Catching an employee with their hands in the drawer

burglerYou know the scenario. The cash hasn’t been balancing at the end of the night and you have your suspicions as to who is responsible but you haven’t caught anyone in the act and don’t want to risk accusing the wrong employees. Some nights you have too much cash, and some nights too little.

If cash is going missing, then its going missing from one place and one place only – the cash register. The process should be simple, a customer orders a meal or a drink, its entered into the cash register, the customer profers payment and the transaction is closed and change given. However, clever and dishonest employees can work the system so that they dont enter the full value of the meal or hit a button relating to a lower priced item and pocket the difference.

With most cash register scams that I have come across, the defrauded cash normally stays in the drawer until the bartender has an opportune moment to remove it. This will normally be when there are no customers or staff around. To get around this, vary the times at which you remove the cash drawer and do a register reading. If nobody knows when management are going to remove the drawer, they run the risk of being caught in the act.

With this procedure, it is essential that only one staff member is allowed access to one cash register during their shift. Otherwise, blame is easily put on other employees who used it. Also ensure that the employee counted their cash in the drawer when they came on duty so that they cannot use the excuse of the opening float being incorrect.

I’m already hearing the objections now:

“But we always have ten staff on a cash register at a time”

“Its too hard to control staff members on a cash register”

Ok, whose business is it? If it’s important enough for you to control your cash and stop your employees making more money than you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Remember, fear of change could be killing your business.

Maintain this procedure, even after the offending employees have been caught and fired so that future employees will see the controls that are in place before they attempt something similar.

Business is hard enough without having to worry about dishonest emplyees, so let them go as soon as they are caught stealing.

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3 thoughts on “Catching an employee with their hands in the drawer

  1. Very good article, Barry!

    Cash register theft is one of the top reasons Bar owners hire our company. Once the drawer is running short it normally continues and happens when they know they can blame it on other employees.

    I like the fact to keep them on their toes and count the drawer unexpectedly; however, there are those overly confident employees that consistently don’t ring up cash tickets, look for ways to cheat their employer, and share their drawer with more then one employee during their shifts.

    ACE Mystery Shopping can help stay on top of Loss Prevention. We do integrity and targeted employee shops.

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