Train Managers to Watch the Clock

 In 1. David Scott Peters, SMART Systems

By David Scott Peters
(As adapted from my FohBoh-ist post on FohBoh.)

I was recently interviewed as a restaurant expert about how to keep restaurant employees from riding the clock and robbing restaurant owners of precious labor dollars. It struck me as great information to share hear as well.

In some restaurants, there are employees who have more than one job code, or job role. Employees may try to take advantage of this and clock in with the higher-paying job code for the lower-paying shift.

Independent restaurant owners are especially vulnerable to these kinds of schemes when they don’t have a tracking system in place.

To combat clocking in with different job codes, or from general time clock abuse, I offer restaurant owners two easy solutions:

1. I highly recommend this method and it’s the easiest: Train managers to include monitoring the time clock as part of their daily to-do checklist. Each day when they come in, managers should make a list of who is coming in at what time and in what job role. Then throughout the day, as shifts start and end, they should check who punched in at what time and under what job code. It’s easy and takes seconds each day. It shouldn’t be skipped any day and should be part of the daily checklist.

2. The other solution that is also easy, but not my first choice, is to use the POS system time clock. This way you can lock people out from logging in too early or late, and under the wrong job code. The reason this isn’t my preferred solution is because it becomes cumbersome with all the schedule changes, which happen daily in the restaurant industry. The managers have to go in and manually change the POS system each time there is a schedule change and it can be a real pain. But it’s another great way to maximize the tools found on your POS system.

Whether you have this specific issue in your restaurant or not, I always say, the best way to keep honest people honest is to not give them any opportunity to be dishonest. Have systems in place to prevent your employees from stealing from you, whether from the clock or the walk-in.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, coach, trainer and speaker, specializing in systems for independent restaurant owners. He is known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant in the United Stated and find you $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door … Guaranteed! Visit for more.

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