Restaurant cash handling checklist

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that 75% of all employees will steal from their employer at least once.

And the most common and costly type of theft is cash.

At many restaurants, cash shortages are usually identified too late – when the money (and sometimes the employee) is already out the door. Plus, if proper cash handling processes aren’t followed, there’s no way to hold specific individuals accountable for the loss. From the drop box to the drive thru, use the best practices below to beef up your restaurants’ cash handling procedures.

Deposits, drop boxes, and drive thrus

  • Utilize cash drop boxes near the register station.
  • Know if cashiers deposit their own money, or witness the depositing of their own money into the safe.
  • Discipline employees working on registers to which they’re not assigned.
  • Mandate that cashiers count their till before and after their shift.
  • Ensure validated deposit slips are audited against the expected deposit amount.
  • Make sure your register fund is large enough so that you don’t need to fetch change during peak periods or make change between registers.
  • Monitor the cash paid/out voucher system for theft opportunities (i.e., purchases outside the scope of the approved items).
  • Utilize a drive thru timer and integrate it with the POS to compare transactions versus number of cars.
  • Make sure the amount on the daily safe close tape is audited against the expected deposit.

Codes, keys, cards, and cars

  • Only give your management team keys to the drop boxes.
  • Give each manager separate alarm and safe codes.
  • Ask managers to keep their keys on their person at all times.
  • Control manager swipe cards to registers (if used).
  • Change manager passcodes to the register per your company’s standards or when the codes are compromised.
  • Utilize an armored car safe.

POS metrics

  • Have stable cash over/short (no more than 25% of days with cash +/- >$5).
  • Set challenging goals for POS metrics, including: deletions, voids, cancels, refunds, discounts, and cash over/short.

Tip: Look to your brand’s standards as well as past store performance to create challenging (but realistic) goals for your stores.

  • Track cashiers’ POS performance. Using a web-based solution can help you easily access this data.


  • Have a DVR system with coverage on the front doors, lobby, registers, safe area, and back door.
  • Train your management team on how to use the DVR system.
  • Clean camera lenses at least once a week.

Cashier performance

  • Schedule time to look at cashiers’ performance every day.

Tip: A web-based solution like Delaget Guard will pinpoint cashiers who are performing outside your brand’s standards and recommend action items to take.

  • Conduct surprise cash audits to prevent suspicious trends at the register.


  • Have counterfeit bill markers and use them for all $100 and $50 bills and questionable $10’s and $20’s.

Tip: If you use a Smart Safe, feed the bills into the bill readers before serving the guest.

  • Monitor cash in the till throughout shifts.

Tip: Managers should pay close attention when a cashier’s drawer is open and should review DVR footage, if follow up is needed.

  • Have a system to follow up on credit card charge backs.

Tip: Typically, an accountant or bookkeeper is in charge of “owning” this process. If you outsource your accounting, ask your vendor to send a daily charge back activity report.

  • Audit the daily safe close tape against the expected deposit.

Find out more ways to uncover loss, improve your operation, and save money.

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