Employees are entering coupons wrong...what can I do?

I would appreciate some help here. We have discounts and coupon specials that we offer such as “Free appetizer with purchase of x-large pizza”, “Buy one pizza, get the second one 1/2 off”, etc. Each of the discounts have certain restrictions such as free appetizer does not include the Combo Platter. Second pizza must be of equal or lesser value, etc. Also, we don’t allow multiple coupons on the same order (for example, you can’t get a pizza half off and then another $2.00 off). Anyway, my employees know the rules but apparently get sloppy or lazy when entering them because they don’t always enter them correctly.

How do you all handle situations where the employees do this? They are constantly reminded of the rules, so I feel like I should start telling them that I am going to take the differences out of their paycheck. I don’t know if that is the right thing to do, but I am tired of seeing sales rung up the wrong way, and I know that the dollars here and there can really add up. Sometimes I can catch it when it happens, but sometimes I am not there to see it, or the customer has already been given their total, so it is too late.

Any tips on how you all handle this situation?

Thanks in advance!


I can see this issue can be maddening as well as costly. Do you use a POS system? If so, which one? We may be able to help set that for you . . .or at least those who know about those things anyway.

It seems that you might need a policy that provides some incentives and punishments for correctness/errors. Either way, you are probably within your legal rights to require accuracy and penalize employees for making ongoing errors. Could be a morale nightmare if done poorly. I suspect that making a policy of bonusing those who make no errors would make more difference . . . reinforcing the desired behavior puts the focus on the desired outcome and values correct performance. Set up some form of expectation and privately reprimand those who consistently violate the policy. Write up a progressive consequnce that could involve a monetary penalty like you mention, a suspension without pay, and up to dismissal. Decide if this issue is important enough to go all the way, and put it in writing so evryone knows the rules . . . include the part about a small monetary or other bonus/reward for correct perfromance.

Once they have the habit, you can change the performance needed . . . instead of per week, it can be for two weeks performance and so on. Reinforcement of correct behaviors is important while building the habit . . . then you can find a way ease it back later.


We use Point of Success and I have it set up to limit certain items on particular offers, but it isn’t 100% foolproof, unless I have it set up wrong.

I like the idea about positive reinforcement. Might have to try that one!


I’d look into the POS settings.
My system has the ability to incorporate all the rules you mentioned. And some that were weirder - though I did get some help setting those up from the vendor.
It just won’t let you do something if you don’t have the qualifying products. Plus, it has an “information” button that pops up a description of any special or coupon for the cashier or phone person, in case they don’t know what the “Family Value Package” is, or what a “Tuesday BOGO” is…

Your best answers on specific Point of Success questions get answered in detail on the Point of Success Round Table forum http://www.posroundtable.com/wowbb/ give it a try.

The flip side of ringing in the wrong way is the customer is getting ripped off. For example if the customer lists off toppings on a “Make It Your Way” pizza and lists all the toppings on my house special the 14" pizza would cost the customer over $7 extra.

The only way i have been able to make sure every order is put in the system properly is to do it my self. And that doesn’t happen very often.

I use Point of Success too. You definately want to check the “Cannot combine discounts” box.

One thing I finally figured out to use is the “Target Price” discount. It might help you in what you’re doing. I didn’t get it for a long time and Inborne’s KB had nothing on it. This is a good discount to use for doing combo discounts. We are currently running one with a “buy a medium specialty + a medium pepperoni for $15.99”. Because there are various prices for the medium specialties, I couldn’t use neither “amount off” or “percent off”. But I set the target price to $15.99 and used the combination option. I put all of the medium specialties and medium pepperoni in both the required products tab and the products to discount tab. Now it works great. Exactly how it’s supposed to. Plus, my cashiers can’t combine the discount because I checked that box.

As far as getting the employees to do the right thing, you just have to stay on top of them and let them know how important it is to do it right. Be a coach. Let them know that the success of the restaurant depends on them using the right procedures. I personally don’t like scare tactics, because it hurts overall morale. Treat them to a meal when they continuously perform well. It’s a pretty inexpensive way to reinforce good performance.

Good luck.

This may also be a sign of theft…check and see if it the same person and if they have anything to gain from doing it.

Kris is right. Check on the theft angle. My POS allows me to see when the coupons are entered. If they are being entered after the sale is rung up you have “leakage”.

Also, I think if you look into it you will find that you can not take money ouot of the employees wages to make up for this issue. What you can do, however is what was suggested above, bonus the employees that are doing it right.

I use a presumtive bonus. If the cash handling is smooth, store is clean and food/labor costs are in line the full time team gets a bonus. If any of those things are not what they should be, the bonus gets smaller… fast.