How Bartenders Steal & How We Catch Them - Hospitality Checkpoint is a Bar Theft & Service Staff Evaluation Company. We spot Bartender Theft & Evaluate Service Staff Standards.


April 26, 2012 06:09 by administrator


Bartender Summary                                                                          

  • Bartender:  Caucasian female with xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wearing a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Agent took a seat at the bar and was greeted within seconds.  The bartender approached with a smile and a cardboard coaster in hand and asked what I would like to drink.  Agent stalled in an attempt to get an offer on the specials if any, but to no avail.  Agent did hear the bartender knowledgably list the numerous specials later in the evaluation after being asked. 

For best customer service, agent feels that bartenders should automatically offer specials particularly when the guest is unsure of what they would like.  At no time did the bartender ask agent if it was their 1st time at the establishment, nor was she overheard asking anyone else.

Agent noted that the bartender had her beer key shoved in the side of her bikini bottom directly against her skin which is an AZ Health Code violation.  Agent suggests strategically placing bottle openers behind the bar if they aren’t already.

When agent’s drink was about 90% empty the bartender approached and offered something new.  Throughout the evaluation the bartender was good about offering new drinks before the guest was completely empty which is an excellent practice.  Hospitality Checkpoint suggests following the 75% rule which is to always offer a new beverage to guests when it is 75% empty because it helps prevent guests sitting with empty drinks if the establishment is very busy or the staff has a distraction.

During the evaluation agent observed the bartender eating at the north end of the bar standing behind it.  There was a guest eating the food, which appeared to be from Streets of New York, with her as well. 

The bartender was observed standing behind the bar doing what appeared to be texting and also holding her phone while speaking with a bar guest.  On one occasion the bartender and a different bar guest were doing what appeared to be comparing ring tones for about 15-20 minutes.  All the while, she was not observed looking around to check the status of other guests. 

Throughout the evaluation the bartender poured a minimum of a 4 count = 1.5 ounces to a 6 count = 2 ounce.  On one occasion the bartender was pouring a second round of caramel colored liquor on the rocks in 4ounce rocks glasses.  The bottle of liquor was nearly empty, but instead of saving the last shot for the next order and having a backup bottle ready, the bartender divided the remainder up between the 2 drinks that were already a 5 count pour. delivering more alcohol than what is prescribed by management is a form of bartender theft.

Each time the bartender served a guest who was paying cash, she would move immediately to the register with one exception.  The exception was an occasion when she prepared drinks for 2 different groups of guests and took payment for one of the groups, became distracted for about 3 minutes and then took the payment for the other drinks; however, there were guests at the bar who had a credit card tab running and on several occasions the bartender did not move to her pad of paper to account for the items served for between 3 and 15 minutes.  Agent has no way to know if each of the items were accounted for. because this was not observed being rung in correctly, agent scores this a possible bartender theft occurrence.

The bartender did wiggle her rear end while pouring draft beer, but was also observed waiting for a guest to finish drinking their beer so she could use the same glass which agent found quite lazy of her.  The guest was clearly annoyed by being pressured to finish the beer in the glass.

Throughout the evaluation the bartender was very lackadaisical about keeping the bar top clean.  Agent observed a guest leave and his glass stayed on the bar for over 2 hours after he was gone.  Three bar guests did a shot and the glasses were still on the bar when agent left an hour later.  Guests at a high top table did a round of shots and then ordered new shots.  When she delivered them, she did not clear the initial empty shot glasses.  In general, the only thing that the bartender would clear was empty beer bottles, but even they would be left for varying amounts of time.

The bartender was not playing pool or darts, but did play Wii bowling with a bar guest on the large television mounted on the south wall of the outside of the ladies room.

During the evaluation agent observed the bartender pour a blue liquid from a storm pourer into a 4 ounce rocks glass about 2/3 full.  She then used a straw to drink the entire contents of the glass.  She took the bottle to a group of guests along with 3 shot glasses and after some exchange, poured the same liquid in the 1 ounce shot glasses.  At this time agent became certain, but cannot substantiate, that the liquid was an alcoholic beverage.  The bartender drinking the shot while on duty, particularly the quantity that she did, was a severe ADLLC violation and can subject licensee holder to hefty fines.


