5 steps to control guest check fraud in food and beverage

control guest check fraud in food and beverage

If you do not have strong controls in place you can easily run your business to ground.

As it is, the restaurant business is not a high margin business. Once you pay for the labour, HLP, Food cost and rent; there will be nothing left in profit for many business.

Therefore it is very essential to control your process and prevent fraud from eating into your margins.

There are many things you can do to prevent frauds, however fraud using guest checks is very common and more difficult to trace.

Hence having a very strong procedure to control guest check fraud in food and beverage will help you take care of this.

Lets look at 5 controls to help you prevent this in your restaurant.

Define Roles and Authority

If you have a POS system, ensure that the correct role has relevant authority. Simple example would be that a steward should never be able to open, print or settle other tables.

Work with your POS vendor to establish the correct security level for your hotel

Once you set that rules, ensure that the passwords and access cards are not shared so that every person is responsible for what they are doing .


Cash Checks

Cash checks are prime candidate for check fraud. Even in this day of digital payment, you may see some guest pay cash. Ensure the cash check is defaced with a paid stamp immediately upon receipt and put in a separate locked box to prevent misuse.

Review all Voids and Discounts

At the end of every shift, it is a good practice to have all the void checks and discounts reviewed and signed off by the manager. The sign off should have clear explanation on why the discount was given or made void. This will help catch any issues immediately.

Open check fraud

This is one common type of fraud where a table is opened with a buffet sale. It is kept open and bills printed on it. Guest are encouraged to pay by cash by stating the card machine is not working.

In order to catch this fraud, most POS will have the option of printing open check report. Run the report every 2 hours and actively question why a table was kept open.

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No KOT, No Food

Train the team to ensure that without KOT no food leaves the kitchen or no drink leaves the bar. Even in case of an emergency ask for a KOT to ensure tracking. This prevents team members to take undue advantage of busy periods and pocket cash.

In conclusion

Guest check fraud can eat a significant portion of your hotel revenue.

Maintain process and procedure to control guest check fraud in food and beverage and to ensure that you are protected by

  • Defining roles and authority
  • Have a control over cash checks
  • Review all voids and discounts
  • Be wary of open check fraud
  • Policy of no KOT no food

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