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14.05.2018

They are cheating you: how to recognize employee’s suspicious activity

Some managers and owners impose full control over employees to minimize risks of theft in the restaurant business.  Еmployees suspicious activity needs to be monitored. While others arrange for someone they trust the most to spy from the inside and to inform managers about what’s going on at the place.

Another loss prevention method is to hire employees through one’s connections, believing that personal relations won’t allow them to steal.

Unfortunately, all these measures won’t protect your business against dishonest employees since there is always a human aspect. It must not be ignored and we will explain you how to cope with it.

First of all, let’s refer to the statistics: every year, approximately 40% of companies lose important commercial information; about 70% of skilled staff is ready to work for competitors or to take actions aimed at obtaining additional income.

Today restaurant manager or restaurant owner can use special softwares to their advantage. These systems can help to identify anomalies in the business data and prevent theft on time.

Why are they stealing?

Employees are likely to committing the theft if they are low paid. So, take care of your employees by offering them decent payment. Of course, this doesn’t prevent theft but you will be able to lessen the risk of staff bypassing your sales process. The biggest risk is for crooked employees since high pay wont’ stop them.

But the number one cause is greed. Typically, some individuals think that “all owe them” and that they are entitled for a five-finger discount because the owner won’t become poorer if they pocket some money for themselves. Whatever disciplinary action you take, it’s impossible to eliminate evil entirely without firing a dishonest employee. Ensure other employees understand the consequences of stealing.

We know by experience that employees with longer-term experience are more likely to commit a fraud. Since they have learnt the production specifics and back-doors to bypass regulations. You don’t even have to do much other than, maybe, bring in someone to remove the blood from where the dishonest employee was found out to be.

Sometimes money starts disappearing when employees hate or don’t have respect for company owner or manager.

What kind of fraud can commit the staff?

No matter what you do to protect your business, there are always ways to commit frauds, especially in the restaurant business. For example:

  1. When they apply manual discounts. Customers pay the total cost then the discount is applied and the difference is pocketed by a dishonest employee.
  2. Adjustment of the closed orders. After the payment is made by the guest; the employee opens the order, removes some items and pockets the money for himself.
  3. Kitchen checks reprinting. They can be given to the guests, sometimes two copies are printed. When the similar order is placed, it is not entered into the POS instead the second copy is used.
  4. Removing items after the kitchen check is printed. The client pays the amount for the full order and then, it is closed without those items in the POS.
  5. Payroll records. A large staff and a high staff turnover are considered to be favorable environment for dishonest book-keepers. Frequently, names of ghost employees are added to the payroll records.
  6. Increasing the number of damaged or written-off products. All companies should consider losses due to the damaged or defective products. But there are employees’ shifts when the number of defective products is rising sharply. And at the end of their shifts, statistics display again old values. By the way, all this statistic data is available via special mobile terminals.

How to handle an employee who committed a fraud and was caught?

This is the case when you should act appropriately without any emotions. Follow our step-by-step guide if you don’t intend to fire the employee yet:

  1. Explain exactly what happened and present the evidence you have.
  2. Remindof previous issues.
  3. Show that you are disappointed and explain that dishonest behavior is not acceptable.
  4. Make employee feel guilty and accept the fact of his dishonest act.
  5. Communicate clear guidelines how to fix the situation.
  6. Present the consequences like penalties or even eventual termination (depending on your case).
  7. Hold a staff meeting. Call your staff together and discuss what happened. Make them be involved in the discussion to uncover root causes and their needs for comfortable work. They’ll be far less likely to behave recklessly if they are happy and feel fulfilled at work.
  8. Draw practical conclusions.

It’s ultimately important to remember that if you catch the employee red-handed and have evidences, first ask the employee to give you explanations. Provide him two days to explain the reasons. This time period constitutes the legal time stipulated by the Labor Code.  Explanations should be provided in the written form and handed over against receipt. From here on now, you will document every step you take. If no explanations were provided, make sure you have registered this fact.

If the story is still played out – fire without hesitations.

Efficient method to follow your all staff actions

Modern automation systems for catering and retail industry will help you identify each and every exception that can be indicative of fraud, loss or error.

Mobile terminals proved themselves as being the perfect solution for coffee shops, canteens, food kiosks. Now you can get all data on the Administration panel which keeps the establishment’s records, displays processes and performance, and builds analytical reports.  You can benefit a lot from these systems: view the total number of orders placed, bills generated, the total sales, discounts offered at your restaurant; keep a track of your business by viewing real-time reports anytime from anywhere.

To prevent theft once and forever, hire good staff. That’s your alpha and omega! Vet candidates when hiring and create a positive work environment. Taking the time to find the right candidate may be enough to screen most potential problems.

There is one more side that is less obvious, yet important. This entails the particularities of the company, its corporate values and rules, incentive system and so forth.

Employees that have a good relationship with the management and feel like their contribution is appreciated and that they are well compensated for that contribution are much less likely to steal. However, if you suspect about the theft, you would be better to use special applications designed to keep the establishment’s records.

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