Bar Theft - The Reality - It happens…


I know that it is something that we do not like to talk about. There are statistics quoted that say that 1 out of every 8 bartenders or cocktail servers is taking money from you, and while I choose not to believe that statistic, it does make you think about it.


I always chose to [and still do] believe in the goodness of people and like to trust all the staff that worked for me; I also believe in putting systems in place to prevent the accidental incident from becoming the norm. I heard this from someone that had been caught with the hand in the cookie jar: “The first time it happened was purely by accident, and then a couple of weeks later, I realized that no one had noticed or said anything. Then I thought, maybe I can have another accident. It then became weekly, and eventually, it was part of my income.  I couldn’t stop; it became a habit.”


How can we avoid this happening in our bar or restaurant?


Several ways come to mind. Firstly, creating, if you do not have already, detailed Beverage System Standards. This is where such things as open check audits, nightly/weekly inventory, sales comparisons, etc., as well as many other checks and balances, are put into place, signed off on, and verified.


Secondly, I highly recommend an outside resource to monitor, such as:

·         Glimpse - Video Auditing where real people match customer interactions with cash register transactions. This is highly effective at reducing theft and abuse, and is quite affordable.


·         Cash Integrity Audits -monthly audits designed to match actual cash purchases to cash collection. Mercantile Systems, Inc. is one of the best that I can personally vouch for. They are also very reasonably priced and can rotate around your different cash venues. Email me for the contact/discount information at:



Trust and verify. That is always how I have worked. You can trust your team because you verify that systems are in place. You and your team need to be aware of how this happens and how you can prevent it. Preventing any “accidental” opportunities is key for both sides.


For help creating Beverage System Standards or more information on the third-party resources, contact Russ Blakeborough, Owner/Senior Consultant at Focus F&B at: