Protecting your restaurant from crime this Christmas

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Whilst restaurants are always subject to peaks and troughs, Christmas tends to be that time of year when they are undoubtedly at their busiest. Wine is flowing and spirits are up, but this doesn’t mean that guards should be left down.

Restaurants are particularly vulnerable to robbery, burglary and theft. Although many consumers may choose to pay by card these days, there is still typically a large amount of cash on site on busy nights. This makes them attractive targets for criminals. Establishments with late-night hours and easy entry or escape are also more attractive to would be thieves.

When you own a restaurant, you and your staff need to be prepared to deal with restaurant crime. Being prepared means that in the event of a burglary you will be able to stay calm and react quickly.

Prevention before cure

Ok, so no matter what you may do some thieves may press on, but there are certain ways to discourage thieves from attempting their crime. Our top tips include:

  • Encourage staff to make eye contact with every person that enters when greeting them. Not only is this friendly, but a potential thief knows that they have been properly seen and could be identified.
  • If you see suspicious behaviour in any area, politely ask the person if they need help with anything.
  • Always show that you are alert and aware of all customer activity by actively moving around the area.
  • During daily operations, inspect cash registers regularly to prevent cash build-up above the minimum amount needed.
  • To ensure the premises are secure, avoid the rear door leading to the rubbish or waste being propped open. Keep back doors locked.
  • Staff should be aware of and report any strange behaviour to a shift manager, such as someone loitering on the premises.
  • If you don’t already have cctv installed on entry and exit points then consider it; video footage serves as a good deterrent. You may also consider in-restaurant surveillance, as well as till point cameras.
  • Be sure to keep tip money out of sight, and if people are leaving then avoid leaving money on tables.

Safety first

  • Should you witness someone attempting to steal something, do not run after them or try to tackle them. Personal safety to you and members of staff is top priority.
  • Even though emotions are likely to be high in the event of a robbery, try to do as the intruder commands. Speak slowly and calmly, and don’t make sudden or unexpected moves.
  • Unless there is full video surveillance, it’s wise to study the suspect carefully, noting facial features, height and clothing.
  • Be sure to advise any staff to call the police and notify you of the situation as soon as possible, if you aren’t around at the time.

Who to contact

  • To make things easy, ensure local authority phone numbers are listed near all phones on the premises for quick access. Brief your staff on procedures so they know what is expected of them.
  • Once you have contacted the police, preserve any evidence left at the scene by the suspects, including objects handled.

Source: Zywave: Playing It Safe Flyers_Restaurant_Restaurant Playing it Safe – Restaurant Crime

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About the author

A marketer for the last 4 years, Alison believes in the value of great content marketing and enhancing the customer experience.