My manager had been with me since I opened, about 5 years now. He started with me as a teenager who struggled to run the cut table and developed into one of the best workers I have ever seen. He was almost like family to me, I wanted to help him succeed so badly. I had just recently given him a $1.50 raise and had developed a plan with him to give him another $3.50 raise before the year end. I had serious talks with him about opening another store and having him possibly becoming a multi-store manager and pushing his pay even higher. If he ever had a problem with anything in life I was there to help him out. When he totalled his car I helped him store it free of charge and assisted him in working with the insurance company to receive his compensation. I took him to basketball games and paid for everything. I truly considered him a brother.
I think it is partly my fault that this happened, I was too comfortable. There were signs smashing me in the face that I just ignored due to my overwhelmingly good relationship with him. Issues with the cheese count constantly not being correct, going through more food than was in the pos and general food cost inaccuracies. I always just shrugged and speculated that we were not portioning correctly.
The discovery came yesterday. I received a text from him that we were out of ham just 3 days after receiving a sizable order. This was the second week in a row that we ran out of ham at an exceptional rate. I decided to make my way down to the store and see if we had maybe sold a ton of ham and cheese subs or some other way to rationalize why we were flying through so many toppings. As I am marauding through the food report in the point of success menu I decide to look and see if there was a better report. My mouse cursor landed on the audit report, which I knew had nothing to do with food cost, and I decided to click on it. I had not run this report in a very long time, I thought I had the best crew and did not need to, I never even considered it. As soon as the report flashed on the screen I could see a problem immediately. Payment on ticket number 388890 of $50 has been voided. The ticket had been cashed out at 5:30, payment was voided at 10:30 and the ticket was edited. There was almost $50 of food on the ticket initially and after it had been altered all that remained was a breadstick. The now $4 dollar ticket was paid out and the remaining $40 disappeared. My managers name was plastered everywhere. I start looking and finding more and more, each time my managers name is popping up. I got through 1 months worth of orders and find $532 in tickets altered in this manner. I look back to November and see it occurring there also. I currently believe it may be possible that he has taken almost $5,000 from me if not more.
I am going to confront him in a few hours, he saw me looking at the tickets and he may be somewhat aware that I at least am curious about them. I still do not know what I am going to say, but I do know he will not be working for me anymore. I only slept 2 hours last night and I can honestly say I have never felt more betrayed. This may be the wake-up call I needed though, I can not trust anybody. I will not make this same mistake again. I hope that perhaps my lesson can reinforce the importance of never getting too comfortable.
This happens. Must do your best to make sure your systems and procedures don’t allow this type of stuff. Audit everything especially after your day off. You will grow from this and come out a better owner/operator. You must not think you can’t trust anyone or you’ll become a prisoner there and run yourself to death. You also will never grow and be subject to one location forever.
In the future, think about adding a bonus system that allows the manager profit sharing so he/she takes ownership in your business. I base my bonuses off of the P&L. The better the manager runs costs, most notably food/labor, the more bonus he/she makes. Before you know it, you have a finely tuned machine even in your absence and you’ll be able to add a 2nd location.
By simply doing daily or weekly inventory and auditing your sales reports daily which include voided receipts, you will show your management you are watching even when you’re not there. Put in a camera system above the register, above the safe, above the entrances, etc if you feel the need.
“Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re bust. When you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems. And when you’re down, you never think you’ll get back up again but life goes on.”
I feel you pain. A few years back I fired an indispensable lead employee, could i run the shop without them? Fears, would their friends and family quit ? Had to do it. Result, the bottom line net jumped upwards in a huge way. New people that were fun to work with came on board and my fears were a thing of the past. I’ve noticed that when employees won’t look you in the eye or start not liking you for no reason, it is a sign they do not want to be around the person they are ripping off.
Yup… been there. It sucks. Fire him and move on. You do not need to tell him why and I would not put it in writing. Sometimes better not to bother. Just tell him he is done. Get his key. Have the doors re-keyed today. If he files unemployment just let it ride.
The times that someone has called me for a reference on someone that we fired the conversation went something like this (given in a firm voice):
I am calling for a reference on a former employee of yours, Mr Scumbag Stickyfinger. What can you tell me about him? “I can confirm that he worked here from May of 2010 through April of 2015. I have nothing else to say about him.”
Was he a good employee? “I can confirm that he worked here from May of 2010 through April of 2015. I have nothing else to say about him.”
Do you work directly with him? “I can confirm that he worked here from May of 2010 through April of 2015. I have nothing else to say about him.”
Would you hire him again: “I can confirm that he worked here from May of 2010 through April of 2015. I have nothing else to say about him.”
We as employers are very limited as to what we can say due to lawsuits against employers for references that are not stellar.
I typically tell the person checking on them that I am limited, but if they were to ask me if I would hire them back, I can answer that with a yes or a no answer. As soon as they start to ask, I say a very firm “NO” and actually interrupt their question while doing so.
They easily understand the message that I am trying to convey well enough. and I do not put myself in an actionable position by answering a yes or no question asked by that person.
I do remember hearing about an employer getting sued for not telling another employer about an ex-employees violent history, and the guy seriously injured someone at his new job.
