How to Prevent Employee Theft at Your Restaurant

Posted by Douglas Parker

Douglas Parker handles content management and communications for Manshoory Law Group, APC. He has always had a special interest in the sphere of Law and Human Rights. Dedicating a lot of his free time to understanding the small details and specifics of these fields, Douglas enjoys exploring and analyzing them in his articles. His main goal is to make this sometimes complicated information available and transparent for everyone.

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Running a successful and secure business can be hard enough, even with everyone pulling in the same direction. If you notice that employees have been starting to take advantage, or even stealing within your restaurant, then things might become even harder. It's a good idea to try and create a policy that prevents any form of theft. As an employer, there are things that you can do to ensure that theft is kept to a minimum.


How to Hire the Right Employees for Your Restaurant

It all starts with your recruitment policy. It is essential that you hire the right employees for your restaurant, and this means people that care about your business and can be relied upon.

During the process of interviewing and recruiting staff, it’s important that you give some very careful consideration. For example, you might want to focus on employees who are experienced in the industry. When you are going through resumes and interviewing potential new hires, make sure you ask them about any gaps in employment, and what their motivations are to work with you. Before you take the plunge and employ someone, employee background checks are essential and can ensure that you don’t end up with someone who has a record of stealing or making poor judgments.


Common Types of Restaurant Employee Theft

What are the common types of theft to keep a lookout for when you are running a restaurant? It might surprise you to learn it’s not all about taking cash.

  • Monetary theft in restaurants. This is when employees directly steal money from the till or from customers. For example, they might have schemes where they overcharge a customer and keep the difference. Some unscrupulous employees might steal money directly from the till, or out of a tip collection designed to be shared among the employees.
  • Food and beverage theft in restaurants. Food and beverage theft are probably even more common than cash in the world of restaurants. You probably already have a policy regarding food and drink. For example, you might let your employees have a food allowance for their lunch or a discounted meal. This is often easy to abuse when people are also managing the cash. It’s not uncommon for employees to steal food and drink while on shift, or even take bottles of spirits or expensive ingredients home with them if they have access.


How to Prevent Internal Theft in Restaurants

Knowing that internal theft in restaurants is a real problem, what are the options to deal with it? How can you ensure that your business doesn’t suffer as a result of people stealing?

  • Do your research on potential employees. If you hire staff with have a track record of making these bad decisions then you might find it harder to avoid issues. You’ll naturally want to get the best people working for you, and some simple background checks help with this.
  • Make sure you have clear policies. Employees should know if they’re entitled to any free food or drink and if it has limits, and what will happen to them if they steal.
  • Encourage a team ethos. If your employees all respect each other, they’re less likely to steal. If they respect their management, this is even better. A good team spirit also means that if there is one bad egg, people are more likely to point out what they are doing wrong.
  • Make sure people know that you will act. If someone breaks the rules, make sure they know that you will prosecute. You don’t have to rule by fear, just make sure you don’t let employees think they’ll always get away with stealing.
  • Pay a living wage. There will always be some people who resort to stealing, even if they are treated fairly, but if they are desperate for money it becomes more likely.

One good idea for restaurant owners is to ensure that employees are getting a fair wage and earning enough for their shifts, not just relying on tips to get by. This will take away some of the temptation people have to steal food or even cash.


Posted on Wed, May 19, 2021 @ 08:05 AM.
Updated on June 3, 2021 @ 4:00 PM PST.

Tags: Employee Management, Employee Theft

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