Preventing and Minimizing Employee Theft on Your Food Truck

Hopefully you have a tight crew and can trust your food trailer staff, but you would be foolish to think employee theft doesn’t occasionally happen. Employee theft can be difficult to track and even harder to prove; the key is prevention. Here are five steps to help prevent and minimize employee theft.

1.       Be present. As an owner, it’s hard to be at all jobs, and you probably shouldn’t have to be at them all. However, if you’re present employees are much less likely to steal. If you are have a big job that will involve a lot of cash, try to be present.

2.       Keep a small safe onboard. Require that the till be emptied into the safe hourly by one of your most trusted staff members. Keeping less cash visible will help reduce internal and external theft risk.

3.       Know your inventory. If you are a pro at ordering for jobs, you will know if your sales are short for the amount of food sold. If you’re not keeping inventory regularly, you could be missing cash, inventory or both.

4.       Install cameras. Seems intrusive, but if you handle a lot of cash, it’s a very good idea to have cameras inside and outside your trailer. This could deter any would be robbers, vandals and employees looking to make a quick buck. If your employees have a problem with cameras, it might give you more reason to be concerned. Stress that the cameras are there to protect them and the business which is true. Deterring theft could keep them out of harm’s way.

5.       Pay your employees well! It’s a tough job; make sure you are paying staff a fair wage with plenty of tip opportunities. If they feel they are overworked and underpaid they may be one step close to improving their income without your approval… If you’re pricing your meals right patrons will feel more inclined to tip. Consider using a POS that builds in tip options. Your staff will love it, patrons will feel they have choices to tip and it eliminates the cash transaction and/or cash tip which could lead to dishonesty.

So what do you do if you that precautions yet still suspect employee theft? Work with the staff you can trust 100% to keep an eye on your operations when you can’t. If you catch an employee in the act termination is usually the first action, but you can file a police report if you think the loss was great enough. Our policy provides some employee theft coverage, typically up to $10,000, but there has to be a police report. We rarely take an employee theft claim, if we do it usually involves stolen property more than cash.  

Employee theft can be a part of running a food trailer, but with the right steps and preventative measures, it doesn’t have to be. Take some time to review your theft prevention and areas to improve them. Talk to other food truck owners to see how they deal with it. As society moves away from cash, employee theft becomes less of an issue, but the food truck business will always have some cash and employee theft risk. If you have questions, comments or additional suggestions about these tips, please let us know.