In the restaurant industry, the terms “void” and “comp” are used frequently and often interchangeably by bartenders, servers, and even managers. Most workers have a preference for one word or the other, but they might not realize they don’t mean the same thing.
While this seems like a rather innocuous mistake that won’t have any impact on the business, these errors can add up and have a significant impact on your bottom line. When you’re creating a ticket for an order, it pays to be accurate and consistent.
Let’s take a look at these two terms and get to the bottom of their meanings and when they should be employed by servers.
Knowing the Difference
So, what is the difference between void and comp? Well, a “void” is something that wasn’t made or delivered and won’t be on the final ticket. For example, if a drink or a side order is forgotten and nobody ever makes it, the item should be removed from the bill and entered as a void.
With a “comp,” the item in question has been prepared and delivered to a table intentionally. This item will show up on the ticket and bill, but the customer will not be charged for it. Items can be comped for a number of reasons, like a regular customer getting a free meal as a birthday present. On the other end of the spectrum, an unhappy customer might have their meal comped due to an error on the restaurant’s part.
So, while these terms are often used interchangeably, it’s a mistake – somewhat like mixing up apples and oranges. The number on the bill might be $0, but it’s important to distinguish why.
Does it Really Matter?
Many servers might not think this is a big deal, even if they understand the difference between voiding and comping something. It’s important to train all employees to know the difference and understand why it’s important to categorize voids and comps correctly.
When items are classified incorrectly, it can have a direct impact on your restaurant’s gross sales. Instead of making informed decisions using accurate data, you’ll be forced to make an estimate. Even worse, you might not even realize your numbers are off and you could be costing yourself money. This is just one of many reasons why a POS system with detailed inventory reports is so important.
Let’s say your staff has been voiding items when they should’ve been comped. Instead of accurately displaying your gross food sales, it will appear as though these sales never happened.
Consider this perspective: If you begin voiding items that were delivered to the table instead of classifying them correctly as a comp, your gross food sales will be inaccurately reduced. These voids make it so that the sale never occurred. Since these items were comped and not voided, it will appear as though the food was wasted or stolen instead of comped.
This might seem like a small issue, but it will add up over time and negatively impact inventory reports and gross food sales. These days, it’s more important than ever to have a tight handle on your restaurant data. You can’t afford to have simple mistakes cost you money.
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