Providing EPOS solutions to the hospitality sector for over 20 years

How to prevent theft behind the bar this festive season


How to prevent theft behind the bar this festive season using the most efficient technology solutions until now in the UK.

Ultimately in this industry, you will not be able to fully prevent theft behind the bar and most managers will understand this. Theft constitutes anything from unreported spillage, over-pouring, and free/cheap drink handouts to stolen bottles at the end of the shift. Dishonest people will steal from the bar, the customer and their co-workers. Here is a list of tactics you need to consider:

Here are some tactics

  • Most important step – Hire smart! **Hire smart, fire seldom. Check those references you should have asked for! You are usually always better off hiring for attitude/honesty than for skill.
  • A single entry and exit point for ALL employees, with ALL coats and bags, left locked in an employee area, INCLUDING wallets and purses (there’s no need for them behind the bar). If your motives are questioned, say you’re stopping theft from each other and the business. Accompany them watchfully as they leave out the door, they don’t need to know your motives again, just thank them for the nights' work and wish them a good night!
  • Never work with an open cash drawer! Only allow the till to open at the point of sale. Annoyances and inefficiencies from mistakes are definitely mitigated in the long term through difficulties in stealing.
  • Only authorize trusted managers or yourself to count money at the end of the shift, don’t let the bar tenders checkout cash. Constantly move money into your locked office so the cash drawers aren’t overflowing with bills and coins.

Encouraging staff members

  • Have a shared tip cup; although some hard-working employees will reject the idea, open dialogue usually works. Possibly offer all notes are personal and coins are shared (coins more often lifted from the cash drawer or customer). Keep the tip jar well away from the EPOS till systems and prevent them from exchanging the change for notes!
  • Put locks on doors and minimize keys. Sounds simple but for some reason, it is often not clear.
  • CCTV cameras on the bar/EPOS till system area(s) will seriously dissuade stealing from staff.
  • You don’t necessarily need to hand out manuals, but a short talk in the effects and morality of stealing from the business including the disciplinary measures taken when caught often helps discourage stealing.
  • Smell check the bottles regularly to check authenticity. This usually happens with vodka or gin, when staff are aware of this approach they are less likely to steal bottles.
  • Ban staff from drinking during a shift or in the establishment when they are off duty. Staff are more likely to over-pour, provide free or discounted drinks to their colleagues or friends if off-duty.

It's all about monitoring

  • Monitor bar operations for at least 10 random minutes every hour. A manager’s presence is highly likely to deter theft behind the bar. Including stealing bottles, drinking alcohol or providing cheap/free drinks.
  • Unreported spillages or mistakes (including over-pours) and free drink handouts are usually the biggest cause of shrinkage. Possibly create a limit of quantity and type of free drinks staff can handout, only if they write it down at the end of the shift. This can be factored into the profit/loss sheets, monitored and controlled, regulating the effects. Test through trial.
  • The most sure-fire prevention methods for limiting theft behind the bar include longer hours for you or a trusted employee. Whether it’s increasing stock takes or increasing cash counts. But after an open and honest dialogue with your staff, it's necessary to remember you can never fully prevent theft. Try and incentivize honest work; EPOS systems stock control level with the actual physical stock at the end of the week? No bottles have been lifted over the month? Multiple customer commendations? REWARD.

Even though most of these tactics seem common sense, not all of them are employed by bar managers or owners. So where does our EPOS system come into this? theft behind the bar stems from bad practices, bad policies and inefficient systems. With 3S POS EPOS systems we can help you reduce your shrinkage with the following features:

Give the right access

  • User Access Rights: Each employee can be given individual access rights determining what they can and can’t do on the EPOS system when they are taking orders and processing payments.
  • You should track all user activity and if they are consistently making mistakes, deletions or abusing their discount levels they can be flagged by our EPOS system security reports.
  • Live notification centre that alerts you or the manager when the cash drawer is open without an order when a certain level of discount threshold has been given or deletion has occurred.
  • You should use biometric fingerprint readers for clocking in and out, signing into till systems to process orders. This ensures staff cannot use other staff passwords to avoid cheating.
  • Managers should limit opening the cash drawer without a sale to a select number of staff members and even set up in a way that they must use the biometric fingerprint reader to confirm their action.
  • Our smart rota manager can lock out staff from using the EPOS tills who are not scheduled to work or their shift has ended.
  • With our Blind End-of-Day cash up feature, you can let staff count the cash and declare the amounts without ever knowing the sales figures. Managers or owners should get to know any discrepancies.
  • With regular stock takes using our enterprise-level stock management system will also flag variances in stock. Our Blind Stock Take feature will allow staff to count and submit stock takes without ever knowing the system stock levels.

Additional Tactics for Preventing Theft Behind the Bar

In addition to the tactics mentioned above, there are several more strategies you can implement to further deter theft behind the bar. While it's true that you can never completely eliminate the risk of theft, these measures can significantly reduce the opportunities for dishonest behaviour among your staff:

  • Implement regular inventory audits to track stock levels and identify discrepancies.
  • Foster a culture of accountability among staff to discourage theft and promote honesty.
  • Invest in comprehensive staff training on proper bar procedures and theft prevention.
  • Utilise technology such as CCTV cameras and advanced EPOS systems for enhanced security.
  • Conduct thorough background checks on new hires to ensure honesty and integrity.

By implementing these additional tactics and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft behind the bar and create a safer and more secure environment for your staff and customers alike. Remember, prevention is key, so don't hesitate to take proactive measures to protect your business from theft and dishonest behaviour.

The 3S POS EPOS system is fast, reliable and easy to use so you can focus on your management tactics and increase that bottom line! The highly efficient software and durable hardware give you much less to worry over allowing you to manage your business and fight that shrinkage, as you see fit!

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