5 Ways Video Surveillance Can Improve Restaurant Operations

Eateries are leveraging camera systems to track food inventory, monitor employee behavior and more.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Advancements in video surveillance over recent years have made it possible for restaurant managers to not only enhance security and life-safety measures, but also improve business efficiencies, according to FastCasual.com, which covers the $23.5 billion fast casual restaurant industry segment. 

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Camera systems are being utilized to document restaurant operations, observe customer traffic, keep a close eye on cash handling, make sure safety protocols are met, track food inventory and monitor employee behavior. Quick service and limited service restaurants can ramp up security and safety for patrons as well as markedly improve operations by installing video surveillance cameras both inside and outside the facility. 

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Additionally, it’s vital to watch for signs of theft, as dishonest employees have been known to steal cash, food, equipment, and other restaurant supplies. Let’s take a closer look at how video surveillance can help improve security and day-to-day business in a fast food chain:

  1. Minimizing false injury claims from customers and staff:  Ensuring staff and customers are safe from injury is critical to preventing fraudulent injury claims such as slip-and-falls and other accidents. A video surveillance system allows you to check in on your staff and customers at all times of the day, whether that’s from a monitoring station or a smartphone device. If a customer or an employee should make an injury claim, you can review previously recorded footage for evidence.
  2. POS station: The POS station (or cash register) should always be monitored by a video surveillance camera. The security camera should be installed on the ceiling and pointed downwards to have a clear view of the individual handling the cash. The camera also plays an important role after closing when the employee is counting the amount of cash in the till. Any discrepancies between the amount of cash reported by the employee at the end of the day and the amount actually generated can be verified with a security camera. Other key areas to monitor are any safes that are in the restaurant, as some managers have access to the vault combinations.
  3. Entry/exit points: It’s critical to clearly see everyone who enters and exits your QSR, especially since crimes, even outside the scope of break-ins and robberies have been known to occur in these facilities, including physical and verbal assaults on customers and employees. By placing high-definition cameras above entrance and exit doors, you can get a detailed shot of each person who comes through the restaurant. The higher the resolution of the camera, the easier it is to see identifying details such as tattoos and other noticeable facial characteristics.
  4. Monitor kitchen staff: Food preparation requires close attention to detail in order to avoid cross contamination and undercooked food. Monitoring kitchen staff is also necessary for safeguarding your employees and making certain they’re wearing appropriate kitchen attire (i.e. closed-toe shoes and/or hair nets) and are not putting themselves in harm’s way such as being too close to extremely hot cooking equipment.
  5. Drive-thru: The drive-thru can be more susceptible to crime than the actual inside of a restaurant as it’s easier for a customer to make an assault, grab food without paying, or make threats and drive out without their license plate number being written down. At least one video surveillance camera should be installed at the pick-up window to ensure that the person driving is identifiable and that their license plate number is visible. A high-definition (720p or 1080p camera is recommended for capturing license plates).
  6. In summary, video surveillance cameras are highly beneficial outside of standard security purposes. They can help managers and/or owners fine-tune operations and make sure that customers are being served in a timely manner and that employees are behaving professionally.

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