Keys to Maintaining a Safe and Secure Restaurant


Restaurant safety and security are paramount to protecting your employees and your customers. Taking steps to enhance security also improves the profitability of your business. Robberies, assaults, slips, and more can lead to disaster for your bottom line and your reputation.

Strong restaurant security is also important for insurance claims. Not paying attention to security could lead to your insurer refusing to pay out.

With more than 12 million workers in the restaurant business, there’s a strong chance that an incident will occur. Here’s how to lower the chances of that happening.

Take Out Restaurant Insurance

Restaurant insurance is a must-have in this industry. There’s technically no such thing as dedicated restaurant insurance. These packages pertain to a selection of policies every good restaurant needs to comply with the law and ensure they’re protected.

For example, you may need workers’ comp coverage if one of your employees is injured during a skirmish with a customer. Not only is this coverage mandatory in most states, but it also guarantees that your employee is taken care of if they’re unable to come to work.

It also offers liability coverage for the public. For example, if one of your customers is injured or falls ill on your premises, your insurer will cover medical bills, attorney costs, and settlements.

There are also other add-ons you can add to your restaurant insurance package to add further layers of protection. But, again, talk to your insurer to learn more about the options on the table.

Implement a Responsible Alcohol Service

As a business owner, you may believe that serving drunk customers as much alcohol as they want is great for your bottom line, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Not only is serving a visibly drunk customer illegal in many states, but unruly patrons also ruin the ambiance and put your staff and other diners at risk.

Violent incidents in restaurants can kill off your trade in one weekend. Did you know that 40% of all violent crimes involve being under the influence of alcohol? Therefore, public drunkenness is a security concern for your restaurant.

Implementing a responsible alcohol service trains staff in the best practices of checking customer IDs, measuring alcohol correctly, and knowing when to cut off drunk customers. Some states even require restaurant staff to take the TIPS alcohol training government-sponsored program.

Install an Access Control System

Access control systems for particular restaurant parts reduce theft and limit your liability. For example, controlling access to storage rooms, offices with safes inside, and side entrances lower the risk of an incident occurring.

The best access control solutions are those that improve your level of security without compromising your efficiency. Keypad systems where staff need to enter a code or touch a card to the sensor are great options for these businesses.

The right access control system for you is the one that fits all your needs and matches your budget. Do your research and examine some industry-specific access control platforms.

Safer Cash Handling

Your cash payments will go through your dedicated Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal, with physical cash being transferred to your safe at different times. You don’t need to worry about cash handling with credit card payments, but many people still prefer physical cash.

Thieves who exploit a busy shift to access your shift or cash register are experts at monitoring patterns and trends.

Implement safer cash handling policies by making terminal transfers at random times and providing a system for real accountability for your staff. If something goes missing, you should be able to trace it back to the staff member who took the payment.

Likewise, avoid cash from accruing in your register. Set a limit for when cash must be transferred to your safe.

Finally, never count cash in front of guests. Firstly, it’s considered a major social faux pas, and it also increases the risk of your restaurant falling victim to an opportunistic, impulsive crime.

Setup Security Cameras

Surveillance cameras are the number one way to secure your restaurant. These devices are more advanced than ever before. Today’s cameras can produce HD footage, be accessed from mobile apps, and automatically send alerts when they detect suspicious activity.

Look to position security cameras near any points of value, such as your POS terminals, access to the back office, side entrances, and the immediate outside of your building.

Security cameras don’t have to cost as much as you think. The average cost of setting up cameras today ranges from as low as $1,000 to as much as $10,000.

Proper Employee Screening

High turnover rates within the hospitality industry mean that employers are often tempted by anyone who walks through the door. This is a mistake. Even when taking on seasonal employees, you need a proper screening process in place.

Full-scale background checks may not be required for a waiter, but calling someone’s previous employer can tell you all you need to know about a candidate.

Make sure you have guidelines in place that define the code of conduct expected of each employee, such as whether they have access to meals, house drinks, or whether they will hold the key to your establishment. Your restaurant training manual should detail all this and more.

Closing Shift Training

The closing shift is the most pivotal shift because it’s the time when your security is most likely to be compromised. Staff who steal money from the register, opportunistic diners, and fail to lock the door can all lead to your restaurant becoming a statistic.

The key to a closing shift always has a buddy system. Nobody should be closing the shift by themselves, including your managers. More than one employee on the premise keeps everyone honest.

Maintain a comprehensive record-keeping system detailing the aspects of security involved when closing—for example, locking offices and storerooms, emptying the cash register, and arming the overnight alarm system.


Security at the restaurant is as important for your diners as it is for your employees. Implementing some basic security mechanisms can deter opportunistic criminals and make your team feel safe.

What are you doing to enhance security at your restaurant?


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