Hospitality establishments make up the largest segment of our retail industry. Study shows that one out of three adults dine out each day. Café and restaurants handle a great deal of cash and credit card transactions daily. That’s why they are at a greater risk for robberies, fraud and other security breaches. Hospitality security issues include employee theft, robberies, violence on the premises and theft of credit card information. Hospitality security systems are essential to make employees safe while making customers enjoy their time on the premises. Being aware of the potential dangers is important in preventing untoward incidents at your place of business. Keeping employees and customers safe is critical for building and upholding business’ reputation. Safety and security should be a top priority for the hospitality business. Here are 12 ways to protect your café or restaurant:

1. Consider the security system during the design phase of your business. The restaurant design will affect the security system’s ability to monitor the place. The number of doors, glass windows and landscaping should be considered because they play a role in security system. Carefully consider the security system during the design stage rather than waiting until the construction stage. Although most security companies can design alarm system after construction, aesthetic values will not be limited if you think in advance.

2. Limit criminal opportunity through natural surveillance. Crime prevention through environmental design is one of the best security protections. Ensure that your café front is not prominently obstructed by plants or other barriers. Provide activated lighting for the exterior of the building and parking lot. Keep walkways free and clear of equipment. Install grills and bars for concealed areas like rear doors and windows. Protect gas meters, transformers and other utilities with physical barriers.

3. Locks and keys should be fitted into the restaurant’s doors and windows. Invest in higher quality materials, dead-bolt locks would provide greater security than the ordinary variety. There are many varieties of lock options, consult a locksmith to help you decide the best option for your business.

4. Limit the amount of cash at point of sale. Safeguard the handling of cash by setting a maximum amount to be held at POS, excess cash should be deposited in the safe regularly. Few bills in the register and making regular deposits into the safe will keep cash secure.

5. Lock your valuables by keeping your safe properly secured. Safes should be professionally installed and securely bolted to a solid concrete wall or floor. Always scramble the combination every time you close the safe. The safe’s combination should also be changed each time an employee with access is terminated.

6. Use safe bank deposit practices. Thieves may watch the habitual actions of restaurant managers, especially the cash deposits to the bank. Vary the time you leave for the bank every day and take different routes to the bank. Make your money carrier as inconspicuous as possible and wear casual clothes or cover your uniform with a jacket when making cash deposits.

7. Alarm system can be a big deterrent for burglars. An alarm system can help protect your business from theft and robbery. Let security professionals install an alarm system for your café or restaurant. Put visible sign at the point of entry to ensure they are clearly seen by people approaching the building. Electronic alarm system should be periodically replaced, updated and centrally monitored. Restaurant staffs need to be trained in activating and disabling the alarm.

8. Surveillance system can help deter employee theft as well as criminals. Implement security measures by installing surveillance cameras. This security measure is a great way to increase security, identify criminals and stop people from committing crimes such as vandalism and theft. Place monitors near cash registers, trash disposal area, exterior doors, loading and receiving areas. Verified alarms should send video clip and dispatch to the police to verify a crime in progress. Recorded video can be a critical evidence to validate injury claims and provide supervision of cash register and credit card transactions.

9. Fire detection system should be a part of any food business security program. It must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis to optimise performance in case of an emergency. Fire protection equipment should be serviced by a technician at least every six months. Portable fire extinguishers must be wall mounted close to the cooking area and readily accessible to staff at all times. Fire detection system and automatic sprinkler systems should be installed to the cooking hoods and ducts for better protection.

10. Practice employee safety, no one should be allowed to be alone in the restaurant. Employees should enter and leave the premises using the buddy system, never alone. This should be a safety policy for all restaurants. If problems occur during opening or closing time, employees should go for help or call for help.

11. Provide appropriate safety training to all employees. They have to be educated on the things to do in case of an accident, crime or emergency. A written security policy should be signed and made available to all employees at all times.

12. Check security access, disgruntled employees with prior access can become knowledgeable criminals. Change password or access each time an employee gets terminated. Use controlled access such as magnetic card readers, keypads and biometric devices to restrict access to unauthorized persons. These systems can also be integrated with the security and surveillance systems for a more comprehensive security system.