Asset protection teams have stopped doing more with less—and started doing more with more.

The labor shortage is one of the most difficult challenges facing the restaurant industry today. With management teams tasked with so much, no matter the size of their teams, reporting can become a massive time sink. The team may not have access to useful reports in the current system or may not understand how to customize them for specific needs. It can be easy to resort to sifting through undifferentiated POS data without a good grasp of what to look for—or to rely too heavily on video or transaction data alone. Small fraudulent transactions can even go unnoticed.

“With the current environment, even more so than usual, all companies—and all loss prevention or asset protection departments—are being asked to accomplish more with less. I like to refer to it as MacGyver Syndrome,” says Jeff Levitt, asset protection manager at Portillo’s, a publicly-traded chain of fast-casual restaurants (Nasdaq: PTLO).

Under this kind of pressure, quick-service and fast-casual operators and management teams need to be able to quickly prioritize and decide which events they need to address first. With their time and attention stretched to the limit, they need to monitor their locations quickly and thoroughly. Perhaps most of all, they need to be able to eliminate guesswork and focus on what matters most—protecting the bottom line.

Faced with these challenges, Portillo’s decided to integrate Envysion Restaurant Solution Suite with its POS system. Envysion’s video surveillance and loss prevention software solution ties reporting to video verification to help clarify the unknown—and to help defeat “MacGyver Syndrome.”

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“There are a lot of choices for exception reporting out there, but the Envysion product looks at true exceptions versus a preset standard,” Levitt says. “I’m able to see data that’s more actionable and that might not be flagged if we were using a preset. Envysion is always going to show me what bubbles to the top, even if that top changes.” For example, a series of voids for $35 might go unnoticed if the system was preset to flag voids over $40. Envysion is equipped to respond flexibly to what’s really happening in each location, surfacing true exceptions, such as a rash of smaller voided transactions.

“With Envysion, we’ve been able to have better visibility to address operational issues,” Levitt says. “It’s a cost-effective solution that can help us get great insights into the business. It’s also a two-way relationship and a true partnership. Not only does Envysion give us actionable data that we’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, but the company also listens to users’ feedback on its product and implements changes we suggest.”

Levitt keeps the Envysion app open on a separate monitor on his desk at all times. That way, he can browse and pull reports easily if he gets requests from law enforcement or a general manager. Envysion creates links to specific videos to send out to fulfill those requests, so there’s no need for Levitt to download and send large files. Aside from these quick duties, he spends about an hour a week reviewing exception reports. 

“It’s all very efficient,” Levitt says. “Envysion is an important tool in the arsenal to support our business. We aren’t doing more with less; we’re doing more with more.”

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By Kara Phelps

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