How POS Systems Prevent Beverage Theft and Waste

Bartenders can take a guest’s order, make it, and collect payment with little or no accountability. Stir in the fact a majority of their income is from tips. That’s why it’s not hard to believe that 75 percent of all inventory shrinkage happens as a result of theft, according to the National Restaurant Association.

“Free” alcohol is one of the problems along with over-pouring, spills, mistakes, and inadequate pricing structures that contribute to high beverage costs. One way for keeping these costs low and margins high is to have proven systems in place for inventory control, training, service, cash monitoring procedures, and financial reporting tools that alert you when costs spike. Your point-of-sale (POS) system can help with it all.

Giving away free drinks may not seem like a big deal here and there, but it adds up. Assuming a conservative $50 worth of drinks are given away a day for a whole year, you’ve lost $18,250! This can be avoided with a well setup POS system.

Here are a few functions that a POS system can provide to prevent theft and waste:

  • Increases employee accountability by tracking inventory. Your point-of-sale system can be programmed to track sales for each menu item. Likewise, each menu item should be tied to industry-standard report groupings. For even better cost control, consider adding subcategories for every different pour size within each of the report groups. For example, if you sell multiple sizes of draft beer, create a subcategory for each pour size. The idea behind this is to make it easier to track the total volume of draft beer that was accounted for so that it can be compared with the actual volume used for the same period.
  • Removes opportunities for employees to pocket cash without ringing up items by enforcing the cash drawer is only opened when a transaction is completed.
  • Enforces cash accountability by requiring cashiers to do a blind money drop. That means the employee adds up the money in the drawer without knowing the actual total sales from the register. When employees are pocketing money using various techniques, they will often make sure the money exactly matches the drawer count, and pocket the rest. In fact, many savvy managers consider bartenders that perfectly match EVERY single night to be the most likely thieves.
  • Video cameras integrated to your POS system can be invaluable for enforcing ticket-ringing policy. They have been used successfully to catch thieves in action. Your POS station is recorded so that sales transactions are overlaid onto the real-time video recording. This is extremely effective when you suspect your bartender of ringing items less expensive but collecting full price.
  • Customer displays are used to show the price of each item being rung and the total of the bill. Many customers will watch this process and ultimately challenge any discrepancies, providing a built-in safeguard for keeping your bartenders honest.
  • One of the hardest things to detect is when someone is stealing cash while multiple people have access to a given cash drawer, a common practice in many bars. Many operators defend this practice by saying they cannot afford, or do not have the space to provide POS stations for each bartender needing access. However, you don’t need separate POS terminals. Most POS workstations can be configured to work with multiple cash drawers, each assigned to a different bartender.

In summary, a POS system can prevent theft and waste through inventory control, video surveillance, data reporting, and more! Call Bepoz for more information on how you can implement a POS system into your bar.