used to key in food orders. It’s also a good idea to ensure
the entire seating area is covered by CCTV, which allows
management to review video to confirm any dine-and-
dash claims, as well as the amount of food delivered to a
table as compared to the actual order.”
Rasmussen notes employees might figure out how to
get around video surveillance, but it’s still a helpful step.
“Video is more for reviewing later, but it’s a deterrent
when people understand you’re watching them,” he says.
2 Enact a perpetual inventory system. Rasmus- sen recommends using a POS system to minimize
cash theft and errors. Also have employees participate
in inventory counts so they know you’re aware of what’s
in-house, and change up your method of counting every
now and then to keep them guessing. Rasmussen even
recommends tying bonuses to inventory; when a manager’s pay is directly affected by loss, he’s more likely to
be vigilant (especially important for absentee owners).
Bradley agrees that a perpetual inventory management
system can help prevent employees from stealing food.
“This allows restaurants to track inventory by closely
monitoring high-cost items,” she says. “These inventory
management systems require only a few hours per week to
maintain, but the investment is well worth the reduction
For example, a 14-unit chain Rasmussen works with
takes an inventory every night of top ingredients, and
the owners monitor what was bought and sold to create
variance reports. If the variance is over a certain threshold,
managers are sent to investigate the problem—with the
goal of finding out what kind of waste is happening and
if there is any pattern.
3 Restrict employee access to the POS system. One common way to prevent employee theft is to
limit authorization levels in the POS system, Bradley
notes. For example, servers should not be permitted to
void entire tickets; limit this action to managers. “An even
better prevention method is to require two passwords—
manager and server—to complete a void, which prevents
managers from stealing cash as well,” Bradley suggests.
“It’s a good practice to require each employee to have his
own sign-in password or swipe card that tracks all of his
activity when operating a register, and to require two people
to be present when counting the day’s register sales.”
—AMBER BRADLEY, RESTAURANT LOSS PREVENTION
& SECURITY ASSOCIATION