Is Your Bartender Up to No Good? NCR Silver Can Help

In the popular scam bible, How to Burn Down the House, two anonymous bartenders delve into, in sensationalistic detail, how to stick it to the man.

One such scam details how coupons and other vouchers can be used for nefarious purposes by an enterprising bartender or server. To sum it up, the employee basically applies a voucher after the fact, keeping the loot. Cha-ching!

“In this way,” the scammers write, “you are left with the cash incentive intended for the customer and at the same time titillate your manager’s pleasure centers as he falsely perceives a good return on his promotional endeavors.”

No POS system will eliminate fraud. But NCR Silver offers some safety measures to help minimize fraud, and alerts and reporting that can help you identify it.

As for vouchers, NCR Silver and NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition offer back office alerts for applied discounts by employee. It’s based on a six-week average and tracks unusually high activity, alerting you to an employee who is applying higher than average discounts.

This alert can also ID an employee potentially giving discounts to friends, or, as depicted in the above example, an employee who is mysteriously offering too many.

Here are some other ways NCR Silver and NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition can help your bar or eatery win this never-ending war:

Introducing the ‘blind count’

It all boils down to cash drawer accountability to reduce fraud and increase accountability.

With NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition’s upcoming 3.10 release in February 2016,  you can now limit a drawer to one person.

Any mistakes are now tied to that person. With this version, at the beginning of a shift, you can assign an employee to a drawer. He’s responsible for that drawer, leaving no doubt at the end of a shift.

Also, Silver Pro Restaurant Edition doesn’t reveal what the drawer owner’s expected cash total is. This is called a “blind count.” He or she has to declare the amount counted.

This is a highly desired feature, and is intended to reduce the likelihood of fraud, says Shawn Hagist, director, Product Management, NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition.

NCR Silver offers many reports and alerts that can show red flags such as cleared items.

NCR Silver offers many reports and alerts that can show red flags such as cleared items.

Tracking cleared items and tickets

The scenario starts with an employee ringing up a food item and a drink. Let’s say the total is $10. Said employee deletes the drink from the ticket, but gives change for the original amount. He or she then keeps the amount for the drink.

These types of actions show up in the Employee Activity Report, Shift Report and Daily Summary. If the average employee has one a shift, and another has 10, you may have a problem.

“To a major operator, if this scam is perpetrated 10 times a day at just $1, that’s potentially north of $200 lost by the house every month for just one employee,” says Kristin Schoonover, director Product Management, NCR Silver. “If you have a lot of cleared items from one employee, you may have something going on, even if it’s just careless mistakes.”

Dual cash drawers for Silver Register

In the upcoming 3.10 version (Feb. 2016), customers using NCR Silver Register, an all-in-one Android-based POS system, will get the ability to assign a drawer to each employee.

This leaves no doubt who is at fault for a shortage. It’s also a technology differentiator that should help identify fraud, and potentially make a wayward employee think twice.

Tracking ‘no sales’

This involves popping the cash drawer with no ticket, which could lead to downright theft.

“By seeing this number in the back office, you can talk to an employee with a high number of no sales,” Schoonover says. “The minute you call the employee out, he’s going to be nervous.”

Hagist heads up product development for NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition.

Hagist heads up product development for NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition.

Theft happens in many forms

Chances are, most if not all of your employees are good people. But there will always be a bad apple. And theft can be very subtle.

“I would say nearly every bartender steals in some way,” says Hagist, who worked for many years in various capacities in the hospitality industry. “Sometimes, it’s theft by taking payment for a drink and putting it directly into the tip jar. Other times, it’s just a bartender giving a friend a longer pour.”

Hagist continues: “A lot of restaurants tolerate some of this behavior, because it can be good for business. But there is a line that sometimes gets crossed in which it’s better for the bartender and not the house.”

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