How to Prevent Minibar Theft & Tampering

Is that tap water in the minibar vodka bottle? Are those cocktail napkins crammed into the pretzel tin? If you’ve experienced minibar theft or product tampering, you know exactly how frustrating it can be. One of the most commonly targeted hotel amenities for theft is the minibar. This is why we’ve polled some of our experienced hotel partners on their tips and tricks for minibar theft prevention.


Here are some successful ways to keep your in-room theft low, your minibar revenue high, and your food and beverage products safe for future guests:


Eyes On The Prize

W Hotel Minibar

Melinda Stevenson, Food & Beverage Manager for W Hotels Atlanta Buckhead, advises putting products into your in-room minibars that make it very difficult for guests to conceal tampering. This includes snacks in clear bags or containers that provide easy product viewing, cans that have a foil pop-top without a lid, and wine bottles with a cork instead of a twist-off. She also suggests placing small branded logo labels over the seals on water or liquor bottles, and to always have products facing the same direction so your staff can visually determine what has been handled by a guest.


Smart Moves

Fairmont Southampton Minibar

Dennis Carter, Maitre D’ of In-Room Dining for The Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, swears by his smart bar system which has product sensors to detect movement of all food and beverage items. This means a quick and easy follow-up by staff to ensure that none of the items moved were tampered with and placed back into the bar.


Seal The Deal

Grand Minneapolis Minibar

Martha Ortiz, Director of Housekeeping for The Grand Hotel Minneapolis, places plastic tabs on the minibar lock that break upon guest access. When the seal is broken, staff know to check products for potential tampering and product consumption. She also double-seals some of the beverages to ensure guests do not consume them and refill with tap water.


Automation Station

Fontainebleau minibar

Carlos Cordoba, Private Bar Manager for Fontainebleau Miami Beach, says that automated minibars are the way to go–especially for large-scale properties. These bars record all guest activity that occurs in the minibar, making it simple for staff to check those specific products for tampering. He also trains his minibar attendants to specifically look for oddities, such as cans that are leaking or seals that are broken, and to ensure that all minibar offerings are in perfect condition. Additionally, Carlos uses a software system that links directly to the minibars and automatically locks them once a room becomes vacant, preventing potential staff minibar theft as well.


Have some great advice for how to prevent guest tampering or minibar product theft? We would love to hear from you!