Section 5: Causes of Internal Theft by Bartenders

Section 5: Causes of Internal Theft by Bartenders

Section Goal:  In this section, you will learn some of the reasons, or justifications, why bartenders steal.  This section is not intended to make you suspect your employees of stealing or make you paranoid of every suspicious move your bartenders or servers make.  It is to help inform you of types of theft that can occur in your outlets and the proper controls to help prevent those thefts from occurring.


There are many reasons why your bartenders or servers may steal.  Even though you may have hired “good” employees, they can justify stealing to themselves in many different ways.  Some of the causes of theft include:

Financial Need – If an employee just needs some extra money.  It seems so easy to just take that extra cash if they think that they will not get caught.  They may think that they need it much more than your bar does.

Greed – This is the next step up from financial need.  After seeing the ease of stealing and the amount of money that can be “made”, greed sets in and the bartender cannot stop from stealing.  Many bartenders who steal come into a shift with the mindset of, “I am making $XX dollars today no matter how many people come in.”  They will steal to make up the difference.

Resentment – Many employees naturally start to hate the place they work.  Whether they start to get bored or they dislike the people they work with, it just happens sometimes.  If this is the case, the employee will start to care less about the bar they work in and care more about how he or she can benefit from working there.

“Everybody is Doing It” – This is obviously the most dangerous.  If everybody in your bar or restaurant is stealing, then you have a big problem, and probably a very high liquor cost, on your hands.  This can be a real issue because your employees are less likely to feel that their actions are wrong if others are also doing it.  Also, experienced employees will tend to pass on their stealing techniques so it would be tough to stop the cycle.

Though you may not be able to fix the rationales that cause theft, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent it from occurring.

Actions to take:

  1. Study the following sections to put controls in place to eliminate internal theft

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!