Restaurant Articles

Items You Didn’t Realize Could be Stolen at Your Restaurant

By July 26, 2016 No Comments

As an operator or owner of a quick service restaurant you might assume that you aren’t at risk of shoplifting and theft.

 Think again, though, because there are a surprising number of items that can be stolen from your restaurant. Here are some items that are frequently stolen from restaurants, and you might be surprised to see what made the list.


It might not seem like much, but those little ketchup and mustard packets can be a hot commodity for thieves. Whether it’s an employee or a customer that’s doing their unofficial grocery shopping, be on the lookout for people who seem to take a few too many sauce packets.

Napkins and plasticware

Similarly, employees and patrons can easily steal excess amounts of napkins and plasticware. Unfortunately, these small thefts can all add up to big monetary losses for a restaurant, so trying to prevent them is worth the effort.

Silverware and cups

Plastic drink cups, glasses, and other reusable silverware can also be pocketed by patrons and/or staff members. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to confront customers about these thefts and many restaurant owners will choose to “ignore” the situation.

If the loss of silverware and other items becomes a problem consider offering branded items for purchase. It’s a technique that some restaurants have used with success.

Bathroom fixtures and other metal pieces

It sounds crazy, but customers have stolen things like bathroom fixtures from quick service restaurants.

A Florida man was once arrested for stealing bathroom fixtures from local fast-food restaurants. The fixtures included brass and chrome pieces from toilets, and police assume that the pieces were sold as scrap metal. It’s an important lesson for restaurant owners to learn: there are hardly any items in a restaurant that can’t be stolen.

Food and beverages

It may come as a surprise to some restaurant owners, but employees could also be stealing beverages and food from your restaurant. Fresh ingredients, full meals that were cooked and never sold, pre-packaged drinks, and more can all be supplements to regular grocery shopping for some unscrupulous hires.

Employees can also give their friends and family members free (or extremely discounted) meals, and all operators should be aware of this variety of theft.

Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other household items

Yes, even basic household items like toilet paper and bleach can be easily stolen from your supply closet.