Lesley Holmes is a quick service restaurant franchisee; recently she shared with us how Solink helped her put a stop to a major problem that looked like a minor one: employee food theft.
“We never could stay on top of getting our team members to pay for their food–even though they received it at a discount,” shared Holmes, talking about daily life at her popular coffee shop franchise. Holmes installed Solink to help find and solve problems within the daily life of her business; with a dashboard of video clips paired perfectly with POS transactions, Holmes was able to quickly spot unusual activity.
“Getting employees to follow the procedure here actually equated to $18,000 of employee meals per year that were not being paid for before we were using Solink. And to think, this is only one of its many functions.”
An overnight improvement
“Within a week of installing Solink, the employees knew that we were watching and tracking transactions; by the end of the first month, we saw an increase in employee meal payment rise to $1500.” Taking a pastry or sandwich without ringing it through cash may seem like a victimless crime, but the cumulative cost to the shop can be fatal. With staff aware that management had Solink to help keep an eye on things, employees were starting to think about what they were really doing. “Getting employees to follow the procedure here actually equated to $18,000 of employee meals per year that were not being paid for before we were using Solink.”
We followed up with Lesley to hear more about how she discovered Solink, and how she was able to implement it to cut down on employee theft.
Solink asks: How did you discover Solink?
Lesley: I first heard about Solink from another local franchisee who uses it. I went to see her store and discuss the issues we both have, and while describing my issues, she said, ‘You have to get Solink, it’s life-changing!’
They were at the franchise conference in Florida last November. I was introduced to the platform and I ended up subscribing on the spot. The [camera and POS] systems at each of our five locations were all different because they had all been implemented at different times. The systems weren’t all connected, and we’d only look at them when there was a specific incident to look into. Being able to access all of the locations within the one Solink platform was a huge selling feature for us. Solink has already paid for itself tenfold.
S: How did you first realize you were dealing with such a big problem?
“Before Solink, I would have estimated that 50% of employees were paying for their food. However, Solink helped us discover that only about 10% of our employees were actually paying–even though they received a discount.“
L: We always knew we had a problem with employees and food, but we could never really track it, so it was difficult to gauge the scale of it. We tried simple procedures like using one of those receipt spikes where employees could place their purchases on there, but no one would do it. We’d do spot checks, but employees would tell us, “I’ll pay for this after my shift,” or, “I’m going to pay it tomorrow.” We didn’t realize just how big of an issue it was until we got Solink.
Before Solink, I would have estimated that 50% of employees were paying for their food. However, Solink helped us discover that only about 10% of our employees were actually paying–even though they received a discount.Because it had been so long since it had been tracked properly, it seemed like everyone was just abusing the system. Now that we have Solink, they are aware that we can monitor this behaviour; seeing those employee purchases rise by $1,500 in a single month shows us how big of a problem it was.
S: Has Solink helped you in any other situations?
L: We’ve been able to help the police regularly because we’re able to pinpoint our camera footage to the time easily. If a nearby store was investigating an incident, we can access all of our cameras from that specific time frame within seconds and can see if the suspect was in our location. We can then share that data with the investigating officers in a click of a button.
It also has helped us in some interpersonal issues between our staff. We can watch situations unfold from every angle; and whether it’s an argument or a misplaced item, we can solve the conflict using our footage.
Solink has been extremely helpful not only for me, but also for my store managers. My manager Kate was actually the one who discovered the employee theft situation. She has become our guru on anything Solink, and knows how to use the system to its maximum potential. Situations that would have taken her hours to investigate now only take her minutes. It’s been a huge time saver and asset for her and the rest of our team.
S: Do you have any advice for other franchisees or managers?
“Learning that our employees were stealing from us wasn’t the best feeling, but at least we have been able to put a stop to it.“
L: We thought that between 50-60% of our staff were honest and trustworthy, but we discovered we were overestimating by a significant amount. Learning that our employees were stealing from us wasn’t the best feeling, but at least we have been able to put a stop to it. We would highly recommend Solink; it helps you stop internal theft just as much as it helps you deal with external theft. If you want something that is easy to use, efficient, and gives you the most value possible, Solink is your best bet.
It can be hard to face facts and find an issue with your employees–the very people you trust with your livelihood. But Lesley’s story shows how important it is to face these issues head-on. Imagine if you could save $18,000 dollars a year with just a quick glance at a mobile app! And you can, too–ask us for a tour of Solink and we’ll show you how.