This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
One of the restaurant keepers briefly alluded to in a former chapter, professed not to believe in the honor or honesty of any person where money is concerned. It may have been only his business code which he thus expressed, for some men are different when they put off their business coat and become more human. This strict man had to let the ordinary lunch business of his place run on with only the common check in use in so many places, trusting something to the tried old employes, whom he had watched for years, and much to his own keen supervision of receipts and expenditures; but in his restaurant, where the amounts of the bills were larger and the orders more complicated, he had a system of double checking, or more strictly triple checking, which was clumsy, but "it wo. ked" to his satisfaction. He had a colored head waiter and a white cashier - the less likely to be too friendly and in collusion against him - both having the same desk for headquarters, the cashier of course seated, the head waiter here and there and back again.
When a customer came in and ordered from the bill of fare the headwaiter wrote down his order in full with the money total added, numbered it, tore the leaf from the tab and deposited it like a ballot in a box, gave the waiter the next leaf, which was a duplicate with the same number, to place by the customer's plate, and so went on with the next order. When the customer departed he brought his check to the cashier and paid it, and the cashier dropped the check into his ballot box. When the customer ordered something additional, an additional numbered check was given, and the same person might have four or five checks in hand instead of one. At convenient intervals the proprietor would go over the head-waiter's original checks and the cashier's currency, and if there were any discrepancies the matter could be explained while the transaction was still fresh in the mind - as it might have occurred that Mr. Such-a-number refused to pay for a certain dish or changed his order to something else. In this case the headwaiter was required to be a rapid writer and the business was only of moderate dimensions, it might not have worked so well in a crowd.
In many places there are various cash articles, such as cigars, drinks, fruits, confectionary, etc., sold and paid for at the same time that the meal check from the restaurant is paid, and a watch is placed over the cashier to keep tally of the things sold. Usually this is an elevated box like a pew in a church with a curtain screen, in which perhaps the proprietor's wife, or some such interested person, spends part or most of the day; the entrance being so arranged that the party handling the cash never knows when the watcher is absent, if ever. A similar watch is placed in some establishments over the order department in the kitchen.