Whether it’s a single storefront or a global chain, technology is essential to running a fast-service restaurant, especially when it comes to security. Investing in the right solutions reduces liability, increases productivity and keeps managers and operators informed of what is going on in the restaurant at all times. However, replacing outdated and obsolete security technologies every few years is a sure-fire way to drain the budget. And without the ability to protect against the most recent threat, your restaurant remains vulnerable.
The following safety best practices for the food industry help quick service restaurants make critical decisions when investing in safety systems for long term success.
1. Control access for food security
As anyone who has worked in the fast food industry knows, food safety is the number one concern of any restaurateur. What is often overlooked, however, is the role that safety plays in ensuring food safety.
Limiting who has access to the kitchen or food storage areas in a restaurant can reduce liability. Using access control solutions, such as allowing only kitchen staff to unlock walk-in freezers, limits the number of people who can contaminate food. An access control system with real-time tracking is a smart investment, as it provides a detailed log of who entered each space and when. Whether you need to perform a post-incident audit or conduct a contact tracing, this type of system makes it easy and efficient to export the information you need.
Your restaurant’s access control system should also be practical. Providing a frictionless entry into a busy restaurant is a must when choosing a system. A mobile system, which uses employee smartphones as credentials, offers a more convenient way to secure spaces, without hampering your staff’s ability to get to where they need to go.
2. Improve operations with integrated video surveillance
Security cameras are commonplace in many quick service restaurants. But the key to a future-proof video security system is its ability to integrate with your other platforms. The integration of video surveillance, access control and employee management systems offers a powerful tool to reduce liability and improve restaurant operations.
The right access control system and the right video surveillance solution also work as an effective employee management system. Requiring staff to use their credentials to access their workplace makes it easy to know who is at work and when. Not only does this help restaurateurs with planning and staffing, but it is also a useful tool to mitigate financial liability.
Compare time cards with access logs and video to see if employees are accurately clocking in and out. You can also see if the employees are using the correct credentials. Real-time video also reduces the risk of employee theft. In the event of a fire or other natural disaster, you can easily provide visual proof of why and how incidents occur for insurance or first responders as well.
3. Use the cloud to prevent fraud
One of the most valuable features of an intelligent security system is the ability to manage all of your locations, employees, and systems in one place. The cloud offers the best value for money in this regard. Between easy integrations powered by IoT and fully remote access to the system, cloud-based security is better equipped to prevent fraud.
With cloud-based video access control systems, you can link employee access events to video footage with automatic alerts and tracking. Does the person who typed in match the credentials they used? Otherwise, real-time reporting and remote access allow restaurant managers to mitigate the situation before a security incident occurs.
Remote management allows operators (especially chains with multiple locations) and franchisees to monitor security and manage credentials without having to visit each restaurant. With high turnover, mobile and cloud-based access system is a huge advantage. New hires can instantly access them with their cell phones, and laid-off employees do not need to hand over a key. If a disgruntled employee tries to enter the restaurant or an employee tries to access a locked office, their credentials will not work and you will be automatically notified of a failed unlock attempt.
Because all security data is stored in the cloud, it’s easier to spot trends and prevent incidents before they happen. Whether you want to see your channel as a whole or take a closer look at a specific location, everything is in one place and accessible from anywhere.
4. Go contactless
A contactless restaurant security system is essential during COVID-19, but also has long-term benefits. Contactless access control eliminates a common, literal point of contact for employees (the door), which is one less thing to keep clean. A mobile contactless system adds peace of mind to your staff, without compromising the security of your restaurant.
Contactless entry systems are also much more convenient and easier to use, especially for delivery restaurants. Rather than worrying about a key or key fob, a mobile system allows employees to keep their smartphones in their pocket and simply wave to unlock the door. Being able to easily get in and out of a secure door with a handful of hot food makes employees happier and reduces food waste from fallen or damaged items.
With these best practices, you can help make your restaurant safer and make the workplace safer for employees. Examine the systems you are currently using and perform a occupational risk assessment with a security professional. Analyzing the gaps in your current systems and how new solutions can fill those gaps will help you determine which investments add the most value.
A truly future-proof security system will address key areas of concern that affect your day-to-day operations, such as food safety and employee management. It will also prevent your restaurant from potential fraud and liability. A cloud-based system is the first choice for restaurant security. Remote monitoring, interoperability with more technologies, and real-time data allow restaurateurs and operators to take charge of their safety without compromising on convenience. Building a future-proof restaurant security system now helps protect you today and keeps you ahead of the future of the restaurant industry.
Andi Krebs is the editor-in-chief of Openpath Security, a provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions for commercial and commercial spaces. With over eight years of experience, Krebs has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial and corporate real estate market. To learn more about Openpath, visit openpath.com.