5 Steps to Preventing Bartender Theft

Have you heard of the term shrinkage? Shrinkage refers to the liquor which is lost due to waste, spillage, and bartender theft. Shrinkage can take away 20 to 30 percent of the bottom line. As a manager, you’re probably asking, “How can I prevent this”? Here are 5 steps to help prevent bartender theft.


Four Common Bartender Theft Methods


1. Monitor Check Outs

In many operations, bartenders are required to reconcile their cash drawers. The checkout process provides bartenders with an ideal opportunity to safely remove funds secretly deposited into the register's cash drawer during the course of their shift.

Bartender Theft Prevention Tip

Taking this responsibility away from the employees, bartenders will be forced to either pull the money out of the cash drawer during the shift or opt not to use the register as a place for their stolen funds. Running tabs should not be allowed unless with the use of a credit card.


2. Keep Tip Jar Away From Till

The bartenders' tip jar should be placed well away from the operation's cash register or POS (point-of-sale system) to avoid bartender theft.

Bartender Theft Prevention Tip

If the tip jar is placed right next to the register, it is easy for bartenders to place diverted funds into the tip jar rather than the register.


3. Manager-Approved Compensation

Bartenders should receive management approval before preparing a customer's complimentary drink.


4. Install an Inventory System

Monitor against internal theft by comparing the last entry on a product's perpetual inventory sheet with the number of bottles in the liquor room. The more inventories you store in the liquor room, the more reasons you must adopt a perpetual system.


5. No Sale Policy

One of the simpler methods of bartender theft involves a bartender using the "no sale" feature. Bartenders who have a high number of "no sales" will usually be more problematic.

Unless someone is watching the LCD (liquid crystal display), which depending on the size of the numbers, can be a problem and difficult to read, the act usually goes unnoticed.

Since a sale wasn't rung into the register, the bartender only has to remove the stolen proceeds from the cash register when it's safe to do so.


Bartender Theft Prevention Tip

Regularly review a random selection of receipts and check for a consistent use of "no sales".


Additional information on bartender theft avoidance plus an additional 4 tips are included in the Responsible Alcohol Manager course by Serving Alcohol.

Register today and start saving your business 25%!

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