SpeedLine trainer and former pizzeria owner Wiley Borg weighed in this week on the thorny topic of employee theft and restaurant security. Back in his restaurant days, Wiley operated without a point of sale system. Knowing that, I was curious how he dealt with theft in his business, and how he kept his assets secure.
With a pen and paper store, where all of your cash resides in a till, Wiley said, “theft is as easy as pressing a button. You press a button, open a till, and borrow a bit of money every shift.”
In Wiley’s shop, about four times a week, the end-of-day earnings would be about $20 short. Odds were, there was a thief in the store. Looking back at his schedules, Wiley realized that there was only one person who had worked every night that the till came up $20 short. With only pen and paper records, he had to be patient and watch this employee for about a month to gather sufficient evidence against her. Over the 2- 3 months that the thefts went on, his losses were close to $1000.
Contrast that experience with this recent one. As lead trainer for SpeedLine, Wiley invited the IT and Marketing heads of a pizza chain to bring some store logs from a few locations to our office for training. In introducing the two execs to the audit controls in their SpeedLine software, Wiley investigated actual voids from their stores to show them how the tools worked. During this brief demonstration, he pointed out that four of the same employees were voiding items a lot more than normal. A closer look exonerated one of the three employees; the other three were, in fact, stealing about $9000 a month.
This discovery took about 30 minutes of auditing, compared to the month-long investigation Wiley had to conduct during his ownership days.
Restaurant operators spend a lot of time considering the cost of a new POS system. The better question may be, ‘What’s the cost of not having a POS?’ And if you have a POS system in place, the question is: ‘Are you using the one you have effectively?’
Learn your system’s audit controls and schedule regular audits. It’s worth the time.