Buy a new restaurant? Make sure POS machines registered to you

Every sale counts now more than ever, so it is imperative that McDonald’s owner/operators keep a sharp eye on their cashless accounts to detect any anomalies.

We have seen a growing number of instances where an incorrect merchant ID number is logged in a cash register or self-order kiosk, resulting in cashless deposits being deposited into someone else’s account. In many cases, this occurs when an owner/operator purchases a store from another owner/operator and not every register or self-order kiosk has been converted to the new merchant ID number. The former owner of the store is receiving the cashless deposits into his or her bank account instead of those sales being credited to the proper restaurant and owner. This can also happen when you purchase a new register and do not enter the correct merchant ID number at the time of setup.

We spoke with one owner/operator who discovered that a week’s worth of sales had been deposited into the previous owner’s account. He had recently purchased a restaurant and thought all the registers had been converted to his merchant ID. He realized, though, that one machine had somehow been overlooked. The operator discovered that the merchant ID number on the register for the drive-thru – his primary revenue source with dining rooms being closed due to COVID-19 concerns – had not been updated to reflect his own.

The owner/operator reached out to our office and contacted his regional Operations Technology Manager (OTM) with McDonald’s. He was able to locate the misdirected funds, which were then deposited in his correct account.

While this story resulted in an eventual happy ending, it took a lot of work – and likely a few sleepless nights – to get everything straight.

The best advice we can offer our clients is to remain diligent in your daily operations.

  1. Make sure all your point-of-sales machines – registers and self-order kiosks – have the correct merchant ID numbers. This is particularly important for those who have recently purchased or leased new POS systems or who have purchased or acquired a new restaurant.
  2. Our office reconciles cashless receipts each month for clients who use our monthly accounting services, but we recommend that you review your cashless receipts every couple of days. The more often you review them, the more likely you will be able to notice inconsistencies and correct them sooner rather than later.

We recommend that if you notice any discrepancies over $100 that cannot be accounted for as a result of cashless fees or ISP glitches that you take these actions before contacting the other owner/operator to recover your funds:

  1. Verify that the merchant ID numbers are correct at all your points of sales.
  2. Contact our office so we can help you determine an accurate accounting of the misdirected funds.
  3. Contact your OTM, who will help you get the correct merchant ID number into the register and determine where your funds were directed.

As always, please contact our office if we can help in any way.

Landon Cheek is an Accounting Senior with our Financial Accounting Services Team. Landon can be reached at lcheek@antarescpas.com.