Alan Mitchell

Alan Mitchell, of Atlantic City, has a business that covertly watches bar and restaurant employees and compiles a report that helps reduce inventory losses.

Business: ETD Reporting Service

Owner: Alan, 62, and Marsha Mitchell, of Atlantic City

Location: Trenton Boulevard, Chelsea Heights, Atlantic City

Latest Video

Started: 1989

Employees: 7 part time

Phone: 800-976-1771

ETD Reporting Service is hired by establishments to go to bars, nightclubs and restaurants and such, and we report on the conduct of the employees.

We act as regular patrons and observe. My people know what they’re looking for. I’ve boiled this down to a science in the 23 years I’ve been doing it.

Every time a drink is served, it has to be accounted for or else it goes on the report. Whether it’s a comp drink or whatever, it has to be recorded.

If you do a million dollars in business, which in the bar business is no great shakes, you can lower your liquor costs just by pouring the correct amount of liquor by $20,000 a year. That would only be a 2 percent improvement.

We deliver a written report to the owners, who in theory act on the information. Sometimes we run into apathy because owners, if they’re making money, don’t want to rock the boat. Sometimes they argue about our report.

For the first 10 years, until 1999, I did all of the jobs myself. When my hair started turning gray, my wife said we’ve got to hire people.

By doing that, we’ve been able to spread to New York City, Philadelphia and North Jersey.

I have recently written a book on the subject titled “Bar Scams Exposed! How To Spot Thieving Bartenders & Other Tricks of Their Trade,” and published it on Amazon.

Entry: When I was going to college in Philadelphia, I got a job as a stock boy. They sent crews to retail shopping locations to buy merchandise, make sure everything got rung through properly, and then returned everything. They did the bar scene, too.

I had a video rental store in Ventnor and a guy bought the store, so I started up the reporting service.

Future plans: I might reconnect with the casinos. I haven’t worked for them for a long time.

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More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.

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