If you have read the Herald Sun recently you would have heard about Melbourne’s ‘Bungling Crook’ captured by CCTV trying, but miserably failing, to steal tills through the service windows of drive through restaurants. Sadly for him, but luckily for the restaurant owners the ‘Bungling Crook’ didn’t do his homework. The tills were too large to pull back through the service windows so he left the premises empty handed. Sadly not all would be criminals are so lacking in forethought. Crime affects all types of businesses and restaurants are no exception. Fast food establishments tend to be at greater risk than those offering a fine dining experience. However, all restaurant owners should be fully aware of potential security risks. Awareness is the first step towards minimizing risks and a fully functioning security system should be the next one because as the old cliché goes: failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
What can go wrong if you don’t have security for your restaurant? Here are the top five risks you should be actively preventing and how:
Vandalism is a greater risk for casual dining or fast food outlets, but again, simple measures can prevent vandalism. Ensuring all areas inside and out are well lit is essential and this includes the parking lot. Outdoor bathrooms should be locked and require a key from the cashier station. Furthermore, securing all outdoor furniture during opening hours and locking them away at all other times avoids both vandalism and theft.
Unfortunately employee theft is a common type of crime, which can involve stolen merchandise or unregistered sales. Obviously the best way to prevent this is through the development of good working relationships that foster dignity, respect and an overall team ethic. That might seem like common sense, but it isn’t always common practice. Other simple ideas include having an inventory control system that can help you recognize shortages that might indicate theft. You can also limit employee access to cash or information on a needs basis.
Burglary is entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. Visibility is a key factor in preventing burglary. Plants, furniture or other objects should not block visibility into the restaurant, and all entrances and exits should be well lit. CCTV and alarm systems act as a major deterrent to burglary, so systems should be highly visible and always operational. The sound of an alarm can be enough to send the burglar running before any damage can be done. Investing in high quality locks is also worthwhile, as not all locks are made equal.
Robbery is a more serious type of crime than burglary because it involves the taking of something specifically from someone by force or threat of force. Your staff members are at the greatest risk of robbery. All the preventative measures of burglary apply here as well, but you can add a few more to the list. First of all, provide proper training. Staff should have access to a written policy on what to do in the case of robbery and other emergencies. Secondly, never open or close the restaurant solo. Thirdly, ensure cash registers are frequently deposited into the safe. You could also have a sign within the restaurant indicating the maximum amount kept on premises removing incentives from imaginative would be robbers. Finally, ‘drive through windows’ are more likely to be targets of robbery than the front of house so the window is as much of a priority for risk prevention as the front door.
It may seem strange to consider risks outside of the restaurant itself, but how you take your cash to the bank is worth considering. A would-be thief may monitor behavior to look for weak spots in the chain. The key is to vary behavior by not visiting the bank at set times on set days. You can also vary the route you take and not carry cash in a way that alerts people you are depositing large sums of money from a restaurant.
If you would like some more expert advice on how to secure your business call Chartercom today on 1300 844 844 or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au.