4-244. Unlawful acts

12. For a licensee, when engaged in waiting on or serving customers, to consume spirituous liquor or for a licensee or on-duty employee to be on or about the licensed premises while in an intoxicated or disorderly condition.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint..  (blog)
Hospitality Checkpoint

PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

© hospitality checkpoints Inc. 2012


BARTENDER THEFT: Laundering Stolen Money Through the Bartender Tip Jar

February 2, 2012 15:37 by administrator


Bartender Summary

  • Bartender: Hispanic female with a slender physique. She had wavy brown hair and was professionally presented wearing a black shirt, and black skirt. She was identified as Xxxxxx.

The agent was seated at the bar for approx. 1 minute before the bartender approached and welcomed the agent. She smiled and asked what she could get the agent while she placed a menu down on the bar top.

The bartender was very knowledgeable about the drinks she served. She had good product knowledge about beers and wines. She was able to advise the agent through a beverage selection.

The agent’s drink order was prepared very quickly and presented on a cocktail napkin. The bartender immediately took payment for the drink. She went to the POS and input the order and processed the agent’s payment quickly.

Even though the bartender had good product knowledge, she failed in attempting to up sell patrons. The agent observed her making drink orders exactly how they were called. She did not offer alternatives, or mention that there were any specific brands available.

The bartender’s attention to detail and service was average. She did ask agent if agent was interested in placing a food order. She did service staff very well. However, she did forget about a couple that was sitting on the far end of the bar (at the end closest to the entrance) and didn’t take their order for over 10 minutes into the evaluation. The agent also observed her asking a patron who had walked up to the bar to order a drink, “just one drink?” The tone she used was a little too casual, given the mood and ambiance of the establishment.

The agent observed her take an order for a vodka and cranberry. After she had already gotten the bottle to pour the drink, the patron got her attention and changed the order to a Kettle and cranberry. In the agent’s opinion, had she have attempted to up sell the drink, she would have offered exceptional service and avoided the awkwardness of being stopped as you’re about to pour for a change up.

During the evaluation, the agent observed the bartender allowing service staff to enter behind the bar and look through the bottled beers. The server (a young Hispanic male) was asking about the various types of beer that were offered. The bartender knew he was back there. She was instructing him on where to look to see all of the various beers. Although the agent overhead the bartender infer that the server could grab one if he needed one, the server left empty handed back to his section.

In the agent’s opinion, unfettered access to the bar is an open invitation to theft. The bartender’s responsibility should be to make sure that all alcohol sales are accounted for. If other staff is allowed behind the bar, it creates integrity risks that the bartender may be held accountable for later on down the road.

At approx. 9:30pm, the agent observed the bartender ask for $4.75 as payment for a Red Ale from a patron. After she was given a $20 for payment, she did not go to the POS. Instead, the agent observed her move the cash under the bar (where the agent could not see what she was doing). From the agent’s perspective, she appeared to be counting out change in her tip jar. Once she was done counting, she left the cash under the bar and continued to take another patron’s drink order.

No one who was seated at the bar had an itemized receipt placed in front of them. The patrons would either pay as they went (as the agent did) or would run up an unsecured tab. The agent could not determine the rationale behind who would get charged or who would be allowed to run an unsecured tab. In either case, the agent believes not having a receipt (even as a placeholder) could potentially be an integrity concern.

The bartender did not follow up or perform quality checks with regularity. For several minutes, the agent sat with a nearly empty drink waiting for the bartender to notice. By the time she did notice the agent’s drink level, it was practically bone dry.

At the end of the evaluation, the agent received a warm parting salutation from the bartender. She was seen immediately picking up the agent’s used glassware and wiping the bar top down. She neatly prepared it for use.

 Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint  (blog)
Hospitality Checkpoint

PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

© hospitality checkpoints Inc. 2012


BARTENDER THEFT - Not ringing in drinks, stolen money put in the tips jar, illegal amout of alcohol served, dram shop issues.

