After several months of investigating a completely unrelated incident of employee theft, we decided that we should do an informal investigation of the rest of our employees. We had been loosing inventory at an alarming rate and needed to make sure we had caught all of the culprits.
During these investigations, we noticed that one of our bottle service waitresses was taking an unusually high number of drinks from her tables. We do not allow our employees to drink on the clock, but do offer them leeway if the take a drink or a shot glass from a customer to avoid offending the customers. The policy is that the employees are to take the drinks back to the bar and dispose of them down the drain.
This particular employee was taking drinks and shots, not back to the bar, but out on the floor. We started to notice that the employee was selling the drinks (for cash) to other patrons. Hmm. Well she wasn’t causing a loss to our nightclub, but she definitely had no right to sell off another customer’s purchased liquor.
We watched her carefully for a few weeks to see how frequently this occurred. It was frequent enough that we could see she was making an extra several hundred dollars each week from these under the table drinks. We knew it was time to put an end to this employee’s deceit, and her employment with our nightclub.
We sat her down at the end of the night and asked her a few questions about what was going on. She said that she just recently started doing it when a table gave her a drink, and as she was going back to the bar to dump it out, a guy asked her to get him a drink. She told him he could have the one she was carrying. She didn’t expect him to give her any money for it, but when he did, she kept the cash. From there she realized how easy it would be to make some extra money.
She never felt like she was stealing because the bottle service table had paid in full for all of the liquor, mixers, etc. If they wanted to give drinks away, she would accept them. She never asked any of her tables for the drinks. She never felt like she was doing something illegal, since the club wasn’t out any money for the drinks.
The conversation was a real eye opener for us on just how easy it was for an employee to be dishonest, without throwing up any red flags or inventory losses. We were lucky that none of the VIP clients ever found out about her scheme. If they did, we might have lost their invaluable business, and may not have been alerted to the problem, the VIPs might have decided to simply never come back.
The employee was terminated for her actions. Even though she did not cause an inventory loss, she did, in fact, steal sales from our club. Every drink that was sold under the table was one less sale that we were able to make.
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