How To Handle Cash Safely In Your Restaurant

Cash on hand is a reason to celebrate but it can also lead to unanticupated issues. Use our guide to safe cash handling in your restaurant.

We all love money in any form. And while there is more digital payment adoption than ever before, cash money still plays a big role in the restaurant businesses.

Money in your cash drawer is a good thing. It means your business is growing, that people are interested in your offering, and that you’re moving closer to your financial goals. Unfortunately, while cash on hand is a reason to celebrate (hooray for business success), it also makes you vulnerable to robbery, burglary, and theft. 

Unfortunately, the threat of theft comes from both inside and outside of your restaurant. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 75% of employees steal from the workplace at least once, and half will steal repeatedly. And having large amounts of cash on hand makes you attractive to outside individuals looking for quick cash.

Learn the ordinary risks of cash handling and minimize them using our standard safety procedures checklist and best practices below. 

Top causes of cash losses in restaurants and what to do about them.

How To Keep Your Restaurant’s Cash and Staff Safe 

Most risks associated with the handling of cash in your restaurant can be greatly reduced through effective management, training, and operations. Here are some best practices:

Structured Employee Hiring & Management

Reducing losses starts with effective employee hiring processes and a consistent, ongoing management approach. This is particularly important when attempting to reduce the likelihood of internal or employee theft. Here are some best practices:

  • Develop and consistently apply a new hire process that includes background screenings and reference checking. In addition, anyone with safe access or building keys should also have a credit screening at regular intervals. Systems like InsureGood’s Business360 program can help with the development of processes and checklists.

  • Create and document a cash safety program. Make it part of your employee onboarding process and retrain staff on cash handling safety at least annually.
  • Create a company honesty and prosecution policy and document it in your employee handbook. The honesty policy should clearly outline that theft of company assets, including cash and inventory, will not be tolerated and is grounds for dismissal. Review the procedure with all new employees and all employees at least annually. Have employees sign a handbook acceptance form acknowledging the policy.
  • Cultivate a culture of integrity and honesty where employees feel aligned with and connected to your company’s mission and values. Provide ongoing training and support that help your staff develop loyalty to you and your organization.

 

Established Operations and Systems 

Lowering your risk of cash-handling losses requires a solid operational foundation. Your operational foundation is made up of processes, checklists, and proper oversight. With these systems in place, you’ll be able to reduce and manage the operational risks in your business. Here are some best practices to help you establish a safe cash handling operation: 

  • Losses due to criminal activity such as theft should be documented and properly investigated.
  • Establish a policy that all criminal activity will be fairly and consistently reported and prosecuted. 
  • Develop and maintain robbery prevention and response procedures.
  • Implement safe opening and closing procedures that minimize the threat of theft and violence.
  • Have a process and an exciting employee checklist to manage building keys, safe codes, and other access points.
  • Implement operational processes to regularly check cash balances against POS totals.

 

Fully Leverage Technology 

Fully implementing and using the right technologies in your restaurant can also help to dramatically reduce your risk of cash losses. With technology, less can be more. Invest in a small number of systems that you leverage fully rather than many systems that you only use a portion of. Here are the three that we recommend for the foundation of your cash safety program:

  • All restaurants should have a central alarm system, and there should be a defined maintenance program for the system with a defined owner responsible for it.
  • Install security cameras and implement a maintenance program to keep them working correctly. Train the appropriate staff members on how to use them to prevent theft.
  • Fully implement a modern POS system to manage and check cash balances at fixed intervals.

 

The Role of Insurance 

Preventative measures go a long way in reducing the threat of cash-related losses and injuries. But no matter how well you run your restaurant operation, you may still experience a loss. 

To address the risk of an unpreventable loss, consider purchasing a commercial crime policy. This type of insurance will help make you whole if you experience employee dishonesty, theft, robbery, and more. In addition to commercial crime, Worker’s compensation insurance will provide coverage for the cost of medical care should one of your employees be injured in a workplace accident associated with a robbery or other adverse event. 

The Last Word

Most restaurants will experience a loss associated with handling cash at some point. There are two main ways you can reduce these types of risks. 

Your first line of defense is a solid operational and management structure that significantly reduces the likelihood of a large claim involving cash in your business. Then you can purchase specialized insurance to minimize the financial impact of a sizeable unpreventable event in your restaurants, such as a robbery or burglary.

Your restaurant brings people together and makes our communities unique and special – protect it from adverse events with suitable systems and structure. 

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