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How secure is your hospitality business?

Seven tips to make security pay its way in the new normal in hospitality from industry expert Chris Coughlin, from Stanley Security

“The pandemic has been the catalyst for a revolution in the security industry and moved technology forward by five years,” says Chris.

“The days of a single camera on a wall are long gone,” he insists: “Catering and hospitality sector decision-makers are now asking not just ‘how do I protect my business?’ but also ‘how can I save money?’”

Like Q in the Bond films, in his job as Technical Product Manager, Chris puts the latest CCTV, intruder and monitoring technologies to the test. So here’s his expert guide to protect staff, stay hygienic, prevent loss, boost efficiency and build a business fit for a post-lockdown future.

1. Don't cut corners

Security is always viewed as an unnecessary expense…right up until the time you have a problem. You can buy security cameras off the shelf, but the best solutions are tailored to the size, layout and footfall of your restaurant, pub, café or bar. These days, security options can be monthly contracts that are cheaper than a mobile phone subscription.

If you do change security, be sure to train your staff to help them maintain safe working conditions and dispel any anxiety around returning to work.

2. Internal threat

The pandemic has prompted a spike in staff becoming opportunist thieves at a faster rate than ever. It might be someone helping themselves to food each day, ‘sweethearting’ where they discount or are giving products away for free, or taking a fiver out of the till. Although, since the pandemic, some venues now only accept card payments, cash is still widely used and can be an easy target for internal (and external) thieves. Camera technology which records and zooms in every time there’s a transaction can help stop this and potentially save you thousands.

3. External threat

Traditional break-ins for cash in tills and stock, malicious damage, graffiti and vandalism tend to happen outside operating hours, so a remote, integrated and motion-sensitive intruder system coupled with a CCTV setup can help mitigate that risk and film anything suspicious.

Restaurants and bars are set up to be inviting and open which is tempting for walk-in thieves. Security can be unobtrusive to maintain a warm welcome for the right people but clear enough to deter. That’s especially important in the increasingly important outside area, where equipment may be left overnight.

Chris Coughlin, Stanley Security
“87% of opportunistic crimes inside venues are deterred by CCTV cameras and the presence of a working security system”
- British Retail Consortium Retail Crime Survey 2020

4. Hygiene and Covid-19

There’s growing emphasis in the hospitality sector on staff and customer hygiene. Remote monitoring of mask-wearing and social distancing reduces infection, increases diners’ confidence and as a result, profits.

We’re seeing a move towards biometric facial-recognition orders and touchless-access control systems, where staff don’t need to touch doors to enter and where employers can monitor attendance remotely. Bluetooth-access control credentials are also being used to automatically open doors for kitchen or waiting staff with permissions. A few years ago, that would have been a flight of fancy.

5. Set your limits, increase efficency

The best security packages are where an expert visits your premises and you sign up only for the products you need in the areas you need them in. If you have thousands of pounds of stock in a freezer, an effective tailored system will pay for itself instantly.

We recently helped a customer who was paying £20,000 a year to security guards to open and close their outlets each day. We looked at their model and by offering access control remotely, they are saving money that is now going into the business.

6. Changing behaviours

We’re all doing things differently now, and security monitoring can bring benefits by offering analytical insights into how customers behave at certain times during their visit to you.

Technology can provide a visual heat map of where diners or drinkers go, how they act and their dwell time. So, if it shows people tend to stand at one end of a bar then that might be the best place to put promotional material or if part of a café is always empty, it might be time to shift things around. That’s where security drives revenue.

7. Keep your people safe

The best security advisors offer a tiered system dependent on need, from intruder detection or video surveillance up to a total package which allows smartphone access to every aspect of the business’ physical security.

This technology allows solo staff who open the building to have an app that can tell if they fall over or are subject to sudden movement. A remote monitoring team can access the camera or microphone on the phone and take appropriate action.

If you want to improve security at your venue and would like yo find out more, take a look at Stanley Security. It offers packages for a small charge each month. Claim 10% off a starter package here:

Security camera on ceiling
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