Stopping Bar Theft

Your Bartender’s “Retirement Plan”

Bartenders are generally a nice bunch of people, but temptation sometimes gets the best of them. Here are some examples of what they might do to “get ahead in life.” There are variations on many of these themes, so don’t by any means consider this a comprehensive list:

  1. Overpouring to get a larger tip.
  2. Underpouring to build a bank of liquor, which the bartender will later sell and pocket the difference.
  3. Bringing in his own liquor and pocketing the sales from that bottle
  4. Comping drinks to get a bigger tip.
  5. Giving free drinks to friends.
  6. Ringing bottled beer as draft and pocketing the difference.
  7. Ringing a sale on the comp or “no sale” key, then pocketing the difference.
  8. Ringing well drinks at happy hour prices, allowing the bartender to pocket the difference.
  9. Abusing your “dollar shooter” promotion by ringing up more expensive drinks that contain the same amount/type of liquor as the promotion, and pocketing the difference.
  10. Leaving the cash drawer open after ringing the sale, which gives the bartender a chance to make a few sales without you knowing it.
  11. Claiming someone walked out without paying, when the bartender is actually pocketing the difference.
  12. Selling a call drink, ringing it as a well drink and pocketing the difference.
  13. Faking a broken bottle, then selling the contents of the bottle and pocketing the difference.
  14. Making a drink wrong, then selling it to someone else after it’s returned and pocketing the difference.
  15. Circumventing a pouring spout control system by bringing in his own spouts, leaving spouts off certain bottles, putting electronic spouts in the microwave to fry them (really!), or dozens of other ways that have been devised to beat spout systems.
  16. Pocketing unrecorded sales of sodas or juices, which are seldom inventoried, or ringing them as a liquor sale to pad previous unrecorded liquor sales.
  17. Z’ing the register an hour or so before quitting time, at which point all subsequent sales can be pocketed
  18. Pretending to make a mistake while ringing up a sale, then using a makeup ring to cover the “mistaken” ring. For instance, ringing an $8.50 drink at .50, then pocketing the $8 and, if questioned, saying the .50 ring was a makeup for a previous sale that you mistakenly rang .50 off.
Many of these scams can be revealed, and thus deterred, by good management practices. Of those, the most important is thorough inventory control, including taking regular physical inventories and tracking receiving and empties. Simply relying on your POS system or pouring control system will not take the place of regular, thorough physical inventories. So the choice is simple: Let us help you keep a handle on things–or contribute to your bartenders’ early retirement.

Know of a scam that’s not listed here? Email us
here and we’ll add it to our list.

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