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Hotels, Cafes And Restaurants

( Originally Published 1912 )

"Where have my profits gone?" is a problem which has many times been forcefully brought home to the hotel, cafe and restaurant proprietors. Way back in "Ye Olden Times," in the day of the Tavern and Coffee House, the inn-keepers were sorely beset with leaks and losses. To overcome these, and yet have a smooth-running organization, as the business has developed to its present day magnitude, has required a wonderful amount of ingenuity and study on the part of the hotel proprietors and experts.

We might say that it is an art all its own to successfully cope with the situation. Every proprietor has had his own troubles, yet through the great school of experience and the guidance of experts there have been developed ways and means which to-day make it possible for a conservation of profits.

To cover each individual case, or even a small portion of them, would require many chapters. These experiences undoubtedly would make very interesting reading and would open the eyes of many proprietors who to-day feel certain that their former causes of losses have been virtually eliminated. In recent years some establishments have been so unfortunate as to lose ten thousand, twenty-five thou-sand, yes, fifty thousand dollars within a short period through channels which were supposed to have been effectually closed.

Errors Can Be Prevented

Starting with the guest and ending with the paying of the check there is a long line of possible errors and leaks, which, fortunately for the proprietor and all others concerned, can be safeguarded. To write the order, deliver the food and obtain payment therefor, seems a simple matter. To err, however, is human. Mistakes are simple things. To over-come them is equally simple. A simple, accurate method is to use a book that combines an original customer's check and a duplicate kitchen, bar or cigar check by the use of a sheet of carbon paper. These books are made with one pad on top containing a certain number (usually fifty to each pad) of customer's checks, with a numbered stub at the top to prove that all checks are accounted for by the waiter. Below the customer's part of the check is another pad containing fifty or one hundred kitchen, bar or cigar checks, as the case may be. The working of this system is so arranged that the customer's check is placed over the kitchen check or duplicate, and the items written thereon. The duplicates are so arranged that each contains only such items as are required by the various departments, as the kitchen, bar or cigar stand, etc. Each of these departments gets a separate check, while the original checks show the order in its entirety. These divisional duplicates are presented to each department, and call only for the goods required from their respective departments, thus giving a voucher to each department for the supplies received. These checks and duplicates may be consecutively or serially numbered, and when audited make a complete control.

The other method of making the sale is as follows :

For instance, an order is given by the patron for wines, food and cigars. The waiter would use one duplicate slip for the bar, one for the kitchen and one for the cigar stand. All of the items on these second slips, or duplicates, would be listed on the original customer's check, which is left with the guest for payment. The original check when paid is held by the cashier, as his voucher. When the audit is made each day, it is made according to the serial or consecutive number. The totals of the original slips must agree with the totals of the slips of each individual waiter in the various departments. In other words, all irregularities are over-come as every department is charged and credited with the slips and amounts as shown. The Guest, or original check is totalled by the cashier before being presented to the customer for payment.

The above system is very elastic and can be used in conjunction with either single or double dies, cash registers, or any other mechanical device that is used for printing or stamping prices on the Guest and Duplicate Checks.

The book described above can also be used where it is necessary to have two duplicates, one being left in the department and the other left with the checker. By this method an extra control is obtained on the checker, waiter and various departments, thereby making loss by collusion practically impossible.

The above system can also be used where no checkers are employed, and waiters fill in the prices.

The success of this system is made by the use of carbon paper which registers on the duplicates in a different color from the original the articles and amounts shown on the original. Any change, there-fore, from the original entries is clearly and convincingly shown. It makes collusion, irregularities and errors practically impossible.

This is only one of the many systems used in hotels, cafes and restaurants which make for the smooth running of these institutions. In every part of the hotel a clear record must be made of every transaction. In these records the use of carbon paper has come more and more to be looked upon as a success-producing requisite.

"Tell-Tale," "Tear-Off," "Block and Stub"

The tell-tale system, the tear-off slip system, the cafeteria check system, the block check and stub system are designed to meet the conditions in various kinds of "quick service" restaurants and lunch rooms.

Quick-lunch Counter Check Systems

The tell-tale system is adapted to quick-lunch restaurants, barber shops, bars, etc. This system consists of checks with stubs, each being numbered consecutively. On the check is printed different de-nominations from 5 to 60 cents, as a rule, although they may be furnished in other denominations. These checks are put in pads from 50 to 150 and are wire stapled together. One hundred and fifty of these checks are put in the waiter's individual holders, with the stub locked in by a key held by the proprietor. The pads in their holders are given out to the waiters and a record of the first and last serial number is made on a record sheet. With this record, each waiter is held responsible for the ac-counting of each check given to him. A punch is also furnished each waiter, with which he punches out the amount representing the purchase. The highest amount punched represents the amount to be paid the cashier.

The tell-tale system is a double safeguard control. It safeguards the honest employee against injustice and suspicion and facilitates the quick and accurate accounting at the end of the day's business. The tell-tale system makes it very convenient for a corporation that has several restaurants or lunch-rooms. Each branch can send its checks to the auditing department, to be assorted and checked up with the daily report sheets. The totals of these sheets are then entered in the monthly auditing book, which shows at a glance the amount of business which each individual waiter and each store has done.

The cafeteria system is very similar to the tell-tale system, except that the slips are given out at the door only and punched by the waiters or counter-men instead of being carried by the waiters.

Other Systems

The tear-off system consists of a check serially numbered, bearing various denominations with the lowest amount at the bottom. Between each amount is a perforated line. As the purchases are made the amounts are so torn off that the bottom amount rep-resents the amount to be paid the cashier.

The block check and stub system consists of pads of checks of various denominations serially numbered. These checks are given out by the cashier in advance of the purchase.

System for Soda Fountains

The following system has proved most successful in a large number of stores. Each store is furnished with a number of checks printed on cardboard with a perforated stub and padded 50 to 150 in a pad. Each pad is of different denominations, from 5c to 25c. These pads are locked in a holder and these holders are placed in a stand on the cashier's desk. Customers wishing to purchase goods at the soda water counter, apply to the cashier first for a check and pay for same, the stub of said check remaining locked in the holder. The check is then taken by the customer to the soda fountain, where she receives her goods upon presentation of this check. These checks are serially numbered and are audited each night by the proprietor.

Another system in vogue is that of having these same checks at the soda water counter and the dispenser hands the check to the customer, who in turn pays the cashier the amount of the check, just the reverse of the above method.

The former method is considered preferable as there is no chance for the customer to get his goods without first paying for them. With the latter method it has been found that some customers either intentionally or otherwise will leave the store with the check, and without paying.

All of these systems work toward one end—viz., the prevention of loss from any source.

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