By Jim Laube
Cashiers and bartenders using a house-provided cash drawer should never be allowed to take a register reading. When an employee can figure out what he or she “owes the house,” it’s just that much easier for them to skim off the excess cash (from unrecorded sales) and walk out with money you earned but will never know you had.
Unlike server bank systems in table-service restaurants, where servers must ring up food and beverage items before they can present the customer with a guest check for payment, cashiers and bartenders can verbally communicate the amount owed—completely bypassing the printing of a guest check. Bypassing the check-printing step provides the opportunity for dishonest cashiers and bartenders to under-ring orders for cash transactions and then pocket the difference.
It’s critically important that only managers have access to register readings, and that you have a checkout procedure that makes it more difficult (not less) for anyone to cheat.
At the end of a shift, each cashier and bartender should fill out a Checkout Sheet to record their settlement transactions. This would include cash, credit-card receipts, over-rings, voids, discounts, coupons, paid-outs, etc. After the beginning bank is subtracted from the “total receipts” a “deposit” amount should be shown.
Checkout Sheets should always be filled out in the manager’s office and as often as possible under the watchful eye of a manager or owner. Only after the Checkout Sheet is completed and the “deposit” amount written in, should the manager tell the employee how much cash is owed. That makes it easy for the manager to see an overage or shortage immediately, making it harder for an employee to cover it up or fabricate an adjustment on the spot.
While cash shortages are not great news, your worst nightmare is consistent cash overages. Too much cash indicates a strong likelihood of either unrecorded sales or customers being short-changed. In our experience, cashiers, servers and bartenders should consistently be within $1 over or short. Anything over $1 either way is a sign that an employee needs more training, can’t handle the job or is trying to steal.
Jim Laube is the founder (in 1998) and president of RestaurantOwner.com, an online resource for independent restaurant owners. Jim’s previous 30-year restaurant industry career included posts as a unit manager, controller, CPA and CFO for a regional chain. He works with restaurants primarily in the areas of financial management, internal controls, operating procedures and profitability. This is just one of the many financial management issues Jim Laube will discuss in his seminar at Pizza Expo 2014 entitled “How to Protect Your Restaurant From Theft and Fraud.”
This Pizza Expo Exclusive is part of a continuing series leading up to the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 24-27, 2014. Seminar speakers and demonstrators will provide professional advice on their area of expertise.
CLICK HERE to read more Pizza Expo Exclusives.
To Learn more about International Pizza Expo, visit www.pizzaexpo.com.
January 12, 2017 | Pizza Headlines
I dip, you dip, we dip! A tantalizing dip is a great way to provide instant gratification. Many can be made ahead of time and simply heated or plated. A favorite in Pizza Today’s home base of Louisville, Kentucky is beer cheese. Now, there’s debate on whether it should be served hot or cold. But… Read More ›
January 11, 2017 | Press Releases
Dallas, Texas – RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAVE) today announced that the Board of Directors has named Scott Crane as Chief Executive Officer, effective today. Crane succeeds Interim CEO Clinton J. Coleman, who will remain in his role as a member of the Board, where he has served since 2007. “Scott is dynamic leader… Read More ›
January 4, 2017 | Pizza Headlines
As a new year rang in, the food industry made its predictions of restaurant trends that will sweep the nation, from rising concepts to customer-facing tech and hot menu items. How do these forecasts correlate to the pizza industry? What’s going to be this year’s hot pizza style? What are your predictions? Let’s take a… Read More ›