In the restaurant business there are always factors affecting operations that are out of your control. Seasonality in traffic, disruptions from weather, and nearby construction events all play a role in how many customers come through your door.
Managing shrinkage, however – stemming from inventory losses or theft - is well within your control. With just a few proactive steps, you can increase your restaurant security, decrease internal theft and cut down on overall shrinkage. By doing so, restaurant owners can improve their profitability and enjoy an overall positive change in the performance of their restaurant.
The following are four types of shrinkage you may experience in your restaurant business, as well as tips for handling them in an efficient and timely manner.
- Monetary Theft
Monetary theft includes stealing cash and products. Employees may be stealing straight from the cash drawer, pocketing extra customer cash or entering false voids into the point-of-sale (POS) system. They may also be giving discounts to friends and family without management’s permission. This is a critical type of theft, as restaurants can quickly lose thousands of dollars in profit if it’s not identified and fixed.
You can reduce internal theft before it happens by installing surveillance cameras near your POS workstations. Advanced surveillance equipment can integrate with your POS to capture what is rung up, even superimposing the text from the transaction onto the screen. Set up your system to record employee activity for suspicious transactions like voids, discounts and cancelled sales. This keeps employees monitored and accountable during every transaction, and is a highly effective method to deter theft.
Requisitioning is a leading cause of restaurant shrinkage due to poor visibility on who, when, and how inventory is managed. To improve this, focus on the back door— where restaurants often bleed profit due to regular inventory ordering and receiving. It is crucial to have strict processes and procedures in place for deliveries. This includes having a specific location and time for deliveries, making sure management receives and checks orders carefully, and having set stocking and clerical procedures in place.
For an extra level of restaurant security, install surveillance cameras in the backdoor area. If your employees and vendors know you’re taking your requisitioning seriously, they will be less likely to try and sneak something out of your restaurant.
- Time Theft
Another type of internal theft—and a leading cause of restaurant shrinkage—is time theft, which occurs when employees are dishonest about the amount of time worked during a shift. Often employees arrive late, leave early or take longer or more frequent breaks than allotted. They may enter false times or buddy punch, which is asking a worker to clock in or out for them in their absence.
To eliminate this costly issue, consider an integrated POS system that helps to validate when employees clock in and out. For an extra level of restaurant security, install biometric readers, which scan the employee’s fingerprint to confirm their identity. Additionally, surveillance cameras can monitor employee behavior during breaks and shift changes.
- External Theft
Just like internal theft, it’s important to prevent external theft at your restaurant. External theft can include car break-ins in the parking lot, or restaurant and back office break-ins. It may also include customers stealing tips as they walk past tables. Along with encouraging servers to watch their tables closely and pick up tips as soon as the table leaves, owners should have surveillance cameras inside and outside the restaurant, and locks on the back office, files and safe.
You always want your guests and employees to feel and stay safe. For peace of mind, ensure you have the proper restaurant security equipment in place to deter external crime 24/7.
Putting security policy enforcement into place is critical to the success of your restaurant. If you follow these crucial steps, your restaurant security will meet acceptable standards, profitability will increase, and you’ll provide an excellent experience for both your guests and your staff.
Make sure you not only put these steps into action, but that you also have the hardware and software you need to effectively implement them. With CRS’s innovative line of integrated POS systems and surveillance cameras, you can do just that.