How to Stop Theft in Your Restaurant – A Miniseries

 In 1. David Scott Peters, bar, Employees, Leadership, Operations, SMART Systems, Training

Theft is a reality of doing business. The more employees you have, the greater your risk. You have to trust people with your cash, product and customers because you can’t do it all yourself, let alone at the same time.

Enter employee theft statistics into a search engine and this is what you’ll find:

First result –

  • The FBI calls employee theft “the fastest growing crime in America!”
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of employees steal from the workplace and most do so repeatedly.
  • One-third of all U.S. corporate bankruptcies are directly caused by employee theft.
  • The Boston Globe and Denver Post newspapers recently reported that U.S. companies lose nearly $400 billion per year in lost productivity due to “time theft” or loafing.
  • The American Society of Employers estimates that 20 percent of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is lost to employee theft.

Are those stats eye-opening, or what?!

Most of the time restaurant owners don’t know the many ways that theft is happening in their restaurants. I want to help you virtually eliminate theft in your restaurant. Before we get to elimination, let’s review why employees steal? I think it helps us have insight into the problem.

  • They have personal financial issues or they just can’t manage their money.
  • They feel they are underpaid and/or overworked.
  • They live a lifestyle their job cannot keep up with
  • They are on drugs!

What situations inspire theft?

  • Lack of workplace culture where honesty is the standard.
  • Weak financial reporting and/or product tracking.
  • Management doesn’t look at the numbers.
  • Owner and/or management are dishonest.

Understanding how employees steal is the first step in preventing theft from occurring. The reality of it all is that dishonest people are going to steal and there is really nothing you can do about it. They don’t care about you, your family or your business. They don’t think about the consequences of getting caught. They just don’t think. So we’re not going to try and change those people.

Instead, the goal is to keep honest people honest!

Do you have a story of discovering theft in your restaurant? What did you do about it? Share with us in the comments below.

Look for my next blog post about how we’ll keep honest people honest.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker and founder of Rather than focus on cheap thrills and destructive restaurant marketing tactics, he specializes in teaching independent restaurant owners how to use systems for increased sales and increased profits. He is the nationally acclaimed restaurant coach whose unique “SMART Systems” approach to boosting profits has earned him the title of, “The man who can walk into any restaurant in America and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door – Guaranteed!” Learn more tips, tricks and secrets in David’s free weekly e-newsletter, “Instant Action Systems.” Simply sign up to receive the e-newsletter at

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