Whether it’s a single storefront or a global chain, technology is essential to running a quick-service restaurant, especially when it comes to security. Investing in the right solutions reduces liability, boosts productivity, and keeps managers and operators updated on what’s happening in the restaurant at any given moment. However, replacing outdated and obsolete security technology every few years is a surefire way to drain the budget. And without the ability to protect against the newest threat, your restaurant is left vulnerable.

The following best security practices for the food industry help quick-service restaurants make critical decisions when investing in security systems for long-term success.

1. Control access for food safety 

As anyone who has worked in the quick-service industry knows, food safety is the top concern for any restaurant owner. What is often overlooked, however, is the role security plays in food safety.

Limiting who has access to the kitchen or food storage areas within a restaurant can reduce liability. Using access control solutions, such as only allowing kitchen staff to be able to unlock walk-in freezers, limits the number of people that could potentially 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. If you need to audit after an incident or conduct contact tracing, this type of system makes it easy and efficient to export the information needed.

Your restaurant access control system needs to be convenient, too. Providing frictionless entry in a busy restaurant is a must-have when choosing a system. A mobile-based system, which uses employee’s smartphones as credentials, offers a more convenient way to secure spaces, without hindering your staff’s ability to get 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 the ability to integrate with your other platforms. Integrating video surveillance, access control, and employee management systems offers a powerful tool for reducing liability and improving restaurant operations.

The right access control system and video surveillance solution also doubles as an effective employee management system. Requiring staff to use their credentials to access their workplace makes it easy to track who is at work and when. Not only does this help restaurant operators with scheduling and staffing, it’s also a helpful tool in mitigating 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 employees are using the correct credentials. Having real-time video also reduces the threat 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, too.

3. Utilize the cloud to prevent fraud

One of the most valuable features of a smart security system is the ability to manage all your locations, employees, and systems in one place. The cloud offers the greatest bang for your buck in that regard. Between easy IoT-powered integrations 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 tie employee access events to video footage with automatic alerts and tracking. Does the person who entered match the credentials they used? If not, real-time reporting and remote access enable 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 every restaurant. With high turnover, a mobile and cloud-based access system is a huge advantage. New hires can have access instantly with their mobile phone, and terminated employees don’t need to hand in a key. If a disgruntled employee tries to get into the restaurant, or an employee attempts to access a locked office, their credentials won’t work and you’ll 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 occur. Whether you want to view your chain as a whole or look more closely at a specific location, everything is all in one place and can be accessed from anywhere.

4. Go touchless 

A contactless restaurant security system is a must during COVID-19 but has long-term benefits as well. Touchless access control eliminates a common, literal touch point for employees (the door), which is one less thing to keep clean. A touchless, mobile-based system adds peace of mind for your staff, without compromising the security of your restaurant.

Touchless entry systems are also much more convenient and easy to use, especially for delivery restaurants. Rather than worrying about a key or fob, a mobile system lets employees keep their smartphone 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 dropped or damaged items.

The takeaway

With these best practices, you can help strengthen your restaurant’s security posturing, as well as make the workplace safer for employees. Look at the systems you currently use, and conduct a professional risk assessment with a security professional. Analyzing where your current systems are lacking and how newer solutions can bridge those gaps will help inform which investments add the most value.

A truly future-proof security system will address the top 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 top choice for restaurant security. Remote monitoring, interoperability with more technology, and real-time data empower restaurant owners and operators to take charge of their security without compromising on convenience. Putting together a future-proof restaurant security system now helps protect you today—and keeps you ahead of what’s next for the restaurant industry.

Andi Krebs is the lead copywriter for Openpath Security, a provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions for business and commercial spaces. With more than eight years of experience, Krebs has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial real estate and enterprise market. Learn more about Openpath, visit openpath.com.

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