New York Times reporter Steve Lohr recently reported on a new surveillance technology that was tested in almost 400 restaurants throughout the US. Three researchers measured the impact of software that monitors employee-level theft, before and after the new surveillance technology was installed.
In the restaurant industry, analysts estimate the losses from employee theft at 1% of revenue, a significant number given the low margins at which restaurants operate. Most of the restaurant industry pay low wages to servers, who depend on tips. Employee turnover is high. In that environment, a certain amount of theft has long been regarded as a normal part of the business.
But this new monitoring software can track all transactions and detect suspicious patterns. The savings from the theft alerts themselves were modest—$108 a week per restaurant. However, after installing the monitoring software, the revenue per restaurant increased by almost $3,000 a week, or about 7%.