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How to Catch and Avoid Employee Theft in Restaurants

Employee theft is typical to most businesses, especially when there’s a lack of supervision from the managers. This bad practice is causing a lot of losses in the business, yet most companies can’t catch people who are involved in stealing.

Some companies are lenient enough to let an incident pass by because it’s not causing a significant effect on the overall operation of the business. However, in the long run, these establishments will realize how much they are really losing from little increments of losses.

I have a small convenience store way back, and one person operated it. At first, I noticed that some items were missing from the inventory record of the store.

Then, the income doesn’t tally at all. I disregarded the incident because I thought it wouldn’t affect my business. It was until I noticed that I’m already losing a lot of money because of these missing items, which is reoccurring. It’s the reason why every business owner should not neglect employee theft, even the light ones.

Tips and Tricks: How Do You Catch Employee Theft?


Employee theft is acquiring assets from an employer without any permission. Money is the usual asset that employees take from their employers. Stealing merchandise comes next to being one of the typical employee theft incidents, like what happened in my grocery store.

Time is also included in the assets that employees steal from the company. It happens when the person is being paid to work, yet the company was not benefiting from him or her.

Aside from money, merchandise, and time, other factors include supplies and information, such as trade secrets and product designs.

There are several employee theft instances what most businesses already experienced, especially in restaurants. Here are tips on how you can detect these:

  • Search for infrequent occurrences like missing supplies or merchandise, unlocked exits, or cash flow discrepancies.
  • Monitor the behavior of the employee, in case he or she has a poor performance, odd working hours, defensiveness during reporting.
  • It’s also necessary to match your employee’s lifestyle with the salary he or she’s receiving monthly.

Hiring a supervisor is the first option for most businesses. However, aside from solely depending on supervisors, it’s also wise to invest in installing the best security cameras for business reviews inside the shop. Moreover, it’s ideal for installing small ones to make it less visible for everyone who is operating the shop. From missing merchandise to an employee’s behavior, these devices will help you out.

Reasons Why Employees Steal from their Employers

Why is employee theft often happen in businesses?

Every employee has a reason behind such behavior. Some are considered valid, yet most are not. Nonetheless, it’s never right to get something that’s not yours in the first place.

Here are some reasons why employees steal from their employers:

  • These employees seek revenge. It happens when they feel like their employers don’t compensate them well for their hard work.
  • These employees think that the business is stable enough to cover the losses.
  • These employees don’t take the consequences to set the employer seriously because these are not imposed.

Most of the reasons have something to do with the employees’ behavior toward work. Hence, it’s crucial to put a hidden security camera inside the store so that it can monitor every movement.

Employers can even witness a real-time incident of theft, wherein he or she can immediately call the police for further assistance.

How Do You Stop Employees from Stealing Money?

Employees Steal from their Employers

Restaurants also have employee theft issues, especially when it comes to money, supplies, time, and information.

How to catch and avoid employee theft in restaurants? Here are some useful tips to consider.

  1. Provide clear, written rules. In the policies I set, I indicated different acts that’ll constitute stealing, and I also set the consequences for enforcement, in case I catch an employee who’s stealing again.
  2. Explain to your employees the effects of theft. What I tell my employees is that they will not receive their bonus or raise if the income of the business is going down. Hence, this lets me determine which employees value the set policies by the employer.
  3. Check your inventory weekly to make sure that you’re not missing any necessary ingredients or tools for their work.
  4. Promote positive work values that’ll motivate all employees to do good and be accountable for their actions. Practicing this culture will restrain deceitful ones.
  5. Invest in computer systems that’ll track the inventory of the business efficiently, as well as purchasing and receiving. It is ideal for restaurants as a computerized system will let the cashier do a real-time inventory while charging customers.
  6. Work on getting anonymous tips. I consider this method to protect the identity of an employee. They disclose the information regarding who among his or her co-workers are involved in a theft.
  7. Appoint private agents that’ll act as mystery diners. These investigators can spot who among your employees are doing any illegal activities.
  8. Install 4k security cameras inside the restaurant. It’s one of the ideal ways on how to monitor the behavior of employees in real-time. These devices are not new to most businesses. What I do is I disguise my camera, so no one can tell that there’s a device installed. I look for the smallest camera I can find, but I make sure that it records a high-definition video.

Employee theft is inevitable, regardless of any business field. People will always have their reasons why they have to steal something from your business. The bottom line is to prevent such bad behavior from happening again.

These ways are a few of the best things we can do if our employees are involved in the theft.

Talking to them is to know the reason why. In case the incident happens again, don’t hesitate to report it to the police. Furthermore, you can seek help from another employee to back you up, along with some evidence.

Wayne Delvalle
Hi, my name is Wayne A. Delvalle, and from all of us at Admit One Security — welcome! About ten years ago, I was running a retail store here in Philadelphia and had spent almost every waking hour worrying about it. I was terrified that it would get robbed, that someone would steal my merchandise, or worse. To help my peace of mind, I decided to install some security cameras all around the store. At first, I had no idea what I was doing or how to buy a system that was right for me. So I spent months researching and finally found some excellent products and installed them myself. After that, I realized that I had a huge passion for camera systems and wanted to share it with others. Now, I spend all of my time researching, testing, and writing about security cameras.
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