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Are your employees “counting” away your profit?

Some staff like to make a little extra on the side...

Monday 28 August 2017

and will employ many different counting tricks to track their “earnings”.  Counting strategies are one of the oldest tricks in the book, however with the improvement in EPOS reports, increasing the data available, dishonest employees have had to refine their counting techniques. 

Common counting methods

  • Placing coins in the incorrect compartment of the draw

  • Placing notes upside down in the note draw

  • “Competitive challenge”

    • This is where an employee engages another to participate in a “shift sales competition”.They record on a piece of paper the number of side orders they sell to see who is best at upselling.In reality, the thief is recording the number of unrecorded transactions.

  • Scraps of paper in the till

    • Like the above counting technique, though less sophisticated

  • Moving items around on the bar

    • Straws, coasters, napkins, cups or garnishes moved from one side of the register to the other

How does counting work

Picture the scene: A cashier decides to use “Rump Steak” as their theft mechanism during their shift.  When a guest orders a rump steak the employee rings it up in the register and subtotal the bill so the guest can see the amount owed.  If the guest pays cash for the meal, the employee clears the sale, just placing the cash in the draw and give the guest their change.  At the same time, the employee uses one of the counting methods to record the “sale”.

Once the shift is over, or at convenient points during service i.e. prior to a break, the employee counts the number of coins, notes, or whatever and removes the appropriate amount of cash from the register.  This ensures that when the till is counted the cash will match the sales on the x-reading or z-reading.

How to spot counting

Regularly check the quantity of notes and change in your till.  If you spot coins out of place or notes the wrong way up correct the “mistake”.  This tells you there is a thief operating, you then need to keep an eye on the register.

It is a good idea to regularly change out your till draws.  Bearing in mind that a thief may take the cash out when going on a break.  Swap the draw out at random points throughout service and before any breaks.

Monitor void, complimentary items, no sales, and sub-totalled or cleared transactions.  Though a high level of these may indicate need for additional training, it is extremely likely that they are masking the activities of a thief.

Never allow staff to void their own transactions or give them the managers key/code so they can carry out their own voids.

Keep a close eye on employees who wants items voided after their till has been closed and they learn the cash doesn’t balance or those that conveniently “find” the £20 note they were short.  These are warning signs that they have miscalculated the amount they have skimmed.

Watch out for employees who have too much cash in their tills.  This could mean they lost count of how much they had skimmed during the session or the till was closed before they took “their” cash out.


 If you would like further advice or help then please send me an email, give me a call or message me on LinkedIn.


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