April 26, 2011 01:41 by administrator


Bartender Summary

  • Bartender 1:  Female, 5’4”, Caucasian, in her thirties, with a medium build and long, straight blond hair.  She wore jeans and a baggy blue hooded sweatshirt.
  • Bartender 2:  Male, 5’7”, Caucasian, in his early twenties, with an average build and shaggy brown hair worn under a knit cap.  He wore a tee shirt.  The receipt he provided at the end of the visit gave his name as Xxxxx; patrons referred to him as Xxxxx.
  • Barback (?):  Male, 5’7”, Caucasian, in his twenties, with tattoos and spacers of approximately 5/8”-gauge in his ears.  The agent could not determine whether he was an on-duty employee, off-duty employee, or just a friend of the staff.

The agent and his associate approached the bar after first being seated at a table for more than five minutes and not being acknowledged.  They observed Xxxxx moving out from behind the bar to quickly greet another group of patrons seated at a nearby table, shortly after the group arrived.

Bartender 1 was behind the bar when the agent and his associate arrived.  Upon approaching the bar, Xxxxx greeted the agent and his associate within several minutes.  He gave a brief hello and offered to get them something to drink.  He took one order at a time and immediately filled it, delivering each item atop a cocktail napkin.  He did not discuss payment or a tab and did not introduce himself.  He also did not mention food until several minutes later when he delivered several menus, “In case you guys are hungry.”  He did not mention any specials or make any recommendations.

Xxxxx appeared to ring in the round immediately.  He did not place a printed tab in front of the agent.

Neither bartender followed up over the next twenty-plus minutes.  Bartender 1 did not even acknowledge the agent or his associate, despite passing in front of them multiple times.  Only after the agent summoned her did Bartender 1 ask if she could get them something.

Bartender 1 accepted the food order and offered upsell options, writing the order down on a cocktail napkin.  She gave no predrops of napkins, plates, or condiments.

The appetizers arrived first, after approximately fifteen minutes.  Xxxxx delivered napkins, silverware, and a mismatched set of salt and pepper shakers after delivering the appetizer.  He stated the entrees would follow quickly.

Neither bartender followed up to check on the appetizers.  The entrees were delivered ten minutes later.

The agent believes Barback was an off-duty employee.  Several times, he returned stacks of dirty glassware to the bar, joking that he was barbacking.  He spent a lot of the visit standing at the end of the bar, drinking and talking with the bartenders. 

Xxxxx prepared most of the items for the service bar, as he went out from behind the bar to wait on guests.  The agent could not verify whether all items were accounted, as Xxxxx often served multiple groups before moving to the register to ring in items, and did not print out tabs when updating. 

Agent stresses to management that this is a very dangerous bartending practice that should be addressed immediately.

Xxxxx used a free-pour technique.  His single-liquor cocktails were typically over poured at two ounces. This exceeds the amount designated by management. It also is too strong of a pour and endangers guests and ownership.

Neither bartender gave the agent and his associate much attention.  They, as well as other bar guests, often sat with near-empty and empty glasses for five or ten minutes before Xxxxx came by to offer an additional round. It was rather disconcerting to watch how seemingly disinterested they were.

Both bartenders kept up with washing and restocking glassware.

Bartender 1 did not interact further with the agent and his associate, and it soon became clear she was trying to leave for the evening.  At 6:52pm, she appeared to be reconciling the drawer from a report generated by the register. 

She took $80 in twenties from the till and put it in the tip jar. 

While in the midst of dealing with the report, at 6:54pm, Bartender 1 poured a whopping and illegal four-ounce shot of black label Captain Morgan and delivered it to a patron at the end of the bar closest to the entrance. 


4-244. Unlawful acts

23. For an on-sale retailer or employee to conduct drinking contests, to sell or deliver to a person an unlimited number of spirituous liquor beverages during any set period of time for a fixed price, to deliver more than thirty-two ounces of beer, one liter of wine or four ounces of distilled spirits in any spirituous liquor drink to one person at one time for that person's consumption or to advertise any practice prohibited by this paragraph.

She accepted what appeared to be a five dollar bill and a one dollar bill and placed it to the right of the drawer; she did not ring in anything.  The cash remained there for at least five minutes.  The agent observed Bartender 1 ultimately put the cash in the tip jar.

Bartender 1 did a lot of cash exchanging and handling of the drawer, most of which the agent could not substantiate.  He thought it odd, however, that it appeared her accounting and that of Xxxxx’s was mixed in the same drawer.  For a shift change, it is typically cleaner and more difficult to mask theft if shifts keep separate tills. This behavior was highly suspicious.

