Section 7: Common Types of Theft – POS Manipulation

Section 7: Common Types of Theft – POS Manipulation

Section Goal:  Implement standards to eliminate employee theft caused by point of sale manipulation

POS manipulation is the use of a point of sale computer system to adjust, change, or reprint receipts.  POS manipulation can come in many forms including multiple check prints, check splitting, and over-charging.  Servers and bartenders can appear as if they are entering transactions but can be stealing by performing different functions in the POS system.

This type of theft can be a common occurrence in bars, where many similar items are ordered and no orders need to be sent to a kitchen.  By printing multiple checks of the same or similar item, the bartender can present receipts to multiple customers, but only have one transaction rung up.  The opposite can occur with check splitting, where a customer will order a similar item that appears on another customer’s check, and the bartender will split the check into a presentable form.  The bartenders will then keep the excess cash from the other transactions.

View this very short video for an introduction to POS manipulation:


Internal Controls to prevent POS manipulation

  1. Program separate buttons for each alcohol brand (i.e. Jose Cuervo) or even more specifically, each beverage and alcohol type (i.e. Vodka Tonic/Grey Goose).  This will limit the bartender’s opportunity to represent checks or to check split as the alcohol specifics will now appear on the receipt instead of “Vodka”.
  2. Require your bartenders to start tabs with receipts in front of each guest (if the guest does not pay immediately).  Managers can then go around and do random spot checks to ensure that all receipts are correct and current.  Tabs can be opened with a hotel guest’s name or securing the tab with a credit card.
  3. Issue POS swipe cards to all food and beverage employees.  Do not allow codes to be used to access the POS systems. Fraudulent actions can occur if bartenders or servers get a hold of each other’s access codes.
  4. Implement and utilize a bartender productivity log.  After a few weeks, you should begin to see the trends of sales numbers for your bartenders, shifts, and days of the week.  If a bartender is stealing, the sales for that night should drop lower than normal.  Any discrepancies or major differences from the norm should be investigated.  There is software available that will automatically track numbers and generate reports.  *Note – The bartender productivity log is usually most reliable when implemented when it is certain that there is little to no theft occurring.

Click here to continue with the Common Types of Theft

Your progress so far:  1.Introduction,  2.Understanding Budgeted Cost,  3.Inventory Inaccuracies,  4.Perpetual vs. Periodic Inventory,  5.Poor Pour Practices,  6.Causes of Internal Theft,  7.Common Types of Theft,  8.Self Assessment,  9.Review and Conclusion

This online training guide ‘Getting Your Beverage Cost Under Budget’ was created by TrueGuest.  Give us a call today to take advantage of our Mystery Shopping Services!