As restaurateurs, it’s important that we gain our clients’ trust. This can be done by offering excellent service and delicious fare, personalised attention and employing safety measures which guarantee the client experience is as calm and enjoyable as possible.
Some common sense is required. Imagine you’re eating out at a restaurant and everything’s going well. You reach for your phone, but it’s gone! Now imagine that when you report your missing phone, the staff point you towards a sign saying “Please look after your belongings. We cannot be held responsible for any theft, loss or damage.” How would you feel? Would you ever eat there again?
This is an area in which many restaurants struggle and lose out. Such establishments are places where clients are robbed or where the staff aren’t worried about security and wash their hands of any incidents without realising that protecting diners is also part of the experience they’re supposed to be offering.
To avoid operating like this and ensure your restaurant safety and security, take careful note of these points:
Restaurant safety and security
Put a key person in charge of security. It’s a good strategy to choose a key person in the team who can put security measures in place. Someone to check that everything is in order. Also, someone who can deal with any problems that come up during service. Although all staff should know what they need to do, it’s important to have someone leading on this.
Implement an action plan. It’s useful to have a list of possible security incidents that could arise with what to do in each case. For example, it’s handy to have easy access to authority phone numbers and know local consumer regulations. This reduces response times, improves team organisation in different situations and creates a professional image. It also prevents responses which could be impulsive or even harmful in extreme cases.
Control restaurant entry. Although this might seem discriminatory, it’s worth putting up a sign saying something like: “We reserve the right to refuse admission” as this helps stop troublemakers coming into the restaurant. You will of course need to establish firm rules on what type of person will be prevented from entering and these will need to be included in the action plan mentioned above.
Use burglar alarms. This is a classic security measure for protecting businesses whether they’re open or closed. There are alarms which make a loud noise and alert those around to dissuade thieves, or silent alarms connected to a hub where the incident is reported to the authorities. Both are useful
Keep an eye out with video surveillance. If finances allow, it’s worth installing a video surveillance system as this will show you anything untoward going on. This is one of the most effective security measures for restaurants and is a good way to make this tiresome work easier. Video cameras also tell criminals they’re being watched and show clients they are being protected.
Have tables a certain distance apart. This is a security measure as clients feel more comfortable and have enough space to protect their things. It’s also a way to prevent misunderstandings and stop people taking other people’s things.
Put up hooks in strategic places. Having hidden hooks in inaccessible places under the bar or tables for clients to hang their bags and belongings on is also a classic restaurant security measure. With such hooks in place, clients can relax and enjoy the experience as there is less chance of theft or robbery.
Increase measures outdoors. In good weather, clients prefer to be outside: a more vulnerable area. We recommend installing strong night lights so the whole outside area is well lit and keeping a close eye on what is going on. If your restaurant is in a riskier area you will need to tell clients to take care of their things and not hang bags on the back of chairs, etc. It’s sensible to use a calm approach to avoid unnecessary concern.
Be friendly with neighbours and local police. It’s important to know about any issues in the local community. Be in frequent contact with neighbouring businesses who can alert you if thieves are around or if any other disorder is going on locally. Also, keep in touch with the local authorities who can advise you on how to avoid theft and what to do should someone be robbed.
Be careful how you treat clients if an incident occurs. You need to be kind, patient and carefully look after clients who are robbed or experience some other incident in your restaurant. It’s no good acting quickly or efficiently solving the problem if you don’t treat clients tactfully as they will become exasperated, anxious and angry. Staff need to understand what has happened and respond appropriately, especially the person in charge of restaurant security.
Remember that diners look for restaurants which feel safe and provide personalised attention. This also includes the staff team as the more harmoniously they co-exist, the better they’ll work and this will reap rewards. Certainly worth striving for!