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Common Causes of Stock Loss

Common Causes of Stock Loss

Here at Sterling Stock Auditors we help businesses within the restaurant, hotel and catering trades keep track of their stock. However, when completing a stocktake and sharing the audit with the client, we notice stock losses. There are many reasons for this. In this blog post we share the most common causes of stock loss, so you can try and avoid stock loss in your business.


Shoplifting in retail businesses costs shops around £613 million a year. However, theft can still take place in restaurants, bars and hotels too. Whether it’s a bag of crisps here, a hotel room towel there or an extra drink a customer ‘forgets’ to pay for. These thefts within your business will result in stock losses.

Employee Theft

Research shows that £1 in every £5 of stock loss can be directly attributed to theft by employees. Again, this could be as simple as a bag of crisps on every shift, or a bottle of spirits taken at the end of a shift.


Refunds can be extremely costly for the hospitality and catering trade. Unlike a shop, when an item is returned, it can rarely be sold on. If refunds are not tracked correctly within your business then this will show as a stock loss in your stock take.


The products you order every year travel millions of miles, they also have numerous stops on the way and come from various places. Very often a stock loss can be down to the fact that the product never arrived at your premises in the first place. It may have been delivered to the wrong place or stolen by the driver. Regardless of the reason, unless this is noticed t the time of delivery sign-off it will be a stock loss.

Untrained Staff

A high staff turnover, (which can be very common in the catering industry), can lead to stock losses. Your staff members need to be trained on portion control for meals and serving sizes for drinks too. If staff members are poorly trained they could be serving too much and this will result in a stock loss at the time of your stock take.

If you need help with your stock management or stock los management then please contact us directly. We would be only too happy to help.

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