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An employee stealing from the cash drawer

Important tips to prevent employee theft and save you money

By Nadine Hashem

With all your efforts to bring in income your companies, you also look for loss prevention ways once this income is in your pocket.


What is loss prevention? 


Loss prevention is everything a business does to reduce profit loss.



When we say loss prevention, it includes anything that saves your profits like reducing wastage or controlling your raw material costs or replacing an outdated software. 


Maybe you have less control on external loss than your internal one.


You might think you’re in charge of everything while you are being drained from the inside.


It’s employee theft




The US chamber of commerce estimates that employee theft costs businesses $20 to  $40 billion yearly. 


Employees are 15% more likely to steal from their employers while 75% of employee theft is unfortunately left unnoticed.




Note that stealing at your restaurant, especially if it’s left unnoticed, will cause more employees to steal. 


Have you ever heard the saying “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch?”


Well, it also applies to theft at your restaurant when employees see it’s undetected and therefore they can easily be left off the hook.


What are some common types of employee theft?


Checkout theft


Taking cash from the register 


The simplest way of stealing is the old fashioned way of taking money from the cash drawer. 


It’s even easier to steal money from the cash register if the sale isn’t recorded in the restaurant books.


An employee for instance gives customers their orders without ringing them in and he takes the money for himself instead. 


Improperly ringing up items


A customer might order a large pizza for $40 or an upsized beverage for $12 and the employee will record it as a small pizza for $25 or a small beverage for $8.


The difference between the prices of both items goes right in his pocket.


Voiding ordered items after closing


Even after the day is over, the risk of stealing is not over. 


Employees might void a closed order and put the difference in their pocket instead of including it in the daily sales. 


Food and inventory theft


Snacking on your supplies or taking them home 


Usually, restaurants allocate a meal per day for their employees. Anything eaten or consumed other than the allocated meal is stealing.


Sneaking out your restaurant supplies is also stealing. Employees might take raw material home like meat or vegetables. 


Giving free meals to family and friends 


Employees tend to offer their families and friends who eat at the restaurant free drinks or free desserts.


Employers grant 20 to 30% discounts for employees’ families but when employees give extra discount or offer free meals without permission, they are stealing from you.


Theft and loss prevention tips


Food and inventory theft


For food and inventory theft, invest in an inventory management software that controls your incoming inventory and the outgoing one. 


It manages your inventory and stored supplies without any manipulation.


Relying on a smart system decreases the human errors as well and the human intervention that plays the biggest role in stealing.


Cash theft


for the control of cash theft, you need to get a smart cash drawer.


What is a smart cash drawer?


A smart cash drawer is a safe regular cash register but with smart features. The smart cash drawer comes with a programmable hardware that detects any opening from outside the software.


This smart cash drawer makes it very hard for employees to steal from the cash.




Checkout theft


Most of the checkout theft might be prevented through a smart POS software that controls all your different activities. 


The smart POS helps you identify any difference between the sales and the receipts.


An integrated POS system monitors cash in and cash out as well as lets you in control of all activities through analysing sales reports to detect any alerting dropping sales. 


In addition,  a POS system controls what a certain employee can and cannot do by limiting their tasks to certain permissions when taking payments and punching in orders. 


Provide benefits and competitive wages


Some employees might commit theft because they take advantage of a certain situation while others do it because they need it.


Offering competitive wages and rewarding employees for their hard work and commitment enhances their loyalty and prevents them from thinking of stealing.


Revise your cash handling procedures


You don’t want too much cash in your drawer.


Place drop boxes beside the cash registers to prevent overflow of cash and as a result cash skimming.


Work on your cash management duties by separating them to involve different employees. This way, no individuals will be able to play around with the sales figures.


Always monitor your POS reports


While using a smart POS is one of the most important steps to loss prevention, reviewing reports generated from the POS is essential to stay in control of your sales figures and detect any manipulation in numbers.


Reports on smart cash drawer openings, discounts granted and inventory reports should be reviewed along with people responsible for each activity. 


Employee theft is not restricted to the mentioned above types. It might also be intellectual property theft like recipe theft or cooking processes.


Employees will get innovative idea to steal from you if they are not satisfied with what you offer them. 


Always be fair with your employees by offering them competitive wages and benefits but at the same time use technology to prevent employee theft through the integration of a smart POS.

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