Restaurant Owners Can’t Ignore Safety and Security Issues, Says Howard Cannon, Restaurant Expert Witness

So you’ve got a new restaurant – are you prepared for a safety or security crisis? Preparing for a crisis involves a lot more than getting a good liability insurance policy.

Restaurant Expert Witness, Restaurant Consultant, and CEO, Howard Cannon believes that the restaurant industry needs to pay closer attention to safety and security, stating, “Government agencies recommend monthly safety meetings with staff and management, but very few follow that advice. Too often, there is poor training and lack of focus on safety and security for customers or the restaurant staff; and, there is little or no commitment to following up on the training that does exist.”

Cannon says, “In any industry, there are going to be events that may not be avoided. However, to reduce risks, restaurant management and employees should be trained in security and safety measures. Training typically revolves around security discussions, review of policies and procedures that have been put in place to minimize risk, and a combination of follow-up and monitoring to ensure compliance. He adds, “Having cameras in good locations, appropriate locks, and a well-lit facility can reduce the likelihood of problems.”

Mr. Cannon believes that those in the restaurant industry need to focus on managing their risks whenever possible, stating, “’What-if’ situations are supposed to be thought out ahead of time. Having a ready response for virtually every conceivable situation helps enormously . . . What if your staff didn’t lock the back door after dark? What if only one employee closed out the restaurant and left at 11 pm with the bank deposit? . . . You can easily become ‘sitting ducks’ ripe for accidents, or worse.”

The restaurant industry faces another profound security risk, and that is the risk from within. Mr. Cannon encourages restaurant owners to protect their assets, stating, “It’s a shocking fact, but 44% of restaurant employees steal from the establishment and 80% of theft is from management personnel. The industry has historically been buried with alcohol and drug abuse. Getting rid of that liability will reduce the likelihood of bigger problems.” Cameras can be a good preventative measure for this problem. They also act as a deterrent to would-be embezzlers and to would-be criminals from the outside. Additionally, when there are infractions, they help establish proof for criminal investigations, prosecutions, and other legal matters. Do restaurant customers like cameras though? Cannon believes that most of them do. “It depends on the people, but most customers will feel safer in establishments with cameras and a security system,” he says. “If something does happen, they have the confidence that the incident will be recorded and that record will protect them. People are looking for that kind of protection these days.”

Howard Cannon is a highly recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© – found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.

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