Employee theft is more common than you think.
This could be in the form of money but it can also be company assets or inventory such as food and drinks.
According to CompareCamp, a SaaS comparison site, 95% of businesses in the US have experienced employee theft in one way or another. This translates to a loss of roughly $50 million every year for US companies.
When it comes to bars and restaurants, the average venue loses more than $11,000 per year due to bartender and general employee theft.
Suffice to say, employee theft is real and it’s no laughing matter.
In this article, we’ll examine how to deal with this issue if you suspect or catch someone stealing in your bar and restaurant.
Proving Employee Theft
Before we delve into the actual steps you should take during the confrontation, there’s something important that we need to discuss first: proving that theft happened in the first place.
There are several signals to look out for an investigate further:
- Physical evidence. If you find company assets in your employee’s personal belongings, then it’s possible they are stealing from you.
- Consulting your inventory. For instance, you can compare the amount of inventory consumed that day to the money in your register.
- Employee tips. More than 40% of employee theft cases are discovered through a tip from a third party, including another member of the company. These tips can serve as evidence as well.
- Video proof. The most solid evidence that you can have against stealing is the presence of video evidence. If you have a surveillance camera system and an advanced, AI-powered solution like Glimpse, you can hit the nail right on the head and prove the theft without breaking a sweat.
How to Deal With Employee Theft
Now that you know how you can gather evidence for theft, we can proceed to discuss exactly what you should do when you’re confronting the employee.
Step 1: Compile evidence
If you want to take appropriate action, you’re going to need plenty of documentation to prove that the theft did happen.
The first thing to do is to begin the process of compiling all the information that you need. This could come in the form of a file that contains documents and images relevant to the incident.
For instance, if you notice a discrepancy between your inventory and the register, document your findings and include copies of your files. Other types of evidence can include photographs or footage from your surveillance system.
It would also help if you could include a signed entry about the circumstances relating to the case and the situations that led to it. Remember to include the time and date for each document in the file.
Step 2: Gather more information
Now that you have something to build on, see if you can uncover more information to support.
This will help you see the extent of the damage done to your bar or restaurant, as well as determine whether your suspect has any accomplices who helped them conduct the crime. Finding this out now will benefit your business going forward.
One of the ways you can do this is by conducting interviews among your staff and crew and documenting their responses.
Step 3: Get in touch with your legal counsel
If you feel that you have enough evidence for a solid case, the next thing you should do is to contact your legal counsel.
You might be tempted to take executive action, such as firing the suspected employee or immediately running to the police. However, these actions may have unintended consequences that can damage your business.
For example, firing your employee after accusing them of stealing can backfire on you if it turns out that they were just framed.
Your legal counsel can help you navigate the complicated issue and advise you on the right actions to take so that you can avoid costly mistakes.
Step 4: Meet the suspected party
Once you’ve done your due diligence and gathered the right documents, your legal counsel will likely advise you to meet with the suspected employee or employees.
More often than not, there should be a formal written request sent 24 hours in advance. Your legal counsel or someone from your HR department should also be there, if applicable.
In this meeting, you will directly confront the suspected person and tell them the details about the case. This is not about blaming but rather clarifying the situation in a calm and respectful manner. Present your concerns and acknowledge the possibility that this was a mistake or a one-off incident.
The goal will be to reach an understanding of where both parties stand. Getting a confession in front of the witnesses would be the ideal outcome, but you can also agree to negotiate instead.
For example, if the crime isn’t that serious, you may want to consider withholding action as long as the item is paid for and the incident never happens again.
Step 5: File a report to the proper channels
In this step, you will officially take the action you’ve determined to be most suitable for the situation.
As mentioned, cases like this don’t always have to end up with the suspected party being taken to court. If you can come to a mutual agreement or a settlement, this whole thing can end with you filing an incident report to HR.
However, if no resolution has been agreed on, you can take the case to the police – especially if the theft involved a large amount of money or a serious data breach.
In that case, you will have to file a police report and follow the legal procedures.
Dealing With Employee Theft in Your Bar and Restaurant
For some employers, it can be challenging to imagine an employee betraying your trust. However, these things do indeed happen – and when they do, you must know the exact steps to take.
Hopefully this article will make the whole process easier and give you a good starting point when you suspect an incident.