Could better Point of Sale (POS) technology help your restaurant stay on top of employee theft? According to a new survey, it could be. Previously, National Restaurant Association research has indicated that restaurants and other food service operators experience unusually high levels of internal employee theft.
According to a paper titled “Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology
Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity” published by professors at MIT, Brigham Young University, and Washington University, POS technology could potentially solve this industry-wide problem. Their study, using restaurant guard technology that monitors employee interactions with POS systems, found that not only were losses reversed, but restaurants actually experienced greater profit beyond simply eliminating losses.
For context, National Restaurant Association research indicated that about 75% of restaurant employees steal just once, while 50% steal frequently. These thefts are linked to 75% of inventory shortages, which can have a lasting effect on consumer perception of quality. “The cumulative impact of that theft is huge across the $660 billion restaurant market,” explains Jeff Hindman, of NCR Restaurant Guard.
The software used in the study takes into account a variety of employee actions with POS systems, including voids, comps, item transfers and more, and lets employers know when there are employees who fall outside of the statistical norm. The survey points out that in some cases, the issues discovered were not intentional theft, but misunderstandings or anomalies that could be easily corrected. Installing the software, in itself, often has a positive impact on employee performance — people are less likely to steal when they know there is a system in place that can identify it happening.
Food, in many cases, is not seen by the employee as a true “product” they are taking, a perception that is often compounded by the fact that employees are asked to discard expired food that otherwise appears acceptable. POS software to address this issue can help many restaurants and food service businesses get the upper hand on product loss.
“One of the biggest features our customers appreciate about our POS is the extensive level of tracking,” says Eric Catania, CEO of Digital Reality POS for Retail and Restaurants. “Restaurant owners and managers can see every item changed after it was sent to the kitchen, every void, and every discount, along with video surveillance to monitor the cash drawers. While software alone can’t solve the problem, it certainly helps.”