Guy Purdy, an EPOS Systems Specialist at Bleep UK PLC offers his thoughts on ‘shrinkage’ in the hospitality sector.
“In the hospitality industry staff turnover is high. Generally speaking, you have long-term members of staff who are totally dedicated to the business and your values, but you also have people coming and going with little loyalty and possibly, very few scruples.
Some studies estimate that as many 50% of hospitality employees will commit an act of dishonesty, including sweet hearting and misappropriation of stock.
From my hospitality experience, many staff don’t see anything wrong with giving away drinks to friends or pouring a few for themselves. Add to this dining and dashing on tabs and tables, fraudulent debit card transactions and subsequent chargebacks, then the average business can lose between 4% and 6% of their income.
So how do you protect your profits from theft?
1. Do Things In-Person – The are a lot of tech savvy people out there and they can get a basic system up and running, with the basic features. However, with a skilled, experienced EPOS Specialist and Engineer with you in-person, seeing your business environment, discussing your business needs – you will get so much more. Most hospitality workers know the basic features nearly every EPOS system covers; however, every system is different, and they will have different security features and different ways to spot potential dishonesty. Use their experience to guide you, ask them lots of questions, ask about security features you’ve heard of or used in the past. With an engineer installing on-site for you, they can implement all these features and discuss ones you haven’t even thought of, leaving you with a solution that perfectly fits your business.
2. Implement Security Levels – Certain functions on the EPOS System are open to abuse, for example, Voids, Error Correct, Refunds, No Sale, Discounts, Reports, etc. Where possible you should restrict these features for a manager only, or in the case of error correct, put it to last item only for general staff. They can still be abused by managers, but at least you’ve narrowed down who is doing it, which brings us onto CCTV and back office reporting.
3. Back Office Reporting – From your basic reports at the till, you should be able to see if you’re up or down. You’ll probably be able to see how many voids and no sales have gone through. However, you will probably find it a bit more difficult to find who put them through and when, plus you have a lot of paper to look through. With a good cloud back office software, you’ll be able to see exactly what is happening, when it’s happening and with whom, in real time. If you see one of your staff you suspect of sweet hearting handing a lot of drinks over the bar, you can check from the back office in real time, on your phone, whether all of those drinks are accounted for. Searching for a particular void, at a particular time, with a particular member of staff is as simple as a few clicks.
4. CCTV Integrated with EPOS – So you already have CCTV, but have you got hours to spend each day watching CCTV for dodgy transactions? With high end CCTV to EPOS back office integration, you can search your back office for voids, refunds or no sales – all it takes is a simple click – then you have the footage of that transaction. If you see that the employee is up to no good, you can then take appropriate action. This is also good for card chargebacks, which will save you even more money.
5. Stock Control – You’ve got controls on the front end of the system, you’ve zeroed in on staff with their hands in the till…. but stock is still going missing…. how do find out what is going on? With efficient stock control in the back office software, you will know exactly how much of each product you should have in at any given time. Once you establish a stock item is down, you can simply do a hot stock on suspicious shifts until you work out exactly who is involved.
6. Customer Facing Displays – Sometimes staff not only steal from the business, but also the customer as well. With customer facing displays the customer can see exactly what they are being charged for and this can also deter staff from error correcting items off at the end of a transaction when stealing from you.
7. Dispense Management and Beer Flow Monitors – The quickest and easiest way to check that your stock is matching what you are selling, is to implement Dispense Management and Beer Flow Monitors. These communicate from where the spirits are dispensed, the pints are poured, or bottles opened, directly to the back office software, meaning you have a real time measure of how your stock tallies against your sales. This should eliminate sweet hearting and staff helping themselves to drinks, as well as make it significantly harder for them to walk out with stock.
8. Handheld EPOS – I know what you’re thinking: handhelds are to speed up and improve service! They are but it’s not only staff that steal from hospitality businesses and if you are using handheld EPOS your staff don’t have to leave the table service area and can keep an eye out for any potential dine and dashers – especially useful if you have an outside terrace!
To find our more about how Bleep can help you reduce shrinkage and protect your revenues, contact us today on 020 8961 5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org