Employee theft will cost approximately 4% of your annual sales according to the National Restaurant Association. This can mean a signifigant loss to your bottom line, but worse than that it can mean a loss in the happy atmosphere you always envisioned for your restaurant.
Through new technology such as POS systems, measured pour spouts, video survaliance systems and key pads, you should be able to catch employee theft and with enough proof, quietly releave perpetrators of their duties. But once this is accomplished what can you do to help ensure it will not happen again?
Build an atmosphere in which the employees care about the restaurant as much as you do.
- Have regular team meetings and treat employees opinions as valuable assets. After all, you will receive free insider advice. Some companies pay top dollar to receive such guidance. Listen without comment and take notes. Let employees know that you realize that this is their livlihood and you want to work with them to ensure they are succesful.
- Be the leader, offering managers as your stand in should you not be available. There are as many books and aids on being a good leader and boss as there are types of food, and as a restaurant owner or manager, a leader is what you are. Take the job seriously and become good at it. Once employees know they can count on you and that you care about them you will have the atmosphere you envisioned.
- Have a proceedure manual that clearly defines theft and the consequences. Once you have reviewed it with employees ask if they have any questions and have them sign it. If you don’t already have a proceedure manual make the time to get one. It not only ensures your business is turn key it reduces stress on you and your employees. There are numerous aids on the internet to help you get started or you can call the local employment or temp agency and hire someone to help you get a manual written.
- Have an open door policy, as well, as a way for employees to report theft anonymously. Always listen to what your employees have to say about your business. Tell them that you appreciate them sharing with you. Do what you can to correct any problems they bring to your attention and follow up with them to let them know what you have done. By doing so you will create an atmosphere of trust.
- Give your employees free or discounted meals. Some restaurants have the employees taste items such as specials so that they will be able to recommend and describe items to customers. Even if your restaurant does not have daily specials it is good for employees to taste the goods being sold and feel like they are a part of the business. Let employees come back with friends and family for a discount. Not only does this bring you new customers it lets employees show their pride in their place of employment. This pride is exactly what you need to end employee theft once and for all.
Have you ever had to deal with employee theft? What did you do to fix the problem and what measures have you taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Let us know in the comments below!
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