Bar Management, Culture

2-Minute Tuesdays: How to Prevent Theft at Your Bar

By Trevor Bernatchez

Trevor Bernatchez

June 4, 2019

According to certain studies, 75% of inventory shortages are due to employee theft…

In our most recent edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays, Sr. Manager of Customer Education Trevor Bernatchez, breaks down ways you can prevent theft at your bar. Read on to learn more, or watch the whole video (~2 mins) above.

According to certain studies, 75% of inventory shortages are due to employee theft. In many cases, they don’t even consider it to be stealing because they simply don’t realize the severity of their actions. Though some might steal cash and product, most employees are more likely to steal by over-pouring and giving away free drinks.

Regardless of the method or the intent, there are certain measures you can take to reduce product loss and keep costs down at your restaurant…

1. Hire the right people:

Hiring great staff members is essential for preventing all forms of theft. An experienced, trustworthy team will likely pour more accurately, follow bar protocol, and understand how their actions affect the business right from the very beginning.

2. Create a fulfilling work environment:

Your employees will be less likely to steal from you if they feel their work is valuable and they have a positive relationship with you. Show that you appreciate their work by taking the time to talk to them, offering rewards or performance bonuses for outstanding work, or hosting out-of-work social activities.

3. Ring up every product:

Every now and then, a liquor bottle will slip out of a bar back’s hand or a bartender will give a free drink to a regular. If you require them to ring it up in the POS system, you’ll be able to keep track of spills and comps, helping you distinguish these from actual theft at your bar. It’s also good practice for bartenders to ring up drinks before they begin to pour. This ensures that no drinks go unrecorded or unpaid for.

4. Make employees aware of the consequences:

Involve your employees in your business. Demonstrate your average pour size, point out variance, explain pour costs, and describe what happens to the bar when you experience loss. Explain that if the bar’s sales suffer and you go out of business, they’ll lose their jobs as well.

Also, let staff know there are controls in place to prevent theft. If they’re aware you’re monitoring them, they’ll be less likely to try something. Let them know stealing results in termination. If one of your employees gets caught stealing, fire them to set the example for your other employees.


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