Owning a restaurant is a big investment, in terms of both time and money — and protecting that investment is important. One of the many ways you can do this is through the implementation of proper cash-handling procedures. 

Although having cash on hand is normal and necessary for most businesses, it creates a significant risk. An important aspect of successful restaurant management and loss prevention is understanding how to safely manage your cash, from cash drawers to bank drops to hold-ups. 

Cash Drawers

Standardizing cash drawer procedures allows managers to more readily monitor and identify potential discrepancies or problems. All employees should be trained in the procedures and responsibilities that come with handling your restaurant’s cash. When using a cash drawer, follow these basic procedures:

  1. Open only when making a transaction, and close immediately after the transaction. Do not leave the drawer open while packaging merchandise or distributing receipts. Likewise, never leave an open cash drawer unattended for any length of time. Leave the cash drawer locked when it is not in use. 
  2. Excess cash creates excess risk. Train your employees to notify you or a supervisor when there is excess cash in the drawer so that it can be moved to a more secure location. 
  3. At closing, empty the cash drawer and leave it open. This may deter thieves from breaking in overnight.

Bank Drops

Sometimes, your employees may need to bring cash to the bank on your behalf. However, due to the heightened risk of potential employee theft, it is recommended that you avoid this situation when possible or choose your most trusted employees for the job. Regardless, remember these tips for moving cash:

  1. Switch up the time and route. Never establish a traceable and clear routine for deposits. That said, do not make other stops before the deposit.
  2. Have your employees alert you when they are leaving with the deposit and when they should be returning. If something goes awry, you may be aware of this thanks to their predicted ETA.
  3. Transport cash in something discreet that does not draw attention to you. 
  4. Do not use public transportation. If walking, choose busy streets that will keep you close to people and try to take another employee with you. It is safer to travel in pairs than alone.


Even when you and your employees take all the proper precautions, robberies still happen. If a robbery occurs, remember that no amount of money is worth a life. Do not implement a procedure that puts your employees in harm’s way. Never attempt to physically stop an armed robber, rather, train your employees to remain as calm as possible. Instruct them to comply with the robber’s instructions, giving them any money or goods they ask for. Remind everyone to take mental notes about the robber’s appearance so that law enforcement can be informed. Theft insurance will generally cover the losses that your restaurant incurs as long as a police report is filed. 

Although these tips are aimed at preventing theft from outsiders of your establishment, employee-theft is another risk. You place trust in your employees, but sometimes they are dishonest. If you suspect an employee is stealing from you, we suggest you encourage employees to use vacation time or switch jobs and shifts to identify who may be the cause. In the event of internal theft, you need to protect yourself with employee dishonesty coverage, which is included in most BOPs. 

For a free, no-strings-attached analysis of your restaurant’s policy, contact us. We can get you the coverage you need, from general theft to employee theft.