Theft reduction policies and procedures are no good unless they are strictly enforced. Employees must be made clearly aware of the dire consequences of flouting house rules. There can be no gray areas. New members of staff should be asked to sign a confirmation that they have read the rules and fully understand the implications.
- Prohibit bartenders from totaling the cash at the end of their shifts. This policy also protects honest bar staff.
- Prohibit bartenders from both on- and off-duty drinking. Off-duty drinking leads to fellow bar staff overpouring, giving away free drinks or undercharging.
- Prohibit bartenders from taking part in physical inventory counts. Ideally this should be a management-only function.
- Bartenders should not be involved in ordering, receiving or issuing inventory. Again, this should be a management-only function.
- Security. Enforce security procedures for all liquor, wine, beer, spirits and any other high-value inventory. Also, only key personnel should have access to the storeroom.
- Require bartenders to record post-shift bar par readings. This refers to the number of bottles behind the bar at any given time. Bartenders should take a bar par reading at the end of the night shift.
- Prohibit bartenders from recording more than one transaction per drink ticket. If bartenders are allowed to use a "running" ticket, they can easily neglect to record all the drinks they have actually sold.
- Enforce voiding procedures. Bartenders should request managerial approval before continuing with a void.
This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Controlling Liquor Wine & Beverage Costs, authored by Elizabeth Godsmark, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to: