When an employee stole from my restaurant it made me question my ability to lead a business. The financial loss was hard but the lack of self-confidence and doubt afterwards was worse.
I have had the unfortunate experience of firing a Manager in one of my restaurants for stealing. The employee in question was working in my business for over two years. This person was promoted twice, was adored by our customers and staff and showed all the traits of a great employee. This person was reliable, energetic and good at their job. Revenue was up, we were profitable and feedback from customers and staff was fantastic. When I discovered that more than $20,000 had been stolen over a six-month period I was shocked to the core and totally unprepared for the wave of emotions that followed.
Below are some of the lessons I learned from that experience.
Never ever lose sight of your numbers. I was in growth mode and building two new restaurants when I took my attention off the venue in question. I left the day-to-day management in the hands of someone I thought I could trust. Our tills balanced, we were profitable and I found myself lured into a false sense of security. I didn’t look at the numbers closely and as a result paid a high price. Advice: Regardless of performance always know your numbers.