Quick-serve restaurants are popular eating places for several reasons. Unfortunately, some of those are the very reasons why these establishments need enhanced security programs.
Why Quick-Serve Restaurants are Vulnerable to Crime
Quick-serve restaurants (QSR) are found everywhere, from popular meeting areas to tucked away nooks and crannies of every city. These various locations meet the demands of an ‘on-the-go’ society, but it also means QSRs may be situated in not-so-desirable parts of town. QSRs are often open late at night, many operate on a 24-hour-a-day schedule. Typically, QSRs are staffed by young people, who may not be aware of their surroundings or attentive to suspicious customers. QSRs can attract tired or stressed patrons in need of a quick meal, but these off-peak hours of operation can also invite unstable or irritated customers onto the QSR premises. Finally, these eateries present a convenient access to fast getaway thoroughfares or dark alleyways, have an abundance of cash on site, and often have inexperienced staff in their employ. These factors add up to the perfect target for ill-willed criminals.
How to Mitigate Security Vulnerabilities
Depending on location and hours of operation, each individual QSR site has varying security concerns. To mitigate these security vulnerabilities that are unique to each location, it’s important to walk each QSR site using a checklist similar to the following:
- Lighting: Is the lighting sufficient at all hours of the day to deter loitering and increase safety of employees and customers entering/exiting the location?
- Visibility: Are there any areas within the restaurant that are obscured from view of employees and the public?
- Cash Safe: Is the safe securely locked at all times and is the office work area out of sight to the public? Does the safe have a time-delay?
- Employee Preparedness: Have all employees been deliberately trained on safety procedures and robbery prevention?
- Security: Are video surveillance systems and alarm systems in good working order?
- Structure: Are the drive-thru windows fortified? Is there a peephole on the back door so employees can see who is on the other side before opening? Is every lock in working order?
- Monies: Is the frequency of cash audits sufficient to monitor adherence to store policy?
- High-Quality Staff: Are rigorous background checks and mandatory drug tests conducted on all potential employees?
Are the Security Measures ‘Reasonable and Adequate’?
Working through this checklist will also help owners/operators of QSRs provide ‘reasonable and adequate’ security measures required by law. Establishments must plan for a level of security that will keep their customers and employees safe. The ‘level of security’ will vary on the restaurant’s location, its clientele, and perhaps even special conditions at particular places, such as proximity to stores selling alcohol, or bars that turn out customers late at night. Failing to provide ‘reasonable and adequate’ security can be considered negligent management.
Tailored Security Plans Are the Most Effective
Developing a security plan that exactly fits a particular QSR is the ultimate goal. The first step would be to conduct a basic risk assessment to determine the level of risk and security threat, per the checklist above. Next, security personnel should create a workable plan within a budget that starts with basic security measures and then adds resources and equipment to deal with specific problems or challenges. It should always be kept in mind, however, that budget concerns should never win out over the safety of customers and staff. Finally, the security plan must be constantly and regularly monitored and evaluated for effectiveness and to ensure the business is keeping up with escalating crime or other security issues. Assessment is crucial to properly maintaining the threshold level of providing ‘reasonable and adequate’ security measures.
The Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Association (formerly NFSSC) is an exclusive community of loss prevention professionals focused on helping its members minimize losses and reduce liabilities within the restaurant and food industries.
We are industry leaders sharing our collective expertise, knowledge and solutions to the challenges we face every day. Our goal is to make our members more efficient and successful in their careers by serving as the “go-to” resource for restaurant and food industry loss prevention and security professionals.
As a member-run organization, we share information about industry trends and connect a network of peers who understand the unique challenges of the job, and who collaborate to find the next best solution. We create a forum for discussion and problem-solving so that our members benefit from shared expertise. We provide professional development opportunities that are designed to meet the specific interests and concerns of restaurant and food industry professionals, and we advocate for regulations that will make our workplaces more safe and secure.
For more resources, attend our annual conference. Visit: http://www.rlpsaannualconference.com/Read More