Bar owner defends CCTV in toilets

Do you have cameras installed in your bar or restaurant? most probably. In fact, if you don’t, you’re leaving yourself wide open for theft and fraudulent insurance claims. But when does enough become enough? Do you install cameras in your toilets?

Well, the owners of a new bar in Basingstoke in the UK have defended their decision to install a CCTV camera in the men’s toilets.

A customer complained to a local newspaper after spotting the camera in the toilet at Pure Lounge Bar but Ernie Phelps, the bar’s general manager and one of the owners, said the camera was necessary because of vandalism.

He said in the first week of operation, customers snapped off an expensive sink tap in the gent’s lavatories.

He explained: “We have got one camera facing the sink, nowhere else. It’s to try to stop vandalism.”

Well on this occasion, I have to agree with the use of the cameras. Although he may not get away with putting them up in the Ladies Toilets, he’s just trying to protect his business. His predicament is not an isolated one.

A step too far or another unfortunate necessity in today’s bar industry?


Could a dating couple bankrupt your business?

3710341_Register with Paper_07HIt’s bad enough when you have a thieving staff member or a manager that thinks it’s their right to fiddle the accounts while they line their pockets, but it’s double the trouble when the staff member and manager collude to defraud you and your business.

It’s more common than you think and a recent conversation with an industry consultant reminded me that you can never underestimate the potential for fraud in the bar.

Here are a few methods of collusion that you should be aware of:

Boyfriend & Girlfriend

The classic “couple on a mission” who can cover for one another, aid each other and double the chances of you losing money and liquid assets in a short space of time. Some bars and restaurants do not allow staff members to date and don’t emply married couples. A difficult thing to enforce, but if you can’t legislate against itm think about having htem work different shifts.

Staff Member & Manager

A manager confides in a staff member that certain “opportunities” exist if they work together. This can be a difficult thing to spot unless controls are in place to audit the management team as well as just the staff members.

Staff Member & Customer/Friend

A staff member utilizes the assistance of a friend or patron outside the bar counter who may distract other customers while theft is taking place or might help open rear gates/doors to aid the theft. A customer might order drinks all night yet never pay full price. Some bars don’t allow friends of staff members or off duty staff members on the premises to avoid the chances of fraud.

Just a few possible situations to bear in mind in your business. Got your suspicions? Take action today!

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.