Internal Control: Positioning a Point of Sale (POS) Terminal
Goal: Allow guests to see transactions as they are rung to prevent internal theft
The key to the proper placement of a point of sale terminal is visibility. You want to set up your terminal so that customers can see every transaction as it is rung up. Many POS systems do a great job of displaying the transaction total in large numbers on the screen or display ‘no sale’ when the cashier hits the no sale key. It makes it very easy to have a manager or supervisor monitor the transactions from across the restaurant. If your terminal is in a position below a counter, add a display arm or ‘goose neck’ to your POS.
The Wall Street Journal posted a great article on the rise of employee theft as a result of the recession. You can read the entire article on MSN’s Money page here. The article reports that ‘New research shows that employers are seeing an increase in internal crimes, ranging from fictitious sales transactions and illegal kickbacks to the theft of office equipment and retail products meant for sale to customers.’ The article also mentions that ‘To many employers’ chagrin, the workers guilty of the most grandiose theft frequently turn out to be those deemed to be highly trustworthy’.
We have seen a dramatic increase in internal theft while in the field and expect to see a continued increase in 2009, especially in employees who rely on tips for a large part of their salary. Many hotels have been forced to dramatically reduce the number of hours as occupancy declines and many of the hotel restaurants have slowed down. Many employees are now really struggling to make what they made in the past and most cannot afford to take a pay cut and still pay their monthly expenses. Continue reading →
Who has read ‘Burning Down the House: The Infamous Waiter & Bartender’s Scam Bible’?
This book was actually written to teach bartenders and servers how to steal from their restaurants and bars. The tagline on the back reads ‘Diners and Managers, beware! Waiters and bartenders, give yourself a raise!’
It was written by two servers who work on Bourbon Street. It is a quick read, you could probably finish it on your lunch break. It is a very dangerous book! It covers the simple scams like check representing and the more complicating scams like the wagon wheel. A couple of the scams are far-fetched or out of date, but the book does a good job of describing all of the ways a server or bartender can steal from your hotel. The book is also pretty entertaining. It is written in an edgy fashion and includes chapters like ‘Suggestive Stealing’ and ‘The Buffet Scam’.
Please add your comments about the book below… and if you buy the book, don’t leave it sitting around your office where your servers will see it!
It never amazes us to hear about all of the ways our Mystery Shoppers see servers and bartenders stealing from their hotels. With the advancement in technology, especially point of sale systems, you would think that it would be harder for servers to steal. However, in many ways, it actually makes it easier.
With the advancement in technology, a server can make a guest check-in seconds. That means they can easily manipulate a guest check-in seconds. Here is one example our Mystery Shoppers see. A server serves 2 breakfast buffets and presents check number 101 to a customer. The customer pays $40 cash. Instead of closing the check to cash, the server pockets the cash and goes back and splits that check, and creates check number 102 for 1 buffet and check number 103 for 1 buffet. Now the server has two open checks for very popular items that he/she can do many things with. He/she can present a check to their next customer who orders a buffet or they can add additional items to the buffet or transfer it to another guest check. The opportunities are endless.
This not only works with buffets but with any items that are not prepared by the kitchen such as beverages, desserts, and especially alcoholic drinks.