Ed Heskett
Blog, Loss prevention

You work hard for your money. In the QSR world, every penny of profit requires smart planning, attention to detail and efficient operations. That’s why restaurant loss prevention is such an important — yet frustrating — part of the equation, because you have to work just as hard to avoid losing any of those profits through theft or other causes. Here are five of the top loss prevention tips to make sure your QSR restaurants stay in the black.

Loss prevention basics

Theft is one of the biggest preventable losses in the industry. Protecting yourself starts with the cash register. If you limit the amount of money in the registers, tighten control on register functions, and reconcile receipts with the cashier, you’ll reduce risk and potential losses. To help, compare what you’re doing with the following six points to see how you can improve.

  1. Limit the amount of money in the cash register, drop all $20 and excessive $10 and $5 bills into a cash drop box, even the safe. A good rule of thumb, cash in the register should not exceed $100 more than the beginning register amount.
  2. Tighten control on the manager access to register functions, this may include register keys, swipe cards, or passcodes.
  3. Limit the number of employees in the cash drawer. In most QSRs, the register activity should be limited to one cashier.
  4. Review the register tape and be sure to account for all supporting documentation for refunds, coupons, and discounts.
  5. Review the overall performance of the cashier, as seen in the register tape, deletions, voids, and cash over/short.

Define your thresholds

It’s important to clearly state thresholds for each metric. This will increase accountability with your management staff and help you quickly understand how your company is doing.

What kind of metrics should you be interested in? Thresholds for POS and daily metrics that include deletions/voids, refunds, promos, and discounts are a good starting point.

But, metrics aren’t useful if you don’t use them. Measure your individual cashier and store level performance against your metrics, and establish policies that create accountability for exceeding them and recognition for beating them.

Proper safe handling

Creating a crystal-clear procedure for handling the store safe can greatly reduce the risk of cash loss. Multiple managers should be involved when auditing the safe. This isn’t to create an environment of distrust, but rather, should be communicated as a way to verify balances and avoid future awkward situations. Your auditing process should be reliable, because it can be difficult to hold employees accountable for cash loss.

Web-based oversight

Increasing visibility is an effective way to stop employee theft. People are less likely to steal when they know their actions are transparent. Here are three tools that can help you keep your restaurants safe.

  1. Reporting tools to provide visibility to store leaders
  2. A specific loss prevention tool, like Delaget Guard, to monitor store and cashier level performance
  3. Video surveillance, which is highly beneficial in today’s business setting

Store safety and security

By improving safety for employees and customers, you reduce the risk of workers’ comp payouts and lawsuits. Keeping your employees safe also reduces downtime for injured employees and the need to train new ones in their place. Use the following tips to improve safety and reduce cash loss.

  1. Execute your brand employee/customer safety program.
  2. Create and enforce a policy for using the restaurant’s back door.
  3. Use floor mats to prevent slips.
  4. Provide employee safety equipment like cut gloves, heat resistant gloves, and aprons.
  5. Use back belts for heavy lifting.
  6. Enforce hand washing training and certification.
  7. Make sure each manager has their own alarm code and check the system regularly to verify it works, and alarm codes are not to be shared.
  8. Change the locks with manager changes.

Stop losing money today

So, whether you’re monitoring the money in your cash drawer, tightening control on manager access, installing video surveillance, or providing safety equipment, you’re making strides toward a profitable year with a minimal loss.

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