Fraud, missing cash, disappearing draft beer, and voided Vodka sales are all signs you may have a few unprofessional employees.
One perplexing observation: You can’t assume your most professional employees are necessarily the most honest. True career professionals are honest. But there are also employees who seem professional but only have their own best interests in mind.
Any time you mix cash, booze, and food and leave the items unsupervised or unlocked you are going to have some degree of problems. If you add opposite sexes into the mix — with even the slightest attraction towards each other — it is the perfect formula for a party. It’s just human nature. Owners need to accept the responsibility to address the problem.
Here are ten tips to help curb employee theft and fraud.
1). Announce your position on theft early on. During the first employee interview make sure you let potential employees know that you have a section in your employee manual dealing with theft. They need to read it and initial it. Simply stated – you prosecute. Now, do you send someone to the crowbar hotel for eating a steak? Probably not. But if they just happen to take a whole rib-eye out in the nightly bag of garbage and return later to pick it out of the dumpster, bye-bye.
2). Credit card fraud in any amount is considered a felony, and you will immediately call the police. Today, nothing is worse than being intentionally double-charged for a meal on a credit card. It revokes the trust the customer had with the restaurant and the employees.
3). Inventory is the road to financial success. Lock your liquor room. Take complete product inventory weekly. Keep a perishable list and have someone inspect the product before it is tossed and listed.
4). Your staff is not part of your family. I know this hurts, but it is true. You cannot be “one big happy family” and expect to succeed. Become a team — winning teams work together. Families can be completely dysfunctional, and they are still a family. Families share everything in the refrigerator, the liquor cabinet, and the spare change.
Say it…”T E A M.”
5). Only the house buys drinks. If you ever hear a bartender say, “This one’s on me,” fire them. They are working for themselves. You bought the booze wholesale; you deserve credit for the complimentary cocktail.
6). The staff meal. Everyone needs to eat.. The staff meal consists of whatever the chef wants to make within your guidelines. Set a time the staff can come early or stay late. And everyone eats the same meal — no exceptions.
7). Do not under any circumstances allow your staff to drink at the bar after work. It seldom ends in one drink, and eventually it will cost you a lot of money, a server or two, and possibly your liquor license. Feeling gracious? Give them the money for a drink next door.
8). Have a secret shopping customer. Make sure it’s a regular and someone you can trust. Have them come in on occasion to eat, drink, and spy. Pick up the tab. It will be worth it.
9). Short of silverware? Is all that being thrown away? Inventory it – quarterly.
10). It’s The Art of War. Read it. If you find someone stealing, termination is a must. Bring up the incident, not the person, at your next pre-shift meeting. State your theft policy again. Drive the point of prosecution home.