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Restaurant live video surveillance: the benefits and use cases

April 24, 2023

It can be hard to keep track of everything happening in a single restaurant. When the business expands to several locations, it becomes impossible to do so without help. Restaurant live video surveillance gives a restaurant manager the ability to track what is happening in the front of house, back of house, and more in real time, whether they are on-site or at home.

See how Solink improves the security level of your restaurant with live video surveillance.

Live video surveillance is a way to monitor your business from anywhere in real time. As businesses grow, management responsibilities can be stretched across multiple locations, making remote video monitoring capabilities essential to maintaining control.


While many people think there is strictly a security benefit, live video surveillance can help you keep track of every aspect of your business. Indeed, while the improved security alone justifies the price of live video surveillance, the benefits go well beyond just better security.

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

12 restaurant live video surveillance benefits

It can be hard to monitor everything happening in multiple restaurant locations. Inventory theft, discount abuse, and other forms of employee theft are commonplace. Upset customers can be verbally and physically abusive to staff. Poor inventory management can increase shrinkage. Finally, speed of service and other customer care issues can hurt the bottom line.

Being able to monitor your business in real time has both security and non-security benefits. Here are 12 benefits of restaurant live video surveillance:

  • Faster speed of service
  • Identify retraining needs
  • Respond to issues in real time
  • Remote monitoring
  • Reduced internal and external theft
  • Lower shrinkage and wastage
  • Add context to business metrics
  • Alarm verification
  • Health and safety improvements
  • Improved relationship with law enforcement
  • Better customer service
  • Cleaner restaurants

Note that these benefits often open up great synergies. For example, the issues that cause increased shrinkage and wastage can also cause health and safety violations, so the same live video surveillance workflows can solve both these issues.

Faster speed of service

Live video surveillance in your restaurant can be used to keep an eye on your speed of service. When your restaurant relies on rush hours to make its daily revenue target, any decrease in speed of service can have an outsized effect on your bottom line.

Getting an extra two cars per hour through a quick-service restaurant (QSR) drive thru during peak hours can add thousands of dollars to your gross margins per year. Monitoring your drive thru speed of service in real time allows you to proactively solve issues before they get out of control.

cars in drive-thru lane

Identify retraining needs

Employees often find themselves in need of retraining. This can be due to individual issues or mistakes made during initial training. Whether malicious or because of training shortcomings, the results are the same for the business: reduced profitability from lost productivity.

Two common retraining needs often appear:

  • Time theft: Time theft is when employees are being paid to work but are doing something else instead. This can be simple productivity issues such as employees using their mobile phones instead of cleaning your restaurant during quiet hours. However, it can also be more serious, for example cooks taking repeated breaks during the dinner rush.
  • Point of sale (POS) employee theft: There are many ways staff can use your POS to steal from a restaurant. High-risk transactions such as no-sale till opens, voids, and cash refunds are often indicators of employee theft. Two common forms of POS theft in restaurants are “discount abuse” and “double drops.”
    • Discount abuse is when an employee uses discounts incorrectly, for example using their free meals during non-working hours or to comp meals for friends and family.
    • Double dropping is when an employee prints the same bill twice, uses it at two different tables, and pockets the cash from one of the orders. This is a double-hit to the restaurant’s bottom line because they lose out on the cost of the food and the revenue from the table.

Carl’s Jr. uses Solink to see what’s happening at all of their restaurants. The integration with the POS is especially helpful to make sure employees are following all company procedures.


Respond to issues in real time

Issues tend to compound until they are solved. This means a small problem in the morning can spiral out of control, leading to your restaurant not meeting its goal. Cloud video surveillance gives businesses access to their security camera feeds from anywhere, 24 hours a day. One of the biggest benefits of live video surveillance is that you can identify and solve minor issues before they multiply.

Threshold Notifications allows restaurants to set limits on the metrics important to them: speed of service, hourly revenue, average transaction size, or anything else you can track. Then, you get a proactive notification any time your core metrics are outside of your comfort zone.

This gif shows Threshold Notifications in action, creating a proactive level of control by defining acceptable limits for core metrics.

Remote monitoring

Remote video monitoring gives you the ability to audit your restaurants for company policy compliance without visiting in person. While on-premises audits are not going away—and they shouldn’t—for locations in remote areas or those with known issues that need to be checked up on more regularly, live video surveillance can make it possible to give them the care they need while saving time.

For example, you’ve recently received a fine for a health and safety violation at one of your restaurants because employees had blocked the emergency exit with empty boxes. You can use live video surveillance to quickly scan the emergency exits at all of your locations in a few minutes.

Reduced internal and external theft

Internal and external theft are both major issues in restaurants, but they often use different tactics and therefore require different strategies to prevent.

Internal theft is when people inside an organization steal from it. One common example of internal theft found in restaurants is discount abuse. Conversely, external theft is when those outside the organization steal. One of the most common types of external theft in restaurants is the “dine and dash.”

Here’s a helpful chart:

This helpful infographic summarizes all the different types of internal and external theft affecting businesses of all sizes and in all industries.

Solink has several features that makes it easier to identify and investigate external theft. Motion search allows you to scan hours of footage in minutes. You can quickly find evidence of a dine and dash, save the video footage, and then send it to law enforcement.

In addition, Solink connects to many other systems to pair data with matching video footage, including the point of sale (POS), which makes it easy to track down instances of internal theft. POS monitoring gives you the ability to filter all of your transactions by type, size, date, employee number, products, or any other keywords. Now you can search all of your high-risk transactions (voids, no-sale till opens, cash returns, etc.) and then review the paired video to confirm they are legitimate.

