5 ways you can prevent employee theft at point of sale 

According to QSR Magazine, the biggest opportunity for theft occurs at the point-of-sale (POS) terminal.

Why? Because all of your restaurant’s revenue comes through the POS. The opportunity for your staff to feed their family, friends, and themselves for free or for a deeply discounted rate is ever-present. Experienced managers can learn or may already know how to hide or cover up theft by manipulating inventory through the POS. And having multiple hands in the tills makes it difficult – and nearly impossible to identify POS abuse or theft. Below, find 5 proven ways that you reduce theft at your POS and have a more honest staff.

1. Implement Hiring Best Practices

Stop POS theft before it begins by taking time to hire the right people for the right roles at your restaurant. Implement these restaurant hiring best practices:

  1. Utilize your brand’s people and bench plan to help you compare actual vs. planned staffing and to inform you of staffing needs and targets.
  2. Review resumes and select candidates to interview who match with job goals and brand values.
  3. Use brand tools like interview guides, if you have them.
  4. Consider having the candidate meet with several team members (including staff who have the same position) and perform customer service role plays during the interview.
  5. Conduct reference checks for all potential hires – especially if the candidate has experience working for your brand.
  6. Conduct a pre-employment background check drug screening for manager hires.

2. Focus on training

Many cashiers learn how to steal just through trial and error on the keyboard because they are not properly trained. That’s why training should be a big part of every employee’s on-boarding process. Follow these suggestions for top-notch employee training:

  1. Leverage your brand’s training program (employee handbook, brand tools, video programs, skill observation checklists, etc.).
  2. Conduct orientation in small segments over several days so information can be more clearly understood and your new staff’s questions can be answered.
  3. Meet with the team individually to set your expectations and commitment to your company’s policies and procedures.
  4. Create a culture of coaching and accountability by providing specific feedback
  5. Provide feedback in the moment. Don’t wait. If you see a teachable moment, say something immediately. This will help reduce future losses down the line.

Review new hires’ progress. Web-based tools like Delaget Coach and Delaget Guard provide analytics and guidance that can help in identifying and acting on coaching opportunities.


3. Schedule smarter

Operators often underestimate the importance of the restaurant schedule, and the impact it can have on employee theft. By looking at the employee schedule as a business plan, rather than a necessary activity, managers can begin to eliminate opportunities for theft. Below, find a few ways to use your schedule as a loss prevention tool:

  1. Have a consistent process for writing the weekly schedule.
  2. Audit and edit the weekly schedule. Ask and answer: Did we meet our goals for the week? Is the restaurant team moving forward? What can we do to improve?
  3. Have an accurate forecast with a sales forecasting variance that’s less than 5% for a day or a week.
  4. Post your schedule one week in advance so employees can plan their personal lives around the schedule.
  5. Take into account employee requests when writing the schedule.
  6. Keep cashier shifts between 4 and 6 hours in length and schedule enough cashiers every day – a 6 to 8 daily minimum is a safe bet. This will keep your team fresh and less likely to make errors. It also isolates the time-frame and number of employees on duty should loss occur.
  7. Schedule overlap for your cashiers to allow incoming and departing cashiers to count their till and begin or leave on time. This will make it easy to see if certain employees are stealing.

Watch our scheduling webinar for best practices from a QSR leader with more than 40 years of experience.


4. Track the right data

A single transaction can often appear innocent. It’s only when you see the pattern of deletes, voids, refunds, and over-rings over time that theft becomes truly apparent. That’s why tracking the right data needs to be part of every loss prevention plan. Reviewing data trends can only be done by manually sorting through reports or by using web-based software that can gather and normalize metrics from the register. When it comes to monitoring POS theft, there are a number of reports operators can use to begin tracking:

  1. Transaction compliance and cash management: A web-based tool that allows managers to look at specific transaction trends over time.
  2. Cashier performance log: A report designed to manually track a specific cashier’s POS metrics in the absence of web solutions. The log can be devised in a number of ways, including looking at multiple cashiers on the same form, one week at a time, comparing cashiers against each other.
  3. Armored Car reports: Double check that the cash made at the end of the day is the same as the deposit made with the armored car.
  4. End of shift and shift change reports: Use this to discover discrepancies connected to the cash drawer and employees.
  5. Bank deposit slips: Does the bank deposit reflect the right dollar amount?

5. Utilize camera footage

Does your restaurant have security cameras? Surveillance helps deter robbery and employee theft. If cashiers know that they are being watched, sometimes that is enough to deter theft from the POS. If a cashier still tries to steal, camera footage can be used as part of the loss prevention investigation process in two ways:

  1. Managers or risk specialists can use video footage to confirm data trends. For example, if data shows that an employee pocketed money on specific dates and times, managers can pull the specific video footage to match the data.
  2. In the interview phase of the loss prevention investigation, telling the culprit that you caught their action on camera — and using the footage as a final form of proof — is a good way to get a confession.

Learn more about Delaget’s partnership with Envysion, a provider of video-based business intelligence software.