So, we are screwed either way I guess
Well, Tuesday morning I went into work and got the camera system down. I hooked it up to the front computer screens and prepared for my confrontation with him. I had planned to beat him to the store, but I think he knew something was up and showed up uncharacteristically early to work. I walked in and he looked at me with this morose facial expression. I said, " you know what this is don’t you?" He said yes. I asked him why he did it and he just said he needed the money. I retorted that he should have come to me and I would have done everything in my power to help him out. I think in reality it was just the first thing that came into his head. There were more hours for him to work even within the 5-day work week as well as a bonus program that I had set up that he never really tried to get. I got the computers yesterday and it looks like it is about $11,000 stolen. This wasn’t hidden from me, Point Of Success had his crimes flagged and wrote a novel of issues. My problem was I never checked it. I have learned from this and I am going to work on developing better security procedures including utilizing the tools my POS has given me to check for discrepancies on a regular basis. I continue to make mistakes in this industry, however, I generally look to grow from them. Perhaps some day I will stop making these mistakes.
I’ve Been there. I’ve learned to trust no one. Even the best employees will steal. I think after 5 years, I have nipped the pure cash theft in the bud by using the POS actively. But just recently I caught one of my best employees pouring free drinks (which is silly because, as a bartender, she is allowed a $35 waste ticket). You will never stop theft, but by actively managing it, we can minimize it I suppose. Thiefs are surprisingly creative. Sounds like your guy copped to it pretty quick, but once I’ve caught thief with the POS, I usually hire a PI to mystery shop and create the perfect environment for the theft. The PI will document it for you and, if necessary, testify. This gives the employee no “outs”. It’s probably overkill but before I accuse someone of theft, I want to have rock solid evidence (probably the lawyer in me).
For a while, I had to disallow all voiding, editing, and discarding of tickets by anyone other than me to stop product from walking out the door.
It wasn’t a theft issue, it was an incompetence issue with a cashier who just could not get with the program. She just could not retain anything that was taught to her.
It went way beyond that too, she was giving people the wrong orders for pick-up, charging customers wrong tickets even though there are names & ticket numbers on all of our tickets, wrong promise times, not getting addresses for deliveries, I had over 100 people lised in our database with the same name “Wireless Caller”
Enough was enough and had to let her go. If I looked at the audit reports, it looked like blatant, outright theft, but it wasn’t. She would forget how to edit a ticket, so she would start a new one and void the one she already had open, then things would go missing and the customer was not being charged for those items, some days that would be around $350.00 walking out the door.
My point; if you see funky things on your audit report, it may not be theft, it may just be incompetence causing your profits to dwindle.
I won’t say too much about it because it’s going to trial soon, but we recently caught an employee at our other carryout who had been a friend of our family since before I was born stealing lottery from us. We have records to show it was over $12,000 worth, not counting any winnings from those tickets. We have a system in place to check these things, but it had been down for a few months and we trusted everyone so much that fixing it wasn’t a priority. The store kept losing money and we couldn’t figure out why. We fixed the issue and my mom started digging through the books and it became clear. Despite working 15% of the hours, this employee was there for 95% of the discrepancies. The other 5% were found to be just typing the wrong amount into the computer.
Like someone said, the money is bad, but being burnt by someone you trusted is the worst part. You feel like you can’t trust anyone. But if you have the system in place and you use it, you can trust people. It not only catches the dishonest, but it also validates the ones who do a good job.
Tonight and lunch i was the waiter (i’m 59). My wife Val was the cashier hostess, no one touched the money except us. I know it’s dinosaur and people ask why i wait tables :i love people ,make less mistakes,give bette make tips, save all the unrung giveaways waitstaff give to make better tips, save the wage of paying someone else,save the food they give to friends, save the food they eat, add all this up and it is huge ! I did it for 15 years the easier way with more employees i “trusted”,result -maybe 8-10 % net on my gross, now 30% + on my gross. whew what a difference ! Hope this helps , i realize we are small and this won’t work for everyone.
This story upset me for quite a bit after reading it. It just brings up old memories of when it happened to me, it wasn’t much money and it didn’t go on long, but it’s the thinking you can totally trust someone and than realizing you couldn’t. It’s not a good feeling, as I’m sure others will agree with.
I needed the money actually translates to I wanted the money. Unless they picked up a drug habit.
I would at least try to call the police, that’s a lot of money. That’s embezzlement in any other line of work, I don’t understand why in the food industry we just have to take it and move on and not mention it to anyone for fear of prosecution? There never seems to be consequences for these problems (besides job loss, but than you get that sweet unemployment cash so who cares?) and if there was, that would probably prevent half of them from ever happening. The whole thing is ass backwards in my opinion.
A friend of mine owns a pub that also serves food, one day he started getting calls from customers saying that they got overcharged, he thought it may have been an honest mistake on a servers part, then he started getting many calls from concerned customers.
So he pulled up all his paper slips and ran POS reports from the weekend to find out what happened,
He found that one of his servers was changing tip amounts when finalizing cards, to the tune of a few hundred bucks in her 2 shifts, He called the police, they had zero interest in pursuing this, they said it is up to the card issuers, so he called the affected card issuers, they had no interest in pursuing this, he pays out CC tips at end of shift, so he payed back the customers who got cheated by this server, and he had no legal authority to get reimbursed by this thieving server besides hiring an attorney and having a small claims case. Of course that would have cost more than the amount lost.
Hence the reason our CC tips show up in payroll as opposed to being paid out at end of shift., it affords some time to overlook figures and see if someone is a thief.
A few weeks back I had a non-tipped employee entering cash tip claims during clocking out, he thought this money he claimed would magically show up on his check, I let it slide because I knew the only thing would happen is he’d lose a generous chunk of his pay to taxes. And, that was his last day too.
Oh yeah man, there were red flags, fireworks, and sirens sounding over many issues and I for some reason never put it together. All the inconsistencies make so much sense now, why is cheese usage off etc… I have a few new protocols in place now to try and stave off future occurrences.