If you own or manage a bar or a restaurant, you already know that security is a significant concern. Customers come and go practically every minute of the day, and you’re likely to extend operating hours late at night. Additionally, recent studies show that employees cause as much as 75% of restaurant theft.
You can never be too safe, which is why if you want to secure your venue, installing a surveillance system is the most proactive thing you can do. Not only will it deter crimes and theft, but you can also use it in case an incident does occur.
In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of installing a bar or restaurant surveillance system to protect your establishment.
Why You Need a Bar or Restaurant Surveillance System
There are many reasons why you may need a surveillance system in your business. Here are some of them:
The primary reason why anyone would want to install a surveillance system is to deter crime. Multiple studies have shown empirical evidence of the effectiveness of surveillance systems in preventing crime.
According to these studies, CCTV cameras can effectively reduce crime rates, especially when paired with other security measures such as adequate lighting and security fences. How many cameras you have and where they’re located are important, as well. Cameras are also relevant in often-neglected, frequently targeted areas like parking lots.
Of course, while theft is the most common crime that occurs in bars and restaurants, they’re not the only crimes that a surveillance system can prevent.
For instance, potential dine-and-dashers may think twice if they see cameras watching their every move. Vandals may hesitate to deface your building if they know you have the evidence to get them punished and maybe even jail time.
As a restaurateur, the safety and security of your patrons, assets, and environment should be your primary concern. Having security cameras installed will make potential criminals rethink their actions.
Reduces Incidence of Harassment and Assault
Similar to crime deterrence, workplace harassment remains an insidious issue that all employers have to deal with.
A nationally representative study has shown that at least 81% of female respondents and 43% of male respondents have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. Of those, 38% said that they experienced harassment in the workplace.
Being under constant observation will reduce incidences of harassment and assault, whether it’s caused by a patron or employee. And, should complaints be received, your surveillance footage is a great way to arrive at a fair resolution.
Workplace harassment is a serious issue that restaurateurs need to take active action against. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also minimize potential damage to your brand image and employee morale.
Increases productivity and improves profits
Do you sometimes feel like your employees only work hard when you’re around? Are you curious how consistent they are in following health protocols, serving customers, or meeting work schedules?
Having a dedicated surveillance system will help motivate your employees to be more productive with their time. According to research from Bloomberg Business, a respondent pool of 392 restaurants saw over a 7% overall increase in profits after installing a surveillance system.
When you’re a restaurant manager, you need to spend time making essential business decisions rather than monitoring whether your employees are working or not. Your restaurant surveillance system should be enough to get the job done. When you’re freed from this burden, you will undoubtedly see an increase in productivity and profit.
Easy to install and operate
Modern CCTV systems are easy to use right out of the box. Gone are the days when installing a surveillance system means taking valuable time off and hiring a specialist to manage it. Nowadays, you can simply mount the cameras, turn them on, and wait for the video to record.
Which Areas You Need to Cover and Why
Now that we know the benefits of surveillance systems, we need to talk about which areas of your establishment you need to cover and why. This section will discuss the most effective areas to install a bar or restaurant surveillance system.
Entry and Exit Points
Two of the most important areas in your establishment are the entry and exit points. These places receive the highest traffic, which makes it more important to have cameras that can monitor the people passing through.
By pointing cameras in these areas, you can use the captured footage as a form of identification in case a crime occurs. If you have someone operating the system, they can also use the cameras to determine if there’s a crime taking place in real-time, such as theft or assault.
Without adequate security in this area, you could easily be bleeding cash, and you wouldn’t even know why.
That’s why every part of your restaurant or bar that has a cash register should have a camera pointed at it. Varifocal cameras are ideal for this task since they can be zoomed in or out and have adjustable view angles. You can even add a vandalism-proof dome for additional protection.
It’s not a surprise that crimes tend to happen a lot in parking areas. They’re often left unattended, filled with valuables that can attract criminals and vandals.
That makes it more important to include them in the list of areas in your bar or restaurant where you should install a surveillance camera.
If your parking area is located outdoors, keep in mind that you need to use weather-resistant cameras. They should also be mounted high to cover the widest view and to avoid being targeted by vandals. If this is not possible, a tamper-proof dome should do the trick.
Bar or Main Dining Area
These are customer areas, places where your patrons spend the most of their time. It’s also in these areas that many infractions occur. Dishonest bartenders may give expensive drinks and ring up a cheaper one, pocketing the difference. An employee may outright steal from the cashier. Patrons may dine and dash.
A visible surveillance system will deter most petty crimes of this nature, whether they’re committed by your patrons or your employees.
The kitchen is one of the busiest areas of a restaurant. It’s also a critical sanitary area, so you have to ensure that the employees working there always maintain proper protocols and sanitary codes.
With a surveillance system in place, you can easily track when codes are not being kept, trace when mistakes are made, and keep a watchful eye on your inventory. Make sure to pick a reliable security camera with a weather rating of at least IP66 to protect against the higher temperature, mist, and other potential substances.
Now, we know the various benefits of having a bar or restaurant surveillance system and the ideal places to mount surveillance cameras. That said, there are still other important considerations, which we will discuss in the next section.
Types of Security Cameras
If you’re thinking of installing a surveillance system in your bar or restaurant, you need to at least have a brief understanding of the different types of security cameras. Here are the most common types:
This type of security camera is meant to be seen, making them basically an open statement that someone is always watching.
Visible cameras are best placed in areas where patrons and customers can easily see them, such as dining and bar areas. They’re usually enough to deter most petty crimes. Some establishments even utilize dummy cameras for this reason.
If you’re worried that installing them may take away from the charm of your establishment, don’t. Although they’re meant to be seen, they still look small and sleek, allowing them to blend with the surrounding decor easily.
The direct opposite of visible cameras, concealed cameras are meant to catch people red-handed. Businesses typically place hidden cameras in sensitive places, such as storage areas and registers.
Regular security cameras don’t always capture the best images. A camera’s vision could be impaired in spaces where the lighting is dark or inconsistent, such as in bars or in parking lots. That’s where infrared cameras come in. They can detect body heat so you can be sure that any movement made by a person will be caught on cam.
As the name implies, fixed cameras stay in one location and only monitor a specific field of view. Anything outside it can’t be recorded and is out of scope. These cameras are most often installed in high-risk locations such as entryways, cash registers, or safes.
PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) Cameras
PTZ cameras have a variable point of view, allowing you to document a wider area. In smaller areas, they can practically cover a 360-degree view. This is in contrast to fixed cameras, which can only monitor one point of view.
They can be controlled manually, automated, or set to follow moving objects. Due to the higher technology utilized by these cameras, though, they typically come at a much higher price.
The installation and maintenance cost is one of the biggest reasons why owners and managers may delay installing a bar or restaurant surveillance system. Small to medium-sized businesses typically shell out around $1,500 to $2,500 for a complete system consisting of four cameras. For many beginner restaurateurs or bar owners, this could be a lot of money.
They don’t realize that delaying installation may prove costly in the long run, especially if a crime does occur. Not having a surveillance system installed makes it more difficult to run the business and monitor it at the same time.
Think of the expense as an investment to protect yourself against future harm. Some insurance companies even offer incentives and discounts to establishments with a surveillance system in place.
Preventing Crimes With a Surveillance System
Every bar or restaurant must have a surveillance system installed. More than just deterring crime, it can also improve productivity and reduce cases of harassment and assault in the workplace.
If you want to get the best results, make sure to determine the most suitable type of camera for the area you want to put it in. Don’t forget to place cameras in the most high-risk zones of your establishment, as well.
Glimpse provides business analytics and loss prevention technology for bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
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