactive stance against employee theft of any kind.
FIRST and foremost, make sure every employee knows how the company defines employee theft, and the potential repercussions if someone is caught stealing.
SECOND, technology also provides ways to monitor your business and employees to prevent theft. One of the most common ways to combat employee theft is with the use of video surveillance systems.
“Remind employees that a DVR is in use by regularly bringing up examples of activity that you saw during the employees’ shift,” says Brandon M. Ring, national sales manager for Image Vault in New Albany, Indiana. “This can be positive reinforcement as well as pointing out procedural deficiencies.”
THIRD take proactive measures to protect yourself again any theft by using available technology. Such as Improving Restaurants, a Dallas, TX based software solution provider's software. AlertService scans all transactions on your POS and detects any suspicious activity. It also emails the ticket details, together with the server name, date and time, to the proper personnel for further review.
When the time comes to confront an employee, make sure that you have adequate proof. This might be transaction records from your point-of-sale system, video surveillance, or banking receipts and statements. If you believe that someone has money, food, or other items stolen from the business in his or her possession, ask the employee for permission to search his or her locker.
“You have to provide notice of what you are planning to do or are doing,” says Rod Sorensen, a partner with Payne & Fears LLP in San Francisco, California. If the employee gives consent, the search is valid. Sorensen also recommends reserving the right to inspect lockers and break room areas in the employee manual, which employees should sign on receipt.
For more information about AlertService or Video Surveillance, please contact Improving Restaurants at 214-272-2277