Spotting employee theft during bottle services can be difficult, due to the nature of the service. That does not mean it is impossible. All it takes is a little more knowledge and awareness to be able to pick up on warning signs or red flags that there is something more devious going on with one of your employees.
When you suspect employee theft happening from one of your bartenders, you probably picked up on a few red flags like inconsistent/ over pours of liquor, or maybe too many free drinks being handed over. During a bottle service, however, you cannot look for free shots coming out of a bottle, as a sign of theft.
During a bottle service, the patron has paid for the entire bottle, so pouring a drink or a shot from that bottle will not lead you to theft. What you are looking for is theft of an entire bottle that has not been paid for by the client.
Generally, bottles purchased during a bottle service will run several hundred dollars for the client.If you have a customer that wants to pay cash, it can be very tempting for the waitress to pocket some, or that entire sale. Since bottle services are set up in advance with the nightclubs minimum bottle requirement already accounted for, it is easy for an employee to sell off additional bottles to a client without being noticed.
Bottle services are set up for a group or party, with one person putting the reserve on their credit card. That does not mean that throughout the night another member of the party won’t want to buy a bottle on their own. They may insist on paying cash for the additional bottles.
This is where your employees are tasked with remaining honest. They may see the hundreds of dollars as a perfect opportunity. They can go and get the additional bottle out of your storeroom but not ring it up. They might also skim off the top by charging the customer more for the bottle than what they actually ring up.
There is one of two ways to skim. The employee can ring up the actual bottle sold, but charge the client more than the total. The other way is to charge the client the price of the bottle requested, but might ring up a lower priced bottle in the register. Either way, the employee can end up with several hundred dollars extra without the client, or the nightclub becoming suspicious. That’s assuming that the employee even rings up the bottle, instead of pocketing all of the cash for him or herself.
A few things to watch out for from a management perspective, is to see if you see flips in your inventory. If you are noticing overages in the quantity of lower priced bottles of liquor, but shortages in higher ones, you might have a theft problem.
You can also compare sales totals between your employees. You should have consistent sales per hour average for all of your host or wait staff employees overseeing bottle services. If you have one employee consistently falling short, you need to question why. It could be that they are simply under trained, or need to work on selling/ up selling skills. The other possibility is that they are stealing bottles from you and are keeping the profits for themselves.
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