As much as we don’t like to discuss money, it really is the sustenance that keeps restaurants’ doors open. So if we allow our team to get a bit footloose and fancy free on the cash handling side of things, it can open us up to all kinds of troubles.
Beyond just simple cash handling mistakes though, intentional theft can become a major issue that deeply impacts the vitality of your restaurant. By tightening up these three cash handling procedures, you can minimize losses and protect your bottom line.
1. Eliminate Drawer Sharing.
In an ideal setup, you shouldn’t have employees sharing drawers. Instead, each drawer is assigned to only one employee or cashier. It is counted at the beginning of the shift, verified by the manager or shift lead, and then the cashier maintains sole responsibility for the drawer contents for the entire shift. The drawer is then counted down and verified once again at the end of the shift.
Why this works: For employees who may be tempted to lift cash from the drawer, this single accountability measure can prevent any theft attempts since employees know they will have to answer for the inaccuracies and/or face potential reprimands.
Did you know? For small businesses, 40 percent of thefts are cash-related, with the average amount stolen coming in at a whopping $20,000.
2. Closely Track Negative Cash Flow Transactions.
During the course of a shift or day, it’s not completely uncommon for items to be voided, discounts applied, or meals comped at the register. Mistakes can occur with an order and it makes perfect sense for managers to step in and accommodate guests who have been inconvenienced during their visit. The problem arises when these transactions happen all too frequently. Consider making it standard practice for managers to note the reasons for the void, discount, or comped items in the point of sale (POS) system.
Why this works: Thanks to technologically-advanced POS systems, owner-operators can easily track these types of transactions and watch for trends or red flags. By making it mandatory for the manager approving the discount to also document the reason, you can identify areas in which additional staff training may be helpful (i.e. orders prepared inaccurately, lack of customer service) as well as quickly pinpoint problematic write-offs.
Did you know? One study found that using a monitoring software in conjunction with a POS system may reduce employee theft by as much as 22 percent and increase sales by nearly $3,000 on average per location per week.
3. Double Up Your Documentation.
Having two people sign off on key tasks can offer another layer of protection against theft. Just like when both the cashier and manager initial off on the drawer counts, maintaining this same structure for other responsibilities can be wise too. From verifying food and alcohol inventories to checking nightly deposit amounts, having at least two people confirm and sign documentation can be a worthwhile and fiscally healthy system for restaurateurs to practice.
Why this works: Quite simply, there can be safety in numbers. While you may run into instances where two employees conspire against the restaurant, odds are in your favor that having a second set of eyes can act as a theft deterrent. Just be sure to frequently rotate the employee pairings and avoid teaming up close friends.
Did you know? More than 26 percent of fraud and theft incidents are brought to light thanks to a tip-off by the perpetrator’s coworkers.
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