When finished, Bartender 1 dumped the contents of the tip jar into her purse, which stood open on the back bar, to the left and a short distance from the register.

Bartender 1 then stood at the end of the bar for a time, rolling silverware and chatting with Barback.  Xxxxx was then solo behind the bar.

Two female patrons were at the bar and appeared to be friends of Xxxxx’s.  From conversation overheard, they were bartenders, possibly at a nearby establishment named Milagros.  Xxxxx prepared huge shots for them that filled highball glasses; one round was delivered at 6:55pm.  He did not ring in the round.

Xxxxx gave them another round of colossal shots at 7:31pm; again, he did not ring them in. 

Xxxxx chatted with them extensively and nearly completely ignored the rest of the bar guests.  The agent and his associate intended on ordering dessert, but gave up after twenty minutes, it becoming obvious that Xxxxx had no intention on serving them further.  He never removed their plates and did not offer boxes. It was pitiful service.

Around 7:45pm Xxxxx took one of the shots delivered to the bartenders, as they had yet to drink it, and mixed the contents with additional alcohol to create two new shots—also huge—which were also not rung in.

A male friend of the two patrons entered shortly before 8pm.  At 7:54pm, Xxxxx prepared a large whisky bomber for the patron and did not ring it in or accept payment.

When the female patrons and their friend departed, they left one twenty-dollar bill and two tens for the tab that Xxxxx had provided them.  The agent was not able to see the total on the tab, but is certain the group was not charged for most of their items; also, the receipt was less than five inches long—not enough to have printed out many items.  The pair each had at least one food order—both appeared to have the bruschetta from the special menu—and they took a food order to go, as well.  The agent suspects they were charged only for their food.

When the agent requested his tab, Xxxxx quickly processed the payment and returned the itemization with the agent’s credit card and two credit slips, in a check presenter with a pen. 

He did not require identification for the agent’s unsigned card.

Xxxxx placed the check presenter in front of the agent without saying anything and walked away. 

Xxxxx did not acknowledge the agent or his associate when they departed and never thanked them.


Michael Zenner - CEO      
hospitality checkpoints Inc.  (blog)
Hospitality Checkpoint PLLC
PI Lic. 1597616

PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

© hospitality checkpoints Inc. 2011

Bartender Theft - Free drinks for friends & possible theft issues via tip jar money exchange.

November 17, 2009 21:47 by administrator

The agent started out being serviced by Bartender 1 and then Bartender 2 took over. 

The tip jar was located on top of the left POS.  It sat to the left but on top of the POS leaning against the wall diving the bar back.  Both bartenders were observed throwing their tips in to this container.

At 10:45pm the agent observed Bartender 1 making change from this tip jar. There also appeared to be two black zip top bank deposit bags sitting behind each register.

Around 12:00am the agent returned back from restroom and observed that the left register drawer was open, tons of cash was lying on the counter.  Bartender 1 was standing over the bills sorting them into piles on the bar back.  After the sorting was finished, she piled them back in numerical order and put them into the bank deposit bag, zipped it shut and put it back behind the POS where it had been all evening.  She then reached for a smaller stack of bills that was still lying on the bar back.  She stood there with the stand in her hand appearing to be contemplating something.  She hid the stack of bills on the palm of her hand and put the stack of money to the left of the POS in a small glass cup that she was using earlier to stack up the room receipts.  She filed the stack of money behind this stack of papers.  The agent felt this seemed a bit out of the ordinary.  Making change from the tip jar is a way for bartenders to conceal stealing.  Hiding a stack of money behind receipts is a definite red flag as well.                                    

At 12:30am Bartender 1 was observed giving a free drink to a friend who had come in to see her.  The agent overheard the friend ask Bartender 1 for a drink, Bartender 1 asked for a preference, the friend responded whatever you want.  Bartender 1 mixed up a drink, placed it in front of the friend.  After placing the drink down the bartender took a straw, exhumed a small sample from the drink and tasted it to ensure it was of quality taste, she then went on attending to her other customers.  Bartender 1 did not approach the POS to enter in the drink or account for it in any way.      

Michael Zenner - CEO   

hospitality checkpoints Inc.  (blog)
Hospitality Checkpoint PLLC
Lic. 1597616

PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Mobile: 602-622-0875
Toll Free: 800-880-0811