Burger King manager Abdul Moin stole £1,800 from the work safe – after claiming he was owed the cash in travelling expenses.
The 20-year-old ran the company’s Affinity Staffordshire outlet, at Talke, when he disabled the CCTV to help himself to the cash.
But his area manager soon realised the money was missing and the defendant immediately came clean.
Now Moin – who has repaid the money – has been handed a 12-month community order at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.
The crime was discovered on January 5.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “It transpires that the defendant had caused the CCTV to stop for a short period while he opened the safe and took the money.
“Once police spoke to him he fully admitted it. He said, ‘I have owned up to it and I will pay it back’. The money has been returned to Burger King in full.”
The court heard the shift manager had put the money in his personal bank account. He told police he took the cash because he was owed travelling expenses from the company.
Moin, from Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to theft by an employee.
Scott Ashdown, mitigating, said the defendant has no previous convictions. His new temporary job has been terminated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “He was fully co-operative and made admissions preventing suspicion being cast on others. It was entirely out of character.
“He found himself, due to staffing issues, responsible for three different stores. He was filling the tank of his own car to travel from one restaurant to the others.
“He asked for money but it was falling on deaf ears. He was in desperate personal financial circumstances. It explains why someone who would not normally turn to criminality to solve a problem did so on this occasion.
“He saw a way out of a financial problem. He did the right thing by repaying the money in a timely fashion.”
The community order includes 150-hours unpaid work. He must also pay £185 costs and a £90 surcharge.