Every restaurant or bar owner knows that the safety of employees and customers should be a top priority to ensure continued success. Oftentimes the focus of restaurants is on food safety but it’s important to not overlook physical security as well. This becomes even more important with establishments who serve alcohol or stay open for the late hours. Here are our top restaurant security tips.
Invest in Restaurant Security Systems
Lighting Systems (outside, parking lot, etc.)
- LED is preferable as it provides brighter light. Employees and customers should not be walking to or from the building in the dark.
- Keep nighttime safety lights on at all times. Keep trees and bushes trimmed so they don’t block any outdoor lights.
Surveillance Systems (cameras and audio/video surveillance systems)
- Cameras should be visible to customers and employees. This helps serve as a potential deterrent. Ownership should have remote viewing capabilities for when they are off-site. Save recorded footage for at least thirty days.
Read, ‘Business Video Surveillance Best Practices.’
Central Station Alarm systems
- Alarm systems should be equipped with motion/entry sensing, a panic button(s) and automatically report to an off-site agency for response.
- A drop safe is preferred (where money is placed into a slot at the top or side). Limit interior access to select individuals. Monitor all contents of the safe on a regular basis and always keep up-to-date records.
Security Tips for Opening Shifts in a Restaurant
When at all possible, have at least two employees open and close the restaurant. Prior to entering the building and unarming the alarm system, observe that all exterior doors/windows are secure. If any are broken or suspicious activity is noted, assess whether a call to 911 is warranted. Immediately after entering the property, make certain to re-lock the backdoor, especially if the individual who opens the business is alone. Any arriving employees/vendors should be reviewed before being allowed access into the building.
If deposits to the bank are required, they should always be performed by two individuals. Vary deposit times to make it more difficult for anyone to observe a pattern and plan potential robberies.
Security Tips for Closing Shifts in a Restaurant
- Stay alert! Know who is in the building and where they are.
- Keep side and rear doors locked at all times, if possible, without conflicting with life safety code requirements.
- Utilize a “buddy” system when disposing of trash or using outside storage areas at night.
- Close out cash registers and tills. Place all money in a secured safe. The register should remain open/unlocked overnight (reduces potential for damages in case of a break-in).
- Create a security checklist (check all rooms, doors, windows, etc).
- Make sure equipment is off (gas stoves, ovens, anything explosive).
- Make sure safety lights remain on at night and ensure the centrally monitored alarm is armed.
- Don’t walk to the car alone.
Hire Restaurant Security Personnel
Security personnel is not always necessary but for certain businesses or establishments it should be considered and is highly warranted. Ideally, a qualified and trained third-party company who specializes in hospitality security should be brought on to perform any security acts related to the operations. Late night bars (open later than 2:00 a.m.), banquet halls, and businesses who host live entertainment which draws crowds, may greatly benefit from adequately trained security personnel.
Read, “Conflict Resolution Techniques for Security Personnel and Bar Employees.”
If your business is in or close to an area with a higher-than-average crime rate, security personnel can help ensure the safety of your employees and customers while they are on the property. If you have employees who act in any sort of security capacity (checking IDs at the door, crowd control, etc.), background checks should be conducted prior to hiring potential employees. Failure to conduct a background check may result in hiring a person who has been repeatedly fired from previous similar jobs or the hiring of someone with a violent criminal history. These omissions may expose your business to liability in the event of a lawsuit. Online searches are one option for background checks, but these are limited so it is not a bad idea to seek external help with employee background checks. There are several companies out there that can provide this service.
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For additional restaurant security tips visit our Risk Control Library or contact your local Society agent for coverage-related questions.