Server Crime Syndicate — A Cunning Culprit of Restaurant Fraud

Ginger HollowellRestaurant POSLeave a Comment

Employee theft in restaurants is a rampant issue. Would you believe that 75 percent of restaurant employees steal from their workplace at least once, if not repeatedly? In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, internal employee theft is responsible for 75 percent of inventory shortages, and up to seven percent of restaurant sales.

This is a true story that happened to friends of ours that own a great seafood restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I am not sure how they finally figured it all out, but it had been going on for quite a while, involving several employees who had all worked for them for a long time.

The scene involved a waiter, bus boy, dishwasher and cook. Apparently when lobster or steak was delivered in boxes, the people in this “crime syndicate” hid one box of lobster or steak. Later it was repackaged in a plastic bag and staged inside a trash can. When there was a knock on the back door to the kitchen, the connivers knew that a get-away car was in the alley. Time to take out the trash!

This would be bad enough, but it actually gets worse. Another restaurant in town had one of their waiters get a job with my friends’ restaurant to set up the syndicate. The stolen lobster and steak ended up in the competitor’s restaurant, where they received food for almost zero cost on the stolen goods (they did have to pay off the syndicate to make it all happen)!

Other ways employees can be in cahoots:

Hostesses help qualify cash paying customers depending on their profile of being college students or how the customer dresses, and passes the info off to a manager or friendly waiter who rewards the hostess with a cut of the tips.

Busboys and food runners are good at causing distractions and passing verbal orders secretly to the syndicate cooks that are not entered into a POS system.

Bartenders pour extra drinks for a split from the waiter who has cash-paying customers.

Waiters have even been known to create a fake scene pretending a cash-paying customer left the restaurant without paying. He may even run outside pretending to run after the culprit! The manager is in on the action and he voids the ticket.

Be aware of the server crime syndicate!

With 20 years’ experience in merchant services and POS full-service restaurant and tablet systems, we’ve done a ton of research on the many ways restaurant owners are losing profits.

At Electronic Money Company, our purpose is to ease the confusion and pain of merchant services from the beginning through the life of your business. We serve with honesty, integrity, transparency, respect and care. We aim to be the best choice for merchant services, period!

Call us at 505-296-2847, to start a conversation about how we can help you abate the server crime syndicate, or keep you from losing money on restaurant profit siphons you may not be even be aware of!