Tipping Tricks: Common Tip Scams That Cost You and Your Customers

restaurant security tips scamsAs we’ve discussed often here on the Systematic Inquiry Group blog, internal crimes are a major threat to your bottom line, especially in the restaurant industry. Our Orange County corporate investigations firm specializes in restaurant security, and we’ve seen it all, from employee theft to workers compensation fraud and much more.

Below, you’ll find a few of the most common tipping scams perpetrated by restaurant employees. Take a look to familiarize yourself with these scams, and give us a call at 714-406-4618 to take control of your company’s security with our range of corporate security and investigation services.

Changing the tip

One of the simplest forms of theft among restaurant workers is simply changing the tip on a credit card slip. After altering the amount to be more than the customer intended, the server will cash out and get their “new” tip.

How often do you review your credit card statement to see if the amount you were charged matches what you wrote on the ticket? In most cases, customers won’t ever find out. If they do call to complain, the manager will have to credit them the difference and track down the credit card slip from that transaction. While it is usually possible to track down the perpetrator (assuming the customer calls to complain), investigating the fraud usually falls to the bottom of a manager’s list of concerns in the face of more pressing issues.

Padding the tip jar, shorting the till

Another type of tip scam, common at coffee shops and counter service restaurants, is for the cashier to charge the customer the correct amount for, say, a coffee and a doughnut, but only ring up the coffee. The price of the doughnut then goes into the tip jar.

The “soft steal”

While a server may not consider this “really stealing,” this practice harms your bottom line all the same. Servers will often ring up a party’s check minus small items like side salads, appetizers, or sodas. Customers feel like they are getting special treatment and tip more- which goes in your server’s pocket- while you are losing food inventory and compensation for everything that went in to preparing the items.

If you suspect that these tip scams are going on at your restaurant or bar, contact us today. Our range of corporate security and investigation services for businesses in Orange County and Los Angeles can help your company thrive.

Photo by Nan Palmero via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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