The use of security cameras can drastically and positively affect a restaurant’s bottom line.

Growing a restaurant requires many things, including perseverance, a great staff, capital―and security cameras. In today’s world, visually keeping track of virtually everything that happens in a restaurant is critical. Doing this with security cameras makes it all the more easier to quickly get to the bottom of issues such as internal theft, slip and fall incidents, keeping track of employees’ actual work time, and more.

Add to this an ever-changing customer base, high employee turnover and more, and it’s obvious that security cameras can greatly increase the safety of customers, employees and management. Ultimately, the use of security cameras can drastically and positively affect a restaurant’s bottom line, affecting its ability to grow.

In a 2015 Statistic Brain study, the following mind-boggling facts were found regarding theft from businesses by employees alone:

  • Amount stolen annually from U.S. businesses by employees: $50 billion
  • Percent of annual revenues lost to theft or fraud—7 percent
  • Percent of employees who have stolen at least once from their employer—75 percent
  • Percent of employees who have stolen at least twice from their employer—37.5 percent
  • Percent of all business bankruptcies caused by employee theft—33 percent
  • Average time fraud occurs before detected—two years

Following are five reasons why security cameras are important to any growing restaurant:

The advanced technology and capabilities of modern security cameras can help restaurant owners detect wrongdoings anywhere, at any time.

The new systems can send an alert, such as an email, when a repeat offender comes back into the restaurant. In addition, these systems can send alerts via text or email if a trespasser approaches the location at a non-business hour. New cameras can automatically zoom in and focus. Plus, the clarity and quality on the newer cameras are much more advanced than previous camera models.

While the type of cameras purchased depends on the restaurant owner’s budget, HD resolution is always best. The type of cameras (color, size, type) should coincide with the interior design of the restaurant.

Increase in internal theft from inventory.

Why do employees steal? A few reasons are the opportunity is simply there, they feel that their employer has done them wrong or underpays them, they are under the false impression that the employer is insured for these types of losses and it has no effect, and they erroneously believe the consequences are minimal. 

Recently, there has been an increase of cameras being installed inside frozen coolers, as a deterrent for employees stealing food/drinks. Also, some restaurant owners install them because previous employees took food, drinks and even copied credit card IDs. Cameras are also frequently used in the bar area, where employees often serve their friends more than they purchased, or give them drinks or food for free. If employees know that a security camera system is in place to trace theft, then most will avoid risking termination and/or prosecution for theft.  

Stealing cash and tips.

It’s a good idea to have cameras near the register as thieves commonly steal the tip containers, usually located by the register.  

Having evidence for slip-and-fall lawsuits.

Video surveillance cameras have been used in many lawsuits (brought on by both customers and employees) as proof of faked slip and fall accidents. This is a good tool for attorneys to combat and defend against frivolous lawsuits.  Slips, trips, and falls are an extremely common type of injury for restaurant workers. According to QSR, slip-and-fall lawsuits rose by more than 300 percent from 1980–2016. More than 25,000 slip-and-fall accidents occur every day in the U.S.

Keeping track of employees’ actual work time.

Another commonly seen practice in chain restaurants is when employees punch in for their friends, and sometimes they even claim to be working in two different locations at the same time. Many employees take a much longer lunchtime or break time than they are allocated. Also, employees can punch back in for their friends, when in reality, the employee is still on break.

Ultimately, when a restaurant is trying to grow, it can’t incur constant theft as well as lawsuits, whether from customers or employees. Unfortunately, employees need to be monitored to avoid internal theft of various types, and from break-ins during off-hours. In addition, customers and employees often try to sue restaurants for slip-and-fall accidents―whether they are truly accidents or otherwise. 

No restaurant owner likes to think about the possibility of employees stealing from the business in any form, nor about a robbery. Many business owners don’t even consider that a dishonest person will try to sue for a staged slip-and-fall incident. Regrettably, these things do happen and they happen often.

It’s important to have a security camera system in place, whether it’s incredibly high-tech or basic. The use of this system could bolster a restaurant’s bottom line, save it from going into bankruptcy, help it to avoid significant lawsuits, and keep customers, employees and management as safe as possible.

Expert Takes, Feature