5 Ways to Stop Point of Sale Theft

Employees who double as thieves are opportunists. They wait for the right time to steal from their employers, and often know what they want, how much they want, and when to take it. They are also not who you think they are — some of the largest restaurant theft comes from the most loyal, tenured managers. But catching internal theft doesn’t have to be a game of cat and mouse. Restaurant operators just need to become methodical about loss prevention.

One way to curb employee theft is to break down the areas of theft opportunity and implement processes that will reduce the risk of theft in your store. The most common form of restaurant employee theft? Manipulating transactions and stealing straight from the point of sale.

Below, find the ways to identify, stop, and prevent Point of Sale (POS) theft.


A single transaction can often appear innocent. It’s only when you see the pattern of deletes, voids, refunds, and overrings over time that theft becomes truly apparent. That’s why tracking the right data needs to be part of every loss prevention plan. Reviewing data trends can only be done two ways: By manually sorting through reports, or by using web-based software that can gather and normalize metrics from the register.

Data trending can be an overwhelming task. When it comes to monitoring POS theft, there are a number of reports operators can use to begin tracking:

  • Transaction compliance and cash management: A web-based tool that allows managers to look at specific transaction trends over time.
  • Cashier performance log: A report designed to manually track a specific cashier’s POS metrics in the absence of web solutions. The log can be devised a number of ways, including looking at multiple cashiers on the same form, one week at a time, comparing cashiers against each other.
  • Armored Car reports: Double check that the cash made at the end of the day is the same as the deposit made with the armored car.
  • End of shift and shift change reports: Use this to discover discrepancies connected to the cash drawer and employees.
  • Bank deposit slips: Does the bank deposit reflect the right dollar amount?


Stop POS theft before it begins by implementing hiring best practices, like proper screening, background checks, reference checks and drug testing. Be extra cautious about job candidates who have previous restaurant experience. Why did the candidate leave the restaurant and come to your store? In some cases, that candidate was caught stealing and fired from the operation.


Many cashiers learn how to steal just through trial and error on the keyboard because they are not properly trained. That’s why training should be a big part of every employee’s onboarding process. Make sure that new cashiers spend time shadowing veteran employees and role playing with them. Cashier skills like greeting the customer, understanding the order, and tendering properly are all important parts of training. Help your new employees comprehend the customer order by allowing them to shadow cooks and work the line. Lastly, make sure the new cashiers understand company thresholds and policies, like allowances for employee meals.


Operators underestimate the importance of the restaurant schedule, and the impact it can have on employee theft. By looking at the employee schedule as a business plan rather than a necessary activity, managers can begin to eliminate opportunities for theft. Below, find a few ways to use your schedule as a loss prevention tool:

Schedule overlap time and give employees time to settle their drawer before the end of their shift.

Keep shifts short and engaging to both allow opportunity for cross-training and help you better connect red flag transactions with employees.

Limit the number of hands in the till.


Does your restaurant have security cameras? Surveillance helps deter robbery and employee theft. If cashiers know they are being watched, sometimes that is enough to deter theft from the POS. If a cashier still tries to steal, camera footage can be used as part of the loss prevention investigation process in two ways:

  1. Managers or risk specialists can use video footage to confirm data trends. For example, if data shows that an employee pocketed money on specific dates and times, managers can pull the specific video footage to match the data.
  2. In the interview phase of the loss prevention investigation, telling the culprit that you caught their action on camera — and using the footage as a final form of proof — is a good way to get a confession.