It is very possible that your waiters are scamming you and pocketing their own wad of cash. Here are a few methods I stumbled upon whilst reading How to Burn Down the House.
Reusing a past check – By using an old check, waiters are able to pocket cash because they only enter in the main items and then pocket the cash for the drink order or any side dishes that they prepare without the kitchen knowing. This way, the customers see the correct orders on the check and they pay the appropriate amount of cash, but only a few things are entered in the actual computer, so the rest is for the waiter to keep.
Giving the total verbally – This allows the waiter to not enter the order in the computer so there is no record and all of the money goes directly in their back pocket.
Unofficial checks – Waiters sometimes handwrite their checks and then proceed to throw them away and keep the money.
Stealing actual food/stock – This one is pretty self-explanatory and involves waiters and/or busboys sneaking expensive food and wines out of the restaurant via duffle bags or clean trash cans. There was a famous instance of a busboy doing just that and then selling the goods to other restaurants for a profit.
Coupons – Coupons can be a goldmine for the savvy scam artist waiter. This involves cutting out a bunch of coupons prior to their shift and then applying the coupon only after the customer has paid the full price. If it was a buy one meal get one free, that can add up quick with sometimes more than $10 per check being stolen from the restaurant.
Be aware of your employees and make sure they are all honest and hardworking so you don’t have to deal with scam artists, however, just in case there’s a bad egg, it’s better to be aware.
Here is a link to get your own copy if you’re interested in reading more about how to protect your restaurant and bar from these scam artists: http://www.amazon.com/How-Burn-Down-House-Bartenders/dp/0974867705
Be sure to contact Mark at Tannen & Associates for all of your Merchant Card Services and POS System needs at (408) 888-9663.