47 Ways Your Bar is Being Robbed

Below is a list of 47 ways your bar is being robbed. How many of these bartender and server scams do you know? How much of this do you know is happening to YOU? No offense, but I’m glad I don’t own a bar because you own or operate one of the EASIEST businesses to scam. How do I know? Because I have worked with many bar and nightclub owners/operators and have helped them stop bartender, server and employee scams and theft, make more money and save their businesses.

By the way, you may be thinking, “why only 47 and not 50?” Because that’s all that I could come with. If you have any other ways your bar is getting ripped off and robbed that are not listed below, please feel free to leave a comment and I will update this list.

1. “Short ring” the right price and pocket the difference (common when employees have access to a “no sale” button or sale items with $0 prices that are used in a POS system).
2. A “phantom” register is put in your bar and then items are not rung up on the main register.
3. Serve and collect cash while the register is reading between shift changes.
4. Just keep the money received from a customer and say they ran out without paying!
5. Bartender brings in his own “phantom” bottle and pockets cash from the sale.
6. Pour less than a shot to cover “give away” liquor costs.
7. You know what “collusion” is? This is when the cocktail server and bartender, for example, are in on a scam together.
8. Using one shot on two glasses.
9. An extra drink is sold and the cash is pocketed.
10. Wine is credited on the inventory, the bartender sells it by the glass and pockets the cash.
11. Undercharging customers or giving away free liquor in hope of large tips.
12. Re-using register drink receipts.
13. Bartender exchanges drinks to cooks for dinners (that’s collusion, too).
14. Adding water to a liquor bottle to get more shots out of it and then pocketing the cash.
15. Using lower priced liquor and charging for top-shelf brands.
16. Receiving kickbacks from liquor distributors.
17. Charging customers regular prices and ringing in happy hour prices.
18. Complimentary cocktail or wine coupons from hotel rooms sold by maids to the bartender which can be used in place of cash.
19. Real simple: short-changing customers.
20. Ringing food items on liquor key in order to cover high liquor costs.
21. Giving free drinks to employees in exchange for higher tips.
22. Not pouring liquor into blended drinks to cover high pour costs.
23. Duplicate imprinting customers credit card charge slips.
24. Claiming opening bank till was short.
25. “Z-ing” out register tape early and then under-reporting sales.
26. Recording incorrect over-rings and voids.
27. Change a credit card amount after a customer leaves.
28. Hitting “no sale” key to open register and pulling money out later.
29. Keeping cash from vending machines.
30. Ringing items on another bartender’s or manager’s key.
31. Ready? Bringing in a pair of work shoes while wearing boots. So what? Well, this scumbag changes his shoes so he can put liquor bottles in his boots and walk out with it when he leaves.
32. Claiming fictitious pay-outs to customers for broken, malfunctioning vending machines.
33. Re-using empty bottles to get new inventory out of the storeroom without suspicion.
34. Pouring wine by the glass and ringing in a bottle sale (the sum of the glasses is more than the bottle).
35. Not ringing in cocktail server sales and splitting the money (collusion).
36. Turning in only the amount of sales on Z-Report and keeping any overages.
37. Under pouring drinks by a sixth, keeping track, and pocketing the cash for one drink out of every six.
38. Using jiggers from home that are smaller than standard pour, with the same objective as #37 above.
39. Overcharging the number of drinks served to a group of customers who are running up a tab.
40. Claiming a fictitious robbery.
41. Re-pouring customer wine leftover in bottles (i.e. banquet wine) to other customers by the glass.
42. Free drinks to local merchants in exchange for merchandise.
43. Making juice or coffee drinks with little or no liquor.
44. Picking up extra customer change on bar.
45. Carrying full bottles of liquor and beer to the dumpster with the empties. Oldest scam in the book.
46. Free drinks to the cooks for food that is sold and the cash is pocketed without ringing it in.
47. Inflate ending inventory values by filling empty liquor bottles with water and counting them as full.