Goodwill uses Solink to reduce theft and improve security. Larry Cruse, Director of Asset Protection and Safety, estimates that Solink is saving Goodwill in Arizona between $200,000 and $300,000 through reduced loss, better security, and higher productivity.


Lower shrinkage and wastage

Shrinkage and wastage are serious concerns for any company that deals with perishable goods. There are many issues that can increase shrinkage in a restaurant.

Fresh ingredients need to be placed in the walk-in fridge immediately after a delivery is received or will not last as long as they should. Similarly, older items need to be brought to the front with new inventory placed behind (“first in, first out”). In addition, during food preparation, cooks should be trained to not over trim meat and vegetables.

There is another common cause of shrinkage in restaurants: employee inventory theft. For example, an employee might take an entire box of chicken wings home with them at the end of the night. Live video surveillance can be a major deterrent of this by making employees aware that there will be consequences if they steal.

However, sometimes employees erroneously think they are not stealing if they take inventory home with them. Here are two real-life examples:

  • Employees at a quick service restaurant (QSR) were told that they may take any prepared food home with them at the end of the night instead of throwing it away. They started running the fryer later into the evening when no more customers were expected so everyone would get more food. While not exactly honest behavior, they believed that they were following the rules.
  • Employees at a fast-casual restaurant (FCR) were bringing home raw burger patties at the end of the day. This restaurant only uses fresh burger patties, and the employees thought that they were to be thrown away at the end of the night if not cooked. However, the burger patties were actually fine for use the next day at lunch. Again, the employees thought that they were following the rules and not taking anything that could still be served to customers.

In both these cases, without live video surveillance, the restaurant managers may have never known it was happening.

Add context to business metrics

Your point of sale (POS) provides a lot of data. However, numbers never tell the whole picture. By pairing video with the POS data, you are able to understand exactly what is happening in your restaurants. That’s a whole new level of POS monitoring.

Let’s look at a simple example.

You run a quick service restaurant (QSR) and do 40% of your business through the drive thru. You can typically service 75 cars per hour and set up your Threshold Notifications to alert you when you dip below 60 cars per hour.

You receive an alert that your speed of service is below 60 cars per hour. What happened?

  • Is inclement weather causing driving issues?
  • Is the staff working more slowly than usual?
  • Is some key equipment broken?
  • Is demand lower than usual?

The only way to know exactly what is going on—and therefore what you need to do to rectify the situation—is to watch the real-time security footage. Live video surveillance gives you the needed context to not just know about a problem but how to solve it.

Alarm verification

Alarm verification gives trained professionals the ability to review in real time what is happening at a site before deciding whether an emergency response is warranted. Then, when law enforcement is required, the video feed is shared with the dispatcher to ensure prompt and appropriate response.

However, the value of alarm verification goes beyond better security. Verified alarms also save you money. Many police forces no longer respond to unverified alarms, and where they do false alarm fines are increasing.

In a head-to-head comparison, Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service led to a 100% decrease in false alarm fines across multiple restaurant locations with a reputation of a lot of false alarm fines.

solink video alarms text message on phone

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

Health and safety improvements

The potential for health and safety violations, especially anything that could affect food safety, requires constant vigilance. Making sure fresh ingredients are placed in the walk-in immediately and that stock is rotated can be confirmed using live video surveillance.

Furthermore, boxes on the floor, improper securing of the cardboard compactor, and blocked emergency exits can all be prevented by using your video surveillance system to perform remote audits.

Improved relationship with law enforcement

Restaurant managers try to build strong relationships with local law enforcement. They want responses to their locations to be prompt and appropriate. One of the easiest ways to build a strong relationship with the police is to provide them with the evidence they need to help you.

When police trust you to provide evidence, they are more inclined to fully investigate every incident. In fact, they might start coming to you looking for video feeds that have street views to help with investigations.

Domino’s Pizza uses Solink to improve every facet of their business. Here is what Cassie Gerety, a Domino’s Pizza, Inc. Franchisee, has to say about how Solink helps build relationships with law enforcement.

“Our cameras have been so helpful to the police. Sometimes their requests have nothing to do with us. They just ask us about incidents that happened near our locations that our cameras might have caught. They love that we can help.”

Better customer service

Customer service is a key factor in the success of every restaurant. People want to eat at restaurants where they feel welcome and appreciated. That’s just the start.

Friendly staff can also increase the average purchase size. When patrons like their server, they’ll trust their recommendations for appetizers, desserts, and more expensive drinks. Furthermore, more attentive staff can get more customers through your business per hour. With limited capacity, speed of service becomes a key metric for most restaurants.

Tracking customer service is easy using restaurant live video surveillance. For example, you can audit random orders to see how employees are engaging with their customers. If audio recording is legal in your jurisdiction, you can even listen in to make sure employees are asking the right follow-up questions to increase the average order size.

Cleaner restaurants

Clean restaurants are an inviting place to eat. One of the key factors in maintaining a clean restaurant is that the kitchen is fully sanitized every night. Using restaurant live video surveillance, you can review the end-of-day kitchen cleaning at all of your locations in a few minutes.

Spinx uses Solink to monitor all of their locations for cleanliness and company compliance. A single person is able to monitor about 100 locations.

Spinx Success Story Read More

Solink provides a customizable cloud-first video analytics platform. Productivity and training, health and safety, cleanliness, security, and customer service can all be monitored with restaurant live video surveillance.

To see how Solink can help you monitor all of your restaurants, sign up for a demo today.

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |

Solink stands at the forefront of security solutions, excelling in loss prevention and asset protection for businesses. Our content is rich in industry expertise and crafted to provide actionable insights and innovative strategies. We empower businesses to enhance their security systems, optimize operations, and protect their assets more effectively. Discover how our advanced cloud video management system can transform your security approach.