Don’t Let Poor Cash Handling Hurt Your Success – Part 2

By David Scott Peters

In my last post I addressed some samples of classic cash handling errors we see in restaurants all the time. As a reminder, it is your responsibility to make sure ALL of your money makes it into the bank on a daily basis. You must eliminate poor cash handling procedures, eliminate the majority of ways your cash can be stolen and avoid costly fines through proper systems.

Believe it or not, I have systems for cash controls! Follow these procedures and take your success — along with your cash — to the bank.


Server Checkout

  1. Make sure all checks are closed.
  2. Count servers cash, run tape (if needed), date, +/-$, server’s name.
  3. Cash must match cash due.
  4. Match credit card slips report with server report. If they do not match, look at each credit card slip against the POS receipts to find the problem.
  5. Staple credit card slips to server report. Put server reports and credit card slips in two separate piles.

Helpful hints:

  • Money should be turned in faced.
  • Credit card slips in descending order.
  • Change should be less than one dollar.
  • You should receive larger bills, not $35 in ones.
  • Servers will always be even or over. If they give you a quarter and they were only required to give 24 cents, you do not give change, you are not a bank. Send them to the bar if they want change.
  • If there are COMPS, look for coupons, signed slips or anything else to confirm them.

Bar Checkout

  1. Make sure all checks are closed.
  2. Count servers cash, run tape (if needed), date, +/-$, server’s name.
  3. Clear and continue tape.
  4. Cash must match cash due.
  5. Start a tape, adding all server reports (cash due), subtracting any paid outs and total.
  6. Clear and continue tape.
  7. Count drawer by compartments.
  8. Count the bar drawer back to $300.00.

When counting the last drawer for the day, purchase all of the loose change you can from the daily deposit bag. The goal is to finish the day with less than one dollar in loose change in the bank deposit.

Helpful hints:

  • Bartenders should face their money before they turn their drawer in.
  • Bartenders should bundle and wrap money:
  • pennies by 50 cents
  • nickels by $2.00
  • dimes by $5.00
  • quarters by $10.00
  • ones by $50.00 – 50 bills
  • fives by $100.00 – 20 bills
  • tens by $500.00 – 50 bills
  • twenties by $1000.00 – 50 bills

Counting the Bar Drawer Back to $300

  1. Look at tape with the drawer total.
  2. Take out change (If tape total is $689.52, take out 52 cents.) Place the change removed on the desk in front of the compartment.
  3. Re-run tape subtracting change you took out. If done correctly the change will equal an even dollar amount ($.00).
  4. Pull all the bills out of the drawer.
  5. Put in three stacks of ones ($150.00). Add 0 to 4 additional ones to have a drawer total to that point to have a 0 or 5 in the ones positions (i.e., change of $13.00, add three stacks and two ones ($152.00) to have a total of $165.00 in the drawer to that point) and add to tape.
  6. Put in $100.00 in fives and additional fives, to get to an even $300.00.
  7. Total tape and rip off.
  8. Date, time, initial and put in drawer.

Counting Deposit

  1. Try to have most of the change equal less than a dollar.
  2. Count $1s and $5s, make bundles.
  3. Count master, replacing bundles for loose money.
  4. Count deposit, change through $100s, run tape.
  5. Add checks.
  6. Re-total.

Master Bank

Master bank should equal $1,100.00

  • $400.00 in fives.
  • $350.00 in ones.
  • $30.00 in quarters.
  • $15.00 in dimes.
  • $4.00 in nickels.
  • $1.00 in pennies.

Run tape, initial and date.

The Master bank should be verified at least twice a day. It should always be verified before you count your daily deposit.

Deposit Slip

  • Fill out the deposit slip amounts, i.e., currency, coins, checks.
  • Fill out the number of checks in the appropriate box.
  • Fill in check numbers.
  • Date with the date of the deposit.
  • Put the deposit slip, tape and cash in a deposit bag. Zip and put it in the safe.

Deposits are taken to the bank the next day and change is purchased to balance the master bank to $1,100.00


  1. Do all employee, reverse happy hour or any other comps for servers and bar.
  2. Make sure all checks are closed.
  3. Run an open check/table report.
  4. Run a flash revenue report.
  5. Count out all servers and bar.
  6. Run a timekeeping report to verify all staff has punched out. Adjust times if needed.


Preparing Daily Envelope

  1. Keep transaction report with the confirmation number in an envelope along with credit card slips, (signed copies).
  2. Include paid outs, entire house report, cash out report, credit card
  3. Confirmation sheet – label with yesterday’s date and day of week
  4. File

It’s your choice

I know that it is ultimately your choice, it’s your cash and it’s your business. But if it were me, I would follow our suggested cash handling systems or your own standard trainable systems and make shortages a disciplinary issue that could ultimately cost people their job.

When you make it a responsibility to handle cash properly and it’s tied to their employment, you create a culture where counting money accurately is not just an expectation, it’s the rule.

And lastly, when you do all of these things and your bank deposit is more than $5 off, you know you have a problem and it could just be with a manager stealing or just not doing their job. Either way, you will have more control of your business and have money in the bank to pay your bills.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at


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