Restaurant Theft

Let’s face it, you will never be able to completely get rid of theft in your restaurant. All you can do is hope to limit it. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 30% of small business failure is directly due to theft. 80% of which is internal—in other words, your employees stealing from you.

Another fact to pay attention to: 20% of your employees will never steal from you, 20% will no matter what you do, and the remaining 60% will, depending on how easy you make it for them. So, the answer is quite clear: Don’t make it easy for them.

Employees you Trust

Most of the thieves are usually employees you trust. Managers are some of the biggest culprits. They understand the system and therefore know how to take advantage of it. I want you to be a trusting employer, but not a blind one.

Now, this theft takes on all sorts of forms. It can be the bartender giving out drinks and pocketing the cash. It can be a waiter giving out free food to his friends. It can be a cook putting product in the trunk of his car. It can even be a convoluted plot by your bookkeeper who maybe has invented a fictitious employee that receives a paycheck every two weeks, even though no one has ever heard of that person. Believe me, I haven’t even touched the surface of this topic.

Feed your Employees!

Some of the easier fixes include feeding your employees—if you don’t they will help themselves. Or perhaps buying them a beer or glass of wine after their shift—again if you don’t they will start to take it upon themselves to do so. Those are no brainers.

Systems and Controls

The other big thing you could do is put some systems and controls in place. Lock up those key items like steak, wine, liquor. Limit who has access to the keys. Have a system for tracking what goes into the kitchen or the bar, and what actually gets sold to the customer.

These are just a few ideas. I will explore others in future posts. But, the important thing to remember, it may take some work and money up front, however it will pay off in the long run. And that is what we want after all. We want to be around for a while, and hopefully make a little money along the way.


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