How Bar Inventory Management can Help Prevent Bar Theft

How Bar Inventory Management can Help Prevent Bar Theft
Bar Inventory - November 16, 2021 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Nobody wants to think that their employees are stealing from them, but it is an unfortunate reality at many restaurants and bars - thankfully bar inventory management can help prevent it. 

While most employees are honest and only take home what they are paid, it takes just one employee to steal from your bar to have a significant impact on your inventory and damage your profit margins.

In fact, the National Restaurant Association says that 75 percent of inventory shortages are due to employee theft. 

Some of the most common methods of stealing from a restaurant or bar include: 

  1. Collecting the proper amount for the drink order but putting a lower price in the till so that the difference can be pocketed. 
  2. Giving free drinks or overpouring alcohol for friends and family, or even local merchants in exchange for merchandise and services. 
  3. Saying that a customer walked out without paying and pocketing the money the customer paid. 
  4. Bringing in bottles of liquor to sell and pocketing the cash. 
  5. Serving free alcohol or undercharging to receive larger tips. 
  6. Adding water to bottles of alcohol to sell more shots. 
  7. Charging customer premium prices and ringing in lower-cost brands to pocket the difference. 
  8. Charging regular prices but ringing in sale prices to pocket the difference. 
  9. Recording false spills or voids. 
  10. Using other staff members accounts to ring in sales so their tills appear short when cash is pocketed. 
  11. Keeping any overages found during end of shift cash outs instead of reporting discrepancies. 
  12. Underpouring a certain amount and then keeping the cash for every X amount of drinks sold. 
  13. Repouring leftovers from bottle sales and selling to customers by the glass. 

How can bar inventory management help you prevent employee theft? 

If you’ve noticed that register sales aren’t picking up like they should be or have any other reason to be suspicious of employee theft, then there are steps you can take. Accurate and consistent bar inventory counts are the best method!

Bar inventory is the process of tracking all the alcohol in your establishment so that you know how much inventory you used and how much you sold during any specific time period. While this can help you prevent theft by showing where you are missing stock, it has a huge number of other benefits as well from insights into financial performance, understanding which products are performing well (or not) and better data to improve ordering decisions. 

By using a bar inventory control solution to manage your stock and flag any discrepancies, you will also create accountability for your staff - reducing the chances of them taking advantage of unmonitored stock.

Other things to consider that can help you prevent employee theft include screening employees before hiring them or installing surveillance within your stock rooms. 

Are you interested in learning more about how bar inventory management can help you prevent bar theft? We’d love to help. Get in touch with Sculpture Hospitality today

Contact your Local Inventory Consultant Today


A Complete Buyer's Guide to Food & Beverage Inventory Management Systems

With around 25 to 35 percent of a restaurant’s operating budget dedicated to purchasing food (that’s not even taking into account beverage inventory costs for the bar), proper inventory management can significantly improve expected revenue.

To maximize profits you need to improve visibility and control over your restaurant or bar’s inventory. 

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