Theft Archives | Sparkler City

Video Surveillance

4 Reasons Your Bar Needs a Surveillance System

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These days, setting up a high quality video surveillance system for your bar is incredibly simple and very affordable. There are complete kits that allow you to position cameras throughout your bar or nightclub discreetly, and best of all most of them are completely wireless so you won’t need to run wires or cables throughout your venue. Though we’d all love to live in a world where using video surveillance equipment wasn’t necessary, but there are so many reasons that it’s a good idea; particularly if you are in the bar or nightclub business. If you aren’t already convinced that setting up cameras in your bar is the right idea, here are the four most important reasons that you should.

Employee Theft

Whether you’ve already noticed money or liquor missing or you just want to keep your employees honest, a video surveillance system will help to deter and catch criminals in your business. Your bartenders and servers will immediately notice that there’s a camera pointed directly at their tills, so it will make them think twice before pocketing cash when nobody is looking. If one of your employees is still daring enough to steal even when they’re on camera, you’ll have all the evidence you need when it comes time to terminate them or get the authorities involved.

Walk Outs

One of the worst pitfalls of running a bar is having customers walk out on their check without paying. The bar and nightclub industry is particularly susceptible to walk outs because people are drinking and either can’t afford their tab or just plain forget to settle up with the bartender. With the proper video surveillance setup at your bar and at your entrances/exits, you can quickly determine which customers are walking out on their tabs so you can put them on the blacklist.


Whether it’s in your bathroom stalls or on the front of your building, cameras can help you catch perpetrators of vandalism. Obviously, you can’t put cameras inside your bathroom stalls, but having plenty of cameras throughout the bar coupled with proper walkthroughs by your staff at the end of the night can easily help you figure out who the culprits are so you can hold them accountable.

Legal Protection

Whether somebody robs your bartender or your bouncers get into a nasty scuffle, having video footage of the events that transpire inside your bar can really come in handy for legal proceedings. All it takes is a few seconds of footage to clear one of your employees if they are wrongfully accused of something, or it can help you settle an insurance claim if you are the victim of a robbery or theft.

Installing the right video surveillance equipment can be a tempting job to put on the backburner, but it’s really important if you want to have a safe and secure business environment. Whether you want to prevent employee theft or protect yourself from legal issues, having video documentation of what happens inside your bar or nightclub is always a valuable commodity.

Bartenders Stealing

What to do if you Suspect Your Bartender is Stealing

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The bar and nightclub industry can be very lucrative if you’ve setup a great location with the right staff in place. However, especially on a busy Saturday night, keeping track of all the money that goes in and out of the till and into the tip jar can be a seemingly impossible task. Not only that, but knowing if the bartender is actually ringing up the drinks correctly, or at all, is difficult to ascertain as well.

Let’s face it; bartenders have been ripping off bar owners since the first one was opened, and many people in the industry just chalk it up as a business expense. However, this can really cut into your business’s profits over time and ultimately add up to a hefty sum of money. If you suspect your bartenders of stealing, there are a few changes you should consider making.

Eliminate Tip Jars

One of the easiest ways to control bartender theft is to eliminate as many of the variables as possible. Instead of allowing your bartenders to separate their tips out from the bar’s money, you should have everything go into the till and settle it up at the end of the night under the supervision of the floor manager. This will strip away the possibility of void sales and effectively pocketing the money and also keep a better morale since your bartenders won’t get grumpy on a slow night since they aren’t tracking every dime of their tips.

Random Drawer Audits

Though it’s not the most convenient task, doing random drawer audits will keep your bartenders guessing when someone may be checking their work. If you periodically pull they’re drawer and do an audit without any warning, you can see how they conduct themselves on a daily basis. Just the fact that they know they’re being watched will deter most theft from ever happening.

Inventory Liquor by Weight

When your bartenders get slammed and a lot of transactions are going through the register in a short amount of time, it can be easy for your bartenders to skip drinks to pocket the money as tips; especially if your customers are paying in cash. The good news is that you can quantify how much liquor should be out of each bottle based on the total sales so you can identify any over-pouring or drinks that simply weren’t rung up properly. This not only keeps your bartenders in check, but it also lets you better track your profit margins and liquor costs so you can adjust pricing accordingly.

Camera Systems

Lastly, we have the good old fashioned camera system. Unfortunately, most of the scenarios we’ve discussed won’t be thwarted by camera surveillance, but most bartenders will not steal if they have a camera on the money at all times. Additionally, the video can be used as secondary evidence if you want to watch a series of transactions more closely and line up a chain of events if you’re suspicious.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to keep your bartenders honest is to make sure the work environment is conducive to loyalty. Avoid overworking and underpaying your staff and most of them will do their jobs correctly and honestly. You should definitely have the systems in place as I described above as a precaution, but hiring great staff and training them properly with the right oversight is your best chance at eliminating theft in your bar or nightclub.

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