How To Use Restaurant Data to Spot Employee Theft

One restaurant produces thousands of pieces of data every month. As a single or multi-unit operator, you may know that you need to use data to streamline and improve your operation. But it’s easier said than done. Hidden in the piles of metrics are keys to reducing loss. And, if you can hone in on problem areas using data, operators have the ability to add up to three percent to topline revenue. Of all the forms of restaurant loss, employee theft takes the biggest bite out of the bottom line.

Below, are the ways you can find employee theft trends in your store data.

Set Thresholds

Did you know that according to a Delaget study, four of ten manager discounts are fraudulent? Employee thieves are sneaky when it comes to pocketing your dollars. That means operators need to get smarter about identifying employee theft right away.

In order to find suspicious activity in your store using data, you need to be able to easily see outliers. That means every store should have goals and specific thresholds managers work to achieve or maintain. When one store exceeds those thresholds, you know you need to dig deeper into the data. Restaurant employees most commonly steal through the point of sale. Operators should focus there, and set thresholds for the following red flag transactions:

  • Deletes
  • Voids
  • Refunds
  • Employee/manager meals
    Review Data Trends Frequently

When restaurant operators identify store loss by reviewing the P&L, it’s too late to recover the money. Combing your store metrics on a monthly or quarterly basis means that you’re participating in loss reaction, not loss prevention. When you spot accumulated loss, an employee has already run off with the money.

Get into the habit of reviewing loss prevention metrics on a weekly and bimonthly basis. That way, when you see a spike in deletes or voids, you can pinpoint the action and decide if the employee needs more coaching, or if the employee is actually stealing.

Remember, when new employees (especially cashiers) begin work, managers should expect mistakes to be made. A store with many new hires may see a spike in deletes or voids. But as cashiers learn their new role, those mistakes should taper off.

Be Specific About the Reports you Review

There are many reports you can choose to review when it comes to restaurant metrics. Focus your efforts on the below data:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • End of shift and shift change reports: Use this to discover discrepancies connected to the cash drawer and employees.
  • Bank deposit slips: Does the bank deposit reflect the right dollar amount?