April 14, 2017
Trust vs Security: How To Reduce the Risks Of Employee Theft At Your Restaurant

Part of running any successful business relies on hiring workers that you can trust to do the required work and not harm the company. Having a reliable staff is one of the many steps to ensure the continued success of your business. But even hard working employees are not enough to keep your business safe. One of the most harmful things that can happen to a business is repeated internal theft. So how do you balance security protocols with the trust required to run a successful restaurant? Here are the keys to reducing the risks of employee theft at your restaurant.

Cash Management

The procedures that you use to manage the cash transactions in your restaurant can limit your vulnerability to employee theft. The more intuitive your POS system is, the clearer it will be when the register is short. With software that can project the expected cash in the drawer at the end of a shift, it will be more apparent to management and other workers when there is an issue with the recorded cash.

When you can keep better track of transactions, it reduces the likelihood of employees attempting to take advantage of the restaurant. This is effectively closing off some of the available opportunities for employee theft without displaying any lack of trust. It also makes completing cash management tasks simpler for workers. This is a time saving tool that will benefit honest workers and protect the restaurant from possible instances of theft.

Effective Surveillance

Monitoring your restaurant allows some level of employee theft prevention, as it is likely to discourage the most brazen criminals. It also does a lot to protect your employees from wrongful accusations. You can get to the bottom of any issues by reviewing the footage. You can trust your employees and still get to the truth. Reviewing a questionable situation does not have to be done with any obvious level of suspicion. No accusations must be made until all of the data is collected.

Restaurant owners can look into the best security cameras for their needs, and are likely to find something that fits both the budget and desired documentation parameters. Just make sure that the footage is stored in long enough intervals to give yourself enough time to respond to an incident. Cameras must be able to clearly capture faces and small details in all areas that are vulnerable to theft. The lighting in your restaurant may affect what type of cameras you can use and the clarity of your footage.

Improving Access Control

Who has access to certain areas of the restaurant goes a long way to being able to determine who is disregarding protocols. For example, the number of people who have the combination to the company safe should be kept to a minimum. This will make it easier for your documentation to point out a mishandling of cash. There is also the issue of who has the keys to lock up the restaurant at the end of the business day.

Keeping the number of employees with keys to a minimum reduces the risk of after-hours crime. Things such as alarm codes should also be restricted to a controlled number of employees. This limits the exposure to general theft and will allow you to narrow down the pool of suspects if there is ever an issue with surreptitious theft. This type of trust should be earned in order to effectively protect security.

Train Employees With Security In Mind

One of the easiest ways to trust an employee is when you know that they have been properly trained. In regards to preventing and reducing the risk of restaurant theft, you need to be able to train your employees on what you expect from them. It is important not to do this training with the intention of scaring your staff. Instead, focus on empowering them to come forward when they become aware of the types of suspicious behavior that you would like to be alerted about.

Give your workers the tools they need to be your eyes and ears. When they see something you would deem suspicious, they need to know that you expect to be informed. They also need to know whom they can approach. If they are supposed to go to a manager, but the manager may be responsible or complicit in the crime, then you have restricted your own protection. If your punishments or handling of the situation is viewed poorly by other workers, this might also discourage anyone from coming forward. Be fair and transparent about how you would like employees to handle theft reporting.


With the specific security considerations of a restaurant, there is always the chance of employee theft. And if have a high employee turnover when you are moving from a busy season to the offseason, it might be difficult to build the necessary trust with all of your staff. That is why it is so important to have security procedures that you can trust in as well.

Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
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