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Fraud Fridays: The Coupon Issue

Posted by Avero Team | October 13, 2016

Fraud Fridays: The Coupon Issue

Coupons are great tools for attracting new customers to your restaurant and hopefully turning them into longtime regulars. Unfortunately, some restaurant employees use coupons to take advantage of their employers and increase their take-home pay. Coupon abuse is actually one of the easiest and most overlooked restaurant theft scams.

Here are some helpful tips from a former restaurant manager, bartender and server on how to prevent coupon abuse in restaurants: 

  • Collect Those Coupons: If you don't already do this, it's a good idea to collect coupons with their corresponding guest checks so that servers cannot reuse them. Servers often purchase coupons themselves and use them toward guest checks paid with cash, then bring the same coupon to their manager multiple times and pocket the discounted amount. If you're a restaurant manager, have your servers physically staple the coupons to their corresponding checks, even if they have to reprint the check from the point of sale system.
  • Make It Personal: A very high percentage of coupon-baring guests are first-time diners – discounted restaurant gift certificates allow guests to try new hot spots they may not normally go to. When a server presents a coupon used by a first-time diner to an authorizing manager, it’s best practice for that manager to personally drop off the check and mention that you took the discount off. This way, if the guests did not give the server the coupon they will be suprised; if they did give the server the coupon they will be pleased with the manager's attentiveness. Plus, servers are less likely to try reusing coupons if they know their managers are doing table checks. 
  • Track, Track, Track: Logging coupon purchases is a great way to keep a close eye on discounted checks while keeping your staff honest. To do this, you should create unique promotion types within your restaurant point of sale system for each coupon you accept. This allows you to determine whether the promotion is successful and lets you compare sales with past promotions. Unique promotion identifiers also allow you to check for red flags with your employees – does one particular server have a higher-than-average promotion percentage than others? Does one particular server have a majority of promotion checks with cash payments? Red flag and red flag!

By following these restaurant best practices, you can prevent coupon abuse and ensure an honest service staff. Let Avero help you protect your restaurant against theft today!