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Learn how cheaters think so that they won't surprise you.


Liquor & Bartending Scams

The under-ring

A bar tender rings in a double as a shot - then takes the money paid and closes the check.   Part of the change is placed "near" the customer in a place that the customer won't take it back.   After a few minutes, the bartender keeps the "change the customer left" as a tip.

Over pour and/or give free drinks to friends and family.

No way to beat this one... except taking inventory frequently & watching CCTV videos.

Claim a bogus walk-out. Keep money customer paid for order.

This is easy to spot with CCTV.   Also, audit your VOID reasons frequently.   Walkouts DO NOT occur very often.

Brings in their own bottle of liquor and pockets cash from the sale.

Yeah, this actually happens.  But only rarely.  If the owner leaves before the end of day is run, sometimes they will refill the bottles.

Short pour customer drinks to cover "give away" liquor costs.

Happens all the time - usually not on purpose.   Consider getting a pour measure that makes this harder to do.

Waiter and bartender work together to skim table tabs.

Married/dating couples seem to have higher frequency of this one.  Best way to fix this is to run a tron report on each server - then compare their tip money to what is typical for the sales volume they did.   If they did $200 in sales and have $95 in tips, watch out.

Fake a returned drink and then sell to pocket the cash.

Make sure managers have to be involved in all VOID operations.

Serving free liquor or undercharging in hopes of larger tip.

This is everywhere.   If the customer knows he's getting free drinks, many will tip more.   Consider using a mystery shopper for big problems like this.

Diluting bottles with water to get more shots and pocket the extra cash.

Or worse, they dilute the drinks and the customer is short changed.  Video.

Ringing well brand drinks and charging premium brand prices.

This is a version of the under-ring.   Video & supervision is the only way to fix it.  If you suspect it, implement an inventory program.

Charging regular prices, ringing happy hour prices.

Consider making your happy hour prices "timer based".  This way they can't be rung up outside of the happy hours.

Claim bank till was short and pocket the difference.

Consider making 2 people responsible for counting down the drawer at end of day.   Whenever one person has autonomy over a drawer, this can/will happen.

Recording false spills, over-rings and/or voids.

Make a manager be involved in all VOIDs & DISCOUNTs.

Ringing items on another bartender or manager key.

Change user ids often or use a security card or biometric solution.

Walking out with full bottles at end of shift or while taking out trash.

This one can cost you.   I've seen bartenders toss out full bottles which is hard to spot on a CCTV system.   Later, they take out the trash themselves.   Running an inventory periodically is the only way to catch this one.

Turning in the amount of sales on the Daily Summary Report and keeping any overages from the register.

If your drawer never comes up OVER, then pay attention to this.   It should come up a little over and a little under - simply as a function of human error.

Using smaller jiggers brought from home to short pour drinks.

Not likely, but consider custom printed jiggers if you think this is happening.

Re-pouring customer wine leftover in bottles to other customers by the glass.  Table Service bottle dancing.

In addition to being a health code violation, this is short changing the customer.   You'll see this in table service environments often.

Free drinks to local merchants in exchange for merchandise.

This is a difficult scam to spot - but make a note if a customer specifically asks for a particular bartender.   Or note if he/she only comes into your establishment on days that a particular employee is working.

Top-20 Book Keeping & Accounting Scams
  1. Doing book keeping work for another company while on the main employer's payroll
  2. Book keeper adds a line to the deposit slip called "Less Cash" and receives cash back from the bank at the time of a deposit.
  3. Book keeper shows a check came back as NSF when in fact it was cashed.
  4. Payments to a fictional vendor.
  5. "Virtual Employee" who collects a check but does not really exist.
  6. Cash down payments show up as discounts on party/catering orders.
  7. Use of a program like QuickBooks (or any single entry accounting system) to break up deposits without an audit trail.
  8. Book keeper signs up as a tax preparer and keeps tax refunds due the corporation.
  9. Fake employee deductions escrow to a private account
  10. Long-count the drawer so that it appears OVER at the end of the day.   Then pocket the difference so that the drawer balances.
  11. Transfer food & beverage purchases from place to place so that accountability is reduced.
  12. Payments made to acronym vendors like IRS, DOT, INC, LLC - the checks are then cashed by a party other than the intended vendor.
  13. False charges to a credit card
  14. Refund real transactions back to the book keeper's personal credit card
  15. Expense reports with duplicated items
  16. Personal vehicle mileage reported as an expense
  17. Sale of credit card numbers or other confidential information to a criminal party
  18. Payment of a utility bill that includes multiple utility account numbers
  19. Use of business phone for long distance calls
  20. Surfing the internet (goofing off) on company time

Oops, did we say 20?   Well a few of you emailed us some more:

  • Keeping mail in rebates that are due the corporation
  • Buying extra supplies/etc from a store with liberal return policies (like Walmart) and then returning the purchases for credit against personal use.
  • Over paying a vendor invoice and then requesting a refund check payable to ____.
  • Purchasing products or services at inflated prices from a friend who owns a business.