QR codes have become ubiquitous in restaurants, helping businesses process orders and payments quickly with less labor. But as with all technology, there is risk for malicious activity that could impact your guests. Cybercriminals have begun to alter QR codes in an effort to redirect consumers to fraudulent websites and access their personal details. This can happen via stickers that are placed on top of legitimate QR codes on a restaurant menu or signage, or via fraudulent QR codes emailed to consumers. Consumers can avoid being scammed by ensuring they don’t scan codes that appear to have been tampered with, never scanning an emailed QR code, checking the URL of the page that the QR code takes them to, or visiting the restaurant’s website directly to place an order. It’s a risk to be aware of if you’re directing your guests to QR codes more often right now (and reducing staff accordingly).
Restaurant employee theft is a common problem, accounting for 75 percent of inventory shortages and 4 percent sales, according to the National Restaurant Association. Your systems and tools can help you stop it soon after it starts – or even prevent it altogether. A TouchBistro report advises leaning on your POS for help. For example, your POS settings can help you place controls on what employees can do when placing orders – such as preventing the printing of a bill if an order has not actually been served, or the deletion of items on a bill before it is closed and then keeping the cash. Your POS reports can also help you investigate questionable activity by flagging transactions that were removed or modified after they were finalized and those that involved voids or discounts, and scrutinizing day-end reconciliations that create an opportunity for underreporting earnings. It can show you how many times a cash drawer was opened and by whom, so you can quickly identify the employees to speak to in the event of a shortage. It can also identify discrepancies between an employee’s scheduled hours and how many hours they are reporting. Beyond your POS, consider the use of cameras at your POS and inventory storage areas, which can help you send the message that you’re committed to keeping everybody honest.
The lockdown period has led to a spike in the transactions conducted online – and fraud has climbed at the same time. A new study from Forter, which specializes in e-commerce fraud prevention, found that in recent months online food transactions from restaurants have increased by 134 percent and online orders from food brands have jumped 225 percent. At the same time, the study found a 32 percent increase in online fraud in the restaurant sector. That figure may grow further as it can take time to identify fraudulent transactions. As you get business back up and running, be mindful of cyber threats including the hacking of user accounts, shipping fraud and the purchase of gift cards with stolen credit cards. While you take steps to train employees on safety practices, also review your technology systems and employee training procedures to manage potential weak spots.