Independent Restaurant Tip for Difference Between a Void and a Comp

I bet you never knew that you have to truly understand the difference between a comp and a void because it affects your cost of goods sold. It affects your profitability. It can give you a false sense that you're making money or losing money. Click below to watch this tip or continue scrolling to read a breakdown of the difference between a void and a comp in a restaurant.

Of course you know what a void is. Of course you know what a comp is and how your management team is using it in your point of sale system on a daily basis. But the truth of matter is, I can tell you that there is a challenge out there. I've worked with literally thousands of operators all over the world, primarily North America. And I cannot tell you how many times I come across the misuse of voids and comps.

Why is it important? You want to know where your cash should be? You want to have accurate cost of goods sold? Chef, kitchen manager, do you want to stop getting yelled at because your food costs is high? And what if I told you it was falsely high because your management team in the front house is voiding things improperly? Does that spark your interest?

Let’s start with void. A void is something that a server would ring up or a cashier would ring up. A ticket comes up back in the kitchen and then a server comes running back and says don’t make it! You get a manager and you void it, you take it off the ticket. It is an item that was ordered by accident. It is a mistake. I ordered two burgers instead of one because I hit the key twice. I was moving too fast. It's a product the customer didn't really order.

A comp is two things. One, it's a promotion. It might be a coupon like buy one, get one free, 10 percent off, 25 percent off your second item, whatever it may be. And that means you ring it up and a manager comes up and discounts the amount, kitchen makes it, you deliver it to the guest, and you’re taking some of the price off the ticket.

The second use of a comp is that someone screwed up. You burnt the burger or the steak. You had long ticket times. You gave crappy service. Whatever it is, you want to buy the guests something. You take that burger off the ticket and replace it with something else. So the bottom line is you’re going to remove the money. You made the product. You delivered that product. Yet, you’re not going to collect the money. That is a comp.

A comp can be a way to take care of a guest, thank them for being a great customer, buy them a drink (if it's legal in your state and you're able to do so). Give the beer and take it off the ticket. Show that it's there.

Now, what happens? Why is the difference between a void and a comp important? Well, besides those things that I went through, if you ring up a $10 burger and void it, the $10 never made the POS system as far as it's concerned. If you ring up a $10 burger and comp it, the $10 remains in the POS system, the sale of the burger remains and the point of sale system. With a void, there is no sale.

Why is this important? Many restaurants use voids as comps. When you void something, that transaction never happened. Which means your use goes up. You show based on your use that you use that burger and you didn't bring any money in. 

Well, wait a second. If it was supposed to be a comp and you voided it, the product left. It got delivered and the money didn't come in, and you don't get credit for it. Your food cost is high. Whereas if you ring up a $10 burger and comp it, while you didn't get the $10 in cash, when you run food cost, your gross sales, it still has the $10 burger on your report. This says you should have used the product and you brought in $10, even though you didn't collect the money.

So, if you want to have accurate food cost, accurate pour cost, bottle beer, draught beer, wine, liquor, you've got to make sure you understand the difference between a void and a comp.

I cover Restaurant 101, putting systems in place and more in my book. Order your copy of  Restaurant Prosperity Formula: What Successful Restaurateurs Do here

You can also complete a free restaurant evaluation. It's a great way to identify immediate opportunities where you can make things better in your restaurant. 

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips. 

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