BARTENDER THEFT: Stolen Money Laundered through Tip Jar

BARTENDER THEFT:

Bartender Summary

The agent observed the following bartenders the evening of June 29th:

xxxxxx Bar

·       Xxxxx: Caucasian female, 5’10’, medium build, straight dark brown hair pulled back in a bun

                                                                      

·       Xxxxx: Caucasian male, 6’0”, medium build, short dark hair

·       Xxxxx: Caucasian male, 6’2”, medium build, short dark hair    )

xxxxx Bar

·       Bartender 4: Caucasian male, 6’2”, medium build, short dark hair

 

 

 

 

The agent initially sat at the indoor bar at 23:23.  At that time, all three bartenders were doing what they could to drum up business where possible, though there was about one bartender for every three to four guests.  This meant that a fair amount of conversing was happening, both among bartenders, and between bartenders and guests.

Even so, Xxxxx approached the agent immediately, extending a warm greeting and offering something to drink.

As soon as the agent placed an order, Xxxxx set about making it, using the ice scoop to prepare the drinks and using beverage napkins.  These were the practices each time a drink was made at the inside bar.  She also rang the order in immediately and correctly, which was also standard practice at the indoor bar.

The only shortcoming observed among all bartenders was a failure to attempt to upsell to a more expensive liquor.  This is an easy way of raising check totals without adding significant additional effort that all staff should be encouraged to do.

When the agent approached the outdoor bar farthest from the main entrance, Bartender 4 was not quite so quick to greet the agent, taking four minutes to do so.  Also, Bartender 4 was never seen to use a beverage napkin, and was once observed scooping ice directly into a plastic cup which is a health concern.

Also, Bartender 4 was a bit slow about offering additional drinks to those guests whose had gone empty.  For example, at 10:54, the agent’s glass was empty, but Bartender 4 didn’t offer another drink until 11:03.

Another way in which bar performance was less than ideal was the way bartenders rang in drinks.  For example, they usually rang drinks in immediately after making them.  When extremely busy, though, they even tended to leave one meta-tab open for cash orders, in which they would add each guest’s round, then input the amount of cash handed over.  This method shows a screen with very small text stating the amount of change due, and creates an excellent opportunity for padding the cost by a few dollars in order to illegally increase tips.  Agent found this alarming.

This would not have been a  huge concern but for the fact that the agent observed Bartender 4 ring in multiple “no sales” at times when he produced drinks and put cash in the drawer, including at 11:13 and 11:35.  What’s more, both the “no sale” rings were when Bartender 4 was given cash and told to keep the change. It is suspected that the drawer may be used to launder stolen money.

Also alarming, the agent never received a receipt from any bartenders the entire evening, and even though both bartenders served the agent a draft beer and a well drink, the quoted price was $11.25 inside and $11.50 outside.

                  

The agent also never observed any bartender securing a credit card in order to assure the payment of a tab without the guest offering the card first.

No bartender was ever seen to check the identification of a single guest.  This was in spite of the fact that much of the crowd that evening was young, including several people that were clearly under 30.

Similarly, the  outside bar area had a group of three obviously intoxicated people, who  were slurring, red, and sweating profusely.

Obviously, it goes without saying that this is a serious source of liability to the establishment, as any damages caused to either any individual or any property by a minor who has been served in a restaurant can be considered as grounds for revoking an establishment’s liquor license.  Certainly, this development would be disastrous for ownership, but it is the agent’s opinion that it is worth mentioning this to the staff and reminding them that such a scenario would involve them losing their livelihood too.   Additionally, under New Jersey’s dram shop legislation, such a scenario would also leave the establishment and the individual employee that served a minor or intoxicated person personally liable for damages caused by that person.

Similarly, there were some small problems with correct pouring controls by Bartender 4.  On one occasion at 11:03, Bartender 4 was making a rum and Coke for a guest, and poured it with a 6-count (4 count = 1 1/2 oz).  When the guest asked what the well rum was, Bartender 4 asked “Why?  You don’t like it?”  Then said “There’s a solution to that,” as he added another 3-count of Bacardi to the drink.  This was never rung in as a comp, and when all was said and done, the guest had more than a double for the cost of a shot of well liquor.  Moreover, this is a dangerous amount of alcohol for one drink and possesses a liquor liability issue.

Similarly, at 12:10, Xxxxx told a guest that a soft drink was on her, but was never seen to ring it in as a comp.

It did not seem that Bartender 4 knew the guest, rather, this excessive pour seemed to be a result of inattention and willingness to give away product.  This is a problem that could be remedied by making sure that all bottles, even those who which have irregular  sizes and shapes, have precision metered  pour spouts for the sake of accuracy.

