New Technology At Restaurants Helps Prevent Employee Theft
With dark sunglasses masking her famous face, Hillary Clinton thought she had gone undetected in April when she visited an Ohio Chipotle. But the restaurant’s security camera captured her ordering a chicken burrito bowl, and the footage provided fodder for political reporters.
Patrons are being watched in many restaurants. But it goes well beyond cameras—employees are undergoing extensive scrutiny because of advances in employee monitoring software. Delaget LLC, an Eden Prairie-based software company with over 10,000 restaurant clients, provides hospitality businesses with data to increase their efficiency and profitability. It recently introduced a new software product called Guard, which analyzes point-of-sale restaurant data to help managers identify loss that includes employee theft.
When an employee is taking an order at the cash register, says Delaget CEO Jason Tober, it’s possible “to delete items or delete tickets either before or after the transaction is tendered, and that creates an opportunity for theft.”
Some restaurant employees may want to provide free food to friends or relatives, or take money out of the till, Tober says, so his company offers a sophisticated analytics tool to catch the theft, comparing employee transactions within a given store and against other stores, and identifying patterns to flag problems. Tober estimates 5 to 7 percent of a restaurant’s revenue is up for grabs.
“When I hear about theft concerns, it is usually about loss of inventory—hamburger patties or steaks going out the back door,” says Dan McElroy, executive vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant Association.
Tober believes having loss prevention software in place can also deter that kind of theft. “It changes the culture,” Tober says, noting that theft can be acute in quick-service restaurants that pay low wages and have high turnover.
In an email to McElroy, a multi-unit Minnesota Subway franchisee wrote: “My restaurants use a proprietary surveillance system that is integrated with our point-of-sale systems. The system has extensive reporting of suspicious transactions. We can then click on the transaction to view the video of the transaction and the key strokes entered by the employee.”