Is your community measuring it’s losses?

According to statistics published by the National Restaurant Association, employee theft represents 4% of total food sales revenue and accounts for as much as 75% of inventory shortages. If your operation does not have systems in place to track both inventory and purchases (staff and resident transactions), then you have no effective way to measure what, where and how you are losing money. Simple controls and processes can deliver impressive returns.

Many managers don’t really believe their employees could or would steal, especially if they themselves are honest people. Why would an employee steal? But think like the employee. They often make minimum wage, and struggle financially. Maybe they’re not taking cash; just walking out the door with food or liquor, consuming food that they are not permitted to during a shift or taking more than they are entitled to per shift. They may even justify it by saying “everybody does it.” This behavior is widespread (US Dept of Commerce estimates 30% of all staff steal more than once from their employer) and worst of all, they may assume that management knows about it and is doing nothing / does not care.

Take steps to eliminate opportunities for theft or abuse of food consumption polices in your community

Did you know that CARDWATCH can easily manage all your staff and departmental transactions including Staff Subsidies and Per Diems automatically? Ensuring all transactions in your community go through a point of sale system, combined with clearly communicated employee food consumption policies are essential to a healthy bottom line and just plain makes good business sense.


Creating Employee and Departmental Plans in CARDWATCH means no more paper tickets, manual tracking or guess work. Improve your controls and reporting by tracking ALL transactions in your community through one system. CARDWATCH can be set to automatically push subsidies and departmental charges back to the department that the employee works for so it comes out of the right budget. No more decisions for the cashier… with the swipe of the employee’s card CARDWATCH knows what discount (if any) and how to charge each and every transaction. Plans can be set up as Payroll Deduction, Pre-Paid or a combination such as automatic pre-authorized charge to payroll to load a pre-paid plan. All of this is achieved without the need for increased administrative burden and, in fact, virtually eliminates manual administration and errors associated with hand keying charges into XL spreadsheets or other billing systems.


Helpful Tips for reducing the opportunity for theft:

Track Employee Sales
Dishonest employees count on managers to not be paying attention. If the boss doesn’t take the time to review the accounting and track individual employee sales or food consumption, it makes it a whole lot more inviting to steal.

Work Side By Side With Employees
Pick one day a week to work in the kitchen or behind the counter. Be sure to work with each employee. Is there a difference in employee food sales for that day? Are the numbers always higher when the manager works? This may mean an employee or employees are taking food “off the books”, or giving away food and drinks to friends when you are not around. Before you make any accusations, be sure to collect at least a month’s worth of information / data to be sure your trend is real.

Trust But Verify
Review employees’ schedules, their total sales, their “no sales” and their daily sales over several weeks and note which days they work. Then give the highest grossing employee an unexpected schedule change. What happens to the shift he or she left should provide interesting data. If sales increase for that shift, you may find that what looks like the best salesperson could also be the biggest source of employee theft. The busiest shifts are the easiest times to steal. Doing this with the lowest grossing sales person may provide more insight, too.

Where’s there’s one, there may be more
One final piece of advice: Never assume “the problem is solved” or even that the worst offenders have been stopped. Nonetheless, by showing that you are serious about employee theft, you may discourage all but the most determined thieves — and reinforce the honest employees. The key is to be consistent and thorough.