In early August, when Bob Evans chairman and CEO Steven A. Davis takes the podium as the keynote speaker at The Restaurant Loss Prevention & Security Association annual conference in Florida, he’ll have the legacy of his asset-secure, 61-year-old brand backing him up.
Bob Evans Restaurants started as a modest eatery in 1953 and has grown to a $1.7 billion enterprise. Along the way, brand executives learned about the importance of loss prevention, and in 2010, invested in a business unit dedicated exclusively to it. The Ohio-based company commits itself to identifying, training, and creating awareness around losses that occur throughout the system, and even created an early warning index that advises when minor risks could become major issues.
Loss prevention, also known as asset protection or risk management, remains top-of-mind for operators, and the topic covers a diverse range of operational areas that influence profitability, from food safety to credit card breaches. Failure to protect against losses can erode a restaurant’s bottom line and handcuff its ability to invest in the future.
Expert methods to handle risk management include employee training, clearly articulated policies, and collaboration between various departments in the company.
At Bob Evans, director of loss prevention and security Vince Vittatoe has feverishly worked to turn “tribal knowledge” into documented standards that detail expectations and policies from store to store, person to person.
“We’ve created black-and-white standards, so everyone can understand the expectations of the company and the specific details on how things are handled,” Vittatoe says. “We need to protect the hard work [our staff] is doing and make sure that the money is getting to the bank.”
Don’t Ditch the Training Wheels
Vulnerabilities arise when employees don’t know how to handle sticky situations.