What’s more, a staff member (pictured) was sitting at the bar from 10:52 until after the agent left the area at 11:07.  The entire time that she was there, Bartender 4 was pouring her eight ounce pours of  red wine from Salmon Run,  which he would place on the side of the bar nearest him, so that she would have to reach over the bar to take each drink and put it back each time, as seen in the photo at left.  This made the agent think that they had some reason to hide this activity, and the fact that the agent placed the drink there without it being requested made the agent think this was something that they had done before.  Before the agent left, Bartender 4 filled her drink a total of  three times, a total of nearly five glasses of wine. The agent never observed Bartender 4 accounting for these drinks in a comp or shift-drink ticket on the

POS.

 

At one point, another staff member (pictured) was sitting with them, and was drinking a soft drink, though it was impossible to tell if anything alcoholic had been mixed in.  At one point, a third employee approached them, saying “Alex, are you checked out yet,” to which one of the two employees responded “No.”     

At 11:27, Bartender 4 was seen drinking something a bit lighter than the color of cola from a plastic pint.  He kept the drink on the service well station.  Agent suspects an alcohol drink was being consumed; however, cannot substantiate this claim.

Similarly, there was an irregularity between bartenders and servers at the service well, as at 10:31 a server walked behind the bar, an unnecessary breakdown of the bar controls, and one that bartenders should be motivated to avoid, as any blame for a problem arising from a server behind the bar would ultimately be their fault.

                                            

Additionally, all bartenders’ appearance was always professional and hygienic, with the only exception being that they were never seen washing their hands.

Food and Beverage Summary

The agent and associate started off at the indoor bar with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a well gin and tonic. The former was served in a stemmed, fluted Pilsener glass, and the latter in a stemmed goblet with plenty of ice and lime, but no straw or drink stirrer.  The gin and tonic was made with the appropriate proportions, and was extremely refreshing and flavorful.  The pale ale also tasted just as expected, and was poured perfectly by Xxxxx.  IT was clearly fresh and well handled.

The agent’s party left the indoors and seated themselves at the bar farthest from the main entrance.   nearest the TouchTunes machine.  The agent was waited on by Server 1, who seemed to be the only server on duty.  There, they ordered a Harpoon India Pale Ale and a rum and Diet Coke. Both drinks came in translucent plastic pints, the beer with a perfect head, and the cocktail with ample ice.  IPA also tasted very fresh and flavorful, and showed no signs of age or oxidation.  It was excellent.

The cocktail was the rum and coke described in the “Bartenders” section above.  Aside from being stronger than expected, the drink tasted strongly of artificial vanilla flavor, which was why the agent asked about the well rum offering. That was when Bartender 4 “[solved] the problem” by pouring in nearly another full serving of Bacardi.

If they are giving away alcohol to strangers, and one who happens to be a bar theft integrity spotter, management can interpolate the problem from there.

All beverages were traditionally presented in intact glassware, at the proper temperatures and with all expected flavor characteristics.  What’s more, the agent was satisfied with both the breadth of the establishment’s selection, and especially with the value that it offered.

Because of the traffic the agent encountered on the way to the evaluation, by the time the outdoor bar nearest the main entrance was was approached, it was 11:30, and they were already closing.

 

Manager Summary

·       Bar Manager : Caucasian male, 6’0”, short dark hair, average build, yellow short-sleeved collared shirt  and black slacks (pictured at right)

·       Patio Manager: Caucasian male, 6’0”, short dark hair and goatee , average build, black short-sleeved collared shirt labeled “Xxxxx,”  and black slacks (pictured at left)

·       General Manager: Caucasian female, 5’9”, short graying brown hair, medium build, sky blue short-sleeved collared shirt and black slacks (pictured at right)

 

 

 

In general, the agent’s observations of the managers were brief and fleeting.  The first and only glimpse of the Bar manager was at 10:28.  At that time, the manager was standing beside the indoor bar, drinking a Long Trail Belgian White Ale (pictured at right).  Immediately after finishing it within two minutes, the Bar Manager stepped behind the bar, ringing something up in the POS.  This is a cause for concern, as it is a best practice not to have anyone who has been drinking behind the bar.  In a dram shop suit or identification compliance sting, this would not reflect well on the establishment.

The Patio Manager was seen several times outside, and was generally either talking to employees or just taking the scene in.  He was not present for the period in which Bartender 4 was pouring free house wine for an employee on the patio.

Finally, the General Manager was observed at 11:57 when she brought out a new cash drawer to Xxxxx, with whom she exchanged it for the older drawer.

The only major criticism of the managers was that they completely failed to address the two problems of obviously intoxicated guests being served and employees drinking at the establishment.  In fact, the Bar manager was himself drinking the only time the agent saw him.

There were no guest problems at any point that required manager intervention, but it is also worth mentioning that the agent never observed any of the managers communicating with any guests.

At 11:34, the agent returned to the indoor bar, ordering a Long Trail White Ale and a Diet Coke.  Both were served in fluted, stemmed Pilseners, and the soft drink came with ice.  Both beverages tasted pleasant and expected. Xxxxx declined to charge the agent for the soft drink

Michael Zenner – CEO      
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