Ken Burgin

Restaurant Productivity

Fraud & Theft

Watch Out for These Problems with ‘Perfect’ Staff

Do you have a dream employee? They smile a lot, cover extra shifts, keep the bar clean, and know how to fix the fryer and the coffee grinder. They can cheer up cranky guests and sell them all dessert… and they know how the boss likes her coffee. And because everything is going so well, it’s easy to leave them alone while you concentrate on fighting fires. But putting time into managing these people can

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The Fraud Triangle: Could it Hit Your Cafe or Restaurant?

Ever had a trusted employee rip you off? When I spoke with a bar owner recently, she was still in shock after uncovering a six-figure fraud carried out by a ‘trusted’ manager over more than 4 years. I hope that doesn’t sound familiar. Most people who commit fraud against their employer are not career criminals. The vast majority are trusted staff who have no criminal history and don’t even consider themselves lawbreakers. Donald Cressey, a

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Petty Theft – Where Do You Draw the Line With These ‘Grey Areas’?

Ever seen staff help themselves to food, drink or even cash, and they seem to think it’s OK? You call it shrinkage, waste, ‘unders’, discrepancies or theft. What do they call it? It’s the grey areas that cause problems: drinks or food for friends and family, sloppy work that results in waste, or taking home left-overs. Grey has to become black or white. Does the culture you’ve created reward honesty, or overlook those who break

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7 Small Ways You Could Be Leaking Money

None of these is major, but each week they soak up cash and cut into profits. Part of the fix is showing staff that every cent counts and you do watch the cents! They can be an active part of the solution, not standing on the side watching. Every single member of your staff could point out something that’s ‘leaky’ and wasteful – do they tell you? Do you ask? Late to Arrive and Early

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Dealing With Copycats…

Tell the truth – most restaurant and foodservice ideas are some version of what you’ve seen or eaten before. You could call it ‘creative swiping’ instead of copying or plagiarism, but it’s rare for any chef or restaurateur to create a full set of completely original ideas for a new menu or cocktail list. Remember that trip to Chicago, Bali or Barcelona – tasting, taking photos and dreaming up how you could do an Aussie

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It’s World Backup Day – When Did You Do It Last?

March 31 is World Backup Day – and apparently 30% of people have never backed up their data, ever. Or maybe you did it a long, long time ago…which is equal to never. All your employment records, emails, sales data, recipes, booking information, customer lists, tax records, your website… let alone all the personal information and family photos. One in 10 computers is affected by viruses every month. You need to be backing up to

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When You Take Over a Cafe or Restaurant – How to Do It Right

A while back I wrote about the decline of a favourite cafe now under new ownership. I was challenged to give suggestions for how this could be done well, so here’s my To-Do list for the new business owner: New Faces: own it, and let people know who’s who. Now’s the time for name tags (yes!) and the owner or manager could even add a cheeky label to say ‘Proud New Owner’.  Could you get

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Another day, another story of restaurant fraud…

Trusted, helpful staff given too much responsibility by weary owners, and a lack of systems for proper checking. How many times do operators make ‘trust’ their default mode with employees, instead of ‘check and verify’. When you work with cash, food and alcohol and have haphazard security, the thieves will soon find you. It was a bit sad to go through ‘the facts of life’, again, with a couple of new cafe owners… Your Point

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