The McScam

It turns out that hotels are not the only victims of crafty employee theft.  Here is the fast food version of the breakfast buffet scam:

I was  in West LA last weekend and had time to get a quick bite to eat with some friends.  Most convenient, of course, was a major fast food restaurant down the street.  Some of us were not very hungry, so the ones who were ordered first.  Everything was normal at first; we ordered food that the cooks in the back had to make, the cashier entered the transaction into the computer, processed the payments, gave a receipt, etc.

scamThen the ones that just wanted small items came to place their orders.  As I waited for my food to the side, I noticed that she started to use a small calculator instead of the register that she had used with me to add up the cost of each order.  One of my friends ordered a drink and large fries (both items the cashier could retrieve herself).  She punched the amounts into the small calculator  and asked for $2.79.  My friend payed with cash, the cashier put the money in the drawer, did not present a receipt, and provided the drink cup and fries.  Another one of my friends ordered a specialty coffee drink.  The cashier listened to the order, then asked, “That’s it?”  Once my friend nodded his head, she then recalled the price from memory and asked for $2.19.  She then did the same with the money as the previous transaction.

There was a good flow of people coming in to order food and as I waited for my food, I could not help but laugh.  Every transaction that she did not have to send to the cooks or have to process a credit card, she would not ring the transaction into the register.  One can only imagine how much money this cashier was making, but even worse, how much more money the fast food restaurant was losing.  She obviously had been doing this for some time and because the restaurant was in a very high volume area, the managers or owners probably do not even notice.

Take it from me, she was being so obvious because she knows that she probably won’t get caught.  These things happen often in places I go.  Managers and owners just need to take a closer look at their operation.

Got a McStory to share?  Post it in our comment section.

Basic Bar Internal Controls

liquor-bottlesControlling your beverage cost is about much more than hiring the right bartenders and being hopeful that they are honest.  Whether your hotel just opened a brand new bar or have had one for many years, make sure that you have these 12 basic internal control standards in place to protect your bottom line.

1.  Position the POS terminal so that customers can see transactions rung up. Most bars have the POS screen positioned towards the bar so that the bartender must turn their backs to use the register. This helps on two fronts; first, all guests can see their transactions rung up and second, it is tougher for the bartender to see who is watching him or her ring up the transaction, making it less likely that they will risk using POS manipulation. If your bar design does not allow the terminal to be placed this way, consider installing a display arm that can be positioned to face the guest similar to ones in retail stores.

2.  Ensure that it is your bar’s standard to have alcohol poured first when preparing mixed beverages. Pouring the mixer into the glass before the alcohol can only mean one thing; your bartender is attempting to adjust the perceived alcoholic strength of the beverage. This is a good indicator that your bartender may be pouring less per drink to steal so that it will not throw inventory levels off.

3.  Require the bartender to give a receipt after each transaction. This is one of the simplest standards to use yet many bars obviously do not require the bartender to give one. Make sure that your bartender knows that if a guest pays cash, it is not some secret code for, “I do not want a receipt.” Even if most of the guests throw the receipts away, at least your bartender gave them one and hopefully rang up the transaction.  Check out our article on how bartenders split and re-present checks with the POS.

Continue reading