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Employee Theft: How One Operator Used His Restaurant POS to Catch a Thief

By Tricia Hoy

For one SpeedLine user, the tracking capabilities of a new POS system paid off quickly. Just Pizza owner Wayne Rempel used the notable activity reports from his POS system with security cameras to catch a repeat offender, and it only took a day.

Shortly after Wayne Rempel installed SpeedLine in his restaurant, he found indicators in his POS reports that someone was stealing. To collect evidence, he had a security camera positioned directly over the cash register. "My SpeedLine reports told me exactly when the suspicious transactions happened," Rempel says, "so I watched the tapes and confirmed an employee was stealing." It was as easy as that.

When Rempel took the information he had gathered to his local police, they told him they could charge him, but that it would probably eat up a couple of days in court. "Rempel recounts. "I decided it wasn’t worth it, because he was a juvenile and there was no guarantee the judge would make him repay the money he took."

Instead, Rempel marked bills on a day he knew the employee would be in: after the end of the shift, he checked his reports and found two questionable tickets. The footage from his camera confirmed theft had occurred. "I had him come into my office and asked him what was going on," Rempel says.

The employee denied everything. "So I showed him the tape, asked him to empty his pockets, and sure enough the money was in there."

"I gave him two options," Rempel continues. "He’d pay the money back or I’d charge him with theft. Either way, he was terminated. And of course, he didn’t want to be charged. So he agreed to repay me." Since the bulk of the thefts occurred before he installed SpeedLine, Rempel may never know exactly how much his dishonest employee pocketed, but he estimates the loss at $1800 over two months.

When Rempel shared the story with the rest of his staff, it created a lot of awareness. "First, they realized we’re not going to put up with theft. And second, they now know I can tell exactly what they are doing."

Rempel continues to watch the POS activity closely. "I now run reports on discounts and voids once a week. If it looks like there’s something wrong, I run the reports every day to pinpoint the problem."

"I also use the employee messaging feature built in SpeedLine to follow up on suspicious transactions," Rempel says. "I can send a message to an employee to say I’m wondering about a discount. The message pops up the next time he logs in and confirmation is required. So if I ever have to go back, he cannot say I never asked. I have a history of all the messages that I have ever sent through the POS."

What should you do when you find you have a thief on staff? Do you pursue criminal action, in the hope of getting your money back, or is it easier simply to dismiss the employee you suspect of fraud with no further action?

No matter which course you take, be diligent in documenting your actions, and keep a trail of evidence. If you choose to go to court, you will be called upon to prove your allegations. And many restaurant operators have been saddled with costly lawsuits or unemployment claims after firing an employee for theft. A clear train of evidence can make the difference—so keep statements from witnesses, security camera tapes, written messages to your employees, POS reports, and disciplinary warnings.

Modern point of sale systems can help you track and pinpoint theft as it happens, and knowing before it becomes a problem can help you avoid losses. Are you keeping watch?

SpeedLine user? Watch the Security Auditing With Reports video series to see how to spot fraudulent activity.

 


Posted by Tricia Hoy

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Tags: loss prevention, Restaurant Management

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There’s a reason pizza and delivery chains are driving the biggest changes in restaurant technology. Pizza and delivery concept restaurants are different from other restaurants, and they have complex needs at the point of sale. In this guide, gain the knowledge you need to choose the right technology fit for your restaurant.


 

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