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6 Genius Ways to Prevent Theft During The Holidays

December 4, 2018
The holidays are unlike any other time of year with extra staff, extra customers, extra profits…and also extra risk. Many restaurants take special measures during the holidays, like a big recruitment of temporary staff, special plans for large crowds, and selling merchandise. But while you’re busy bolstering your business for the seasonal rush, thieves are aware that your staff is green and your stock is piled high.

Solink wants you to have a safe and profitable holiday season. We’ve assembled this easy-to-follow checklist of things you can do to secure your restaurant location.

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Test All Alarms

An anti-theft alarm is like a fire extinguisher: it’s vital to have working, but it’s also easy to forget about. You’re already in the habit of checking your household smoke detectors once a year; your anti-theft alarm should be no different. Ensure your alarm is set up to automatically call out to emergency services.

And while we’re on the topic, remember that smoke detectors and fire suppression systems are just as important, especially for a quick service restaurant. The holiday rush and extra staff can lead to minor mistakes and forgotten safety procedures. Just like at home, check your smoke detectors regularly.

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Solink’s video surveillance system gives owners a second set of eyes to monitor operations at all their locations. During the busiest time of year, Solink’s remote monitoring makes it possible for you to have eyes on every location from your phone or laptop, reducing your travel time in inclement weather and Christmas shopping traffic

Feed the heroes

Proactively offer free treats or meals to first responders. It’s not only good karma; it’s good business. Police, fire, and paramedics will think fondly on a location that gives out free coffee and other goodies, and a regular authority presence at a location is a powerful reminder to potential crooks that the cops are watching.

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Cash is king, so make your safe an asset

Debit and credit transactions are dominant, but there are still tons of cash transactions on a normal day, and during the holidays cash will flow through all points of sale.

Minimize the amount of excess cash on hand with efficient and discreet armored car pickups. If your cash is deposited at a bank, ensure that schedule is regular and that your staff sticks to it.

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Keep an eye on the amount of cash going in and out of registers and how much is traveling to and from the safe in the back room. Make sure the backroom safe is properly organized and that all staff are aware of proper procedures. Download this handy guide to optimizing and organizing your back room safe.

Visibility: Windows and Lighting

A low-tech way to ensure building security is often overlooked: good old fashioned visibility. Keeping windows clean and clear of obstructions gives several advantages. High visibility into the interior or a location from outside is a theft deterrent, this is especially true of cash register visibility. Even something as simple as keeping the windows clean creates the impression of a well-tended location which is likely to have better security features. Make sure your host station has a clear line of sight both outside the front doors and into the main area of the restaurant. There is a balancing act required here, especially during the holidays. 68% of customers believe good signage means a good business and department store window displays are holiday events. Reaping the benefits of good exterior signage with the security practicals of high visibility has no hard and fast correct answer, owners need to decide for themselves what works best for each location.

Just as exterior windows must be kept clean and clear, the lighting of a location is an oft-overlooked factor that can have a major impact on restaurant security. Dim or inconsistent lighting can create the impression of an “easy mark” the same way as a location with poor visibility or security features. Bright and even lighting helps customers and employees feel safe.

Take this list and check it twice: Here’s a downloadable theft prevention checklist you can share with your staff!

Inform staff of security measures

There may be a tendency to hide security systems from employees in an effort to catch workers behaving badly, or to prevent inside information benefiting thieves. It’s always better to be upfront with employees about the security measures in place at all locations.

Many employees will be aware of security cameras and traditional security measures, though they may not be aware of more advanced technologies, like Solink’s POS transaction monitoring and motion select alerts. Providing a demo of these services for employees shows trust in them, even temporary hires. This confidence can remove that tendency for temporary hires to think “I’m out of here in a few weeks anyway, why not grab something on the way out?”

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A common tactic by dishonest employees is “skimming,” where an employee pockets excess cash on certain transactions, then blames the fast pace of the shift on any discrepancies. The Solink auditing system, in conjunction with smartly placed security cameras, can easily spot this scheme. Read about other common types of employee theft here.

Check cameras

Just having a security camera system isn’t enough: those cameras have to be properly configured, pointed in the right direction, and consistently monitored. Just as alarms need to be tested, so do cameras. The holidays are an excellent time to upgrade and modernize security camera systems and verify that coverage is still sufficient. Areas that must be monitored are all doors, the cash registers, the back room safe, the office, and the exterior front and rear of the location. If applicable, make sure there is a surveillance camera pointed at any merchandising displays. Those holiday mugs can slip easily into pockets or bags.

The holidays are one of the most lucrative times of the year. Ensure your holiday season is both profitable and safe by following this guide, and find out more about Solink revolutionizing how businesses use video surveillance.

Find out how Solink can help you prevent theft through the holidays and year-round!