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Using Intelligent Video Surveillance to Safeguard Your Restaurants [Expert Corner]

 

In this Expert Corner, we hear from Net Payne, Chief Marketing Officer for March Networks, a global provider of IP-based video surveillance solutions used by some of the world’s largest retail organizations for security, loss prevention and risk mitigation.

Payne oversees the retail portfolio and helps restaurant management combat shrinkage, work more efficiently and deliver measurable returns on technology investments.

Restaurateurs have POS reporting that they can review at the end of the day, and in certain high-crime areas, cameras and security personnel. Why would they invest limited resources in new technology for loss prevention?

Payne: There are intelligent software applications available today that actually help restaurateurs use their existing POS and video surveillance systems more efficiently and get better results. These applications synchronize recorded video evidence with POS transaction data, enabling loss prevention investigators to review suspicious transactions along with associated video with a single click. For example, an investigator reviewing a suspicious merchandise return can confirm fraudulent activity easily if the video reveals there was no customer present during the transaction. Showing that video evidence to the responsible employee can also speed restitution and resolution significantly.

Similarly, the software application can be invaluable for quickly addressing customer disputes, enabling a store manager, for example, to immediately pull the transaction in question along with the associated video record to verify what happened. Not only does this save retailers time, the immediate resolution can also strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The best solutions enable secure access to the integrated video and POS transaction data remotely, so investigators can work their cases from a central location. They also include strong case management software that allows investigators to easily package their evidence to share with law enforcement authorities or save for future reference.

So for an incremental software investment, restaurateurs are able to use the systems they already have in place in most cases to increase the efficiency of their loss prevention investigations, resolve cases more effectively, and reduce losses from fraudulent activity.


Tell us about the latest technology in video and audio capture technology that helps restaurateurs safeguard their business.

Payne: Many restaurateurs have yet to take advantage of more advanced video surveillance solutions that provide a number of key security and monitoring benefits. These networked solutions offer capabilities such as camera tampering and motion detection features that automatically alert security staff to suspicious incidents or security breaches. Often the incident might be as simple as a new merchandise display blocking a surveillance camera. With the alert, staff are immediately aware of the issue and can easily move the display to ensure critical video evidence is available if needed.

Video analytics arm restaurateurs with further intelligence by automatically detecting potential vulnerabilities such as an obstructed doorway, a person loitering in a specific area of a store, or a slip and fall incident, and sending alerts in real-time so action can be taken. These features and analytics help restaurateurs proactively protect their customers, staff and operations from potential hazards and, coupled with recorded video evidence for post-event investigation, protect themselves against false liability claims.

While cash issues are prevalent in the restaurant business, pilferage and problems with inventory are also commonplace and are often at the heart of food cost issues. What technologies help control and monitor inventory in real time for small and large chains alike?

Payne: Video surveillance solutions often play a key role in inventory monitoring and control. There are multiple features and analytics that can alert owners and staff to potential security breaches, such as an unauthorized person entering a storage room, or the presence of a truck in a loading dock after hours. Integrated surveillance and access control systems further strengthen security efforts. For example, a retailer can set the system to trigger video recording after business hours only if a door or window contact is opened, allowing them to not only capture the incident on video, but also manage their recording and storage more cost-effectively. 

Can you briefly describe your best case study or success story? How did you help a restaurant chain prevent losses or solve theft and/or pilferage issues?

Payne: Below is a customer case study highlighting the business value of current technologies. Unfortunately, we are unable to name the retailer at their request. Many retailers consider their loss prevention capabilities to be a competitive advantage and therefore prefer not to publicly disclose which solutions they are using.

Company: QSR franchisee operator based in the U.S. with more than 120 locations:

Solution components: March Networks 4000 LC Series hybrid Network Video Recorders (NVRs), Visual Intelligence software, Retail Transaction Investigation (RTI) software.

Since deploying their retail solution with RTI in 2008, one U.S.-based QSR organization has seen the shrinkage value of its average case drop from $1,000 to less than $100. The retailer reports that it is catching and stopping fraudulent activity more quickly and that there are fewer incidents overall.

In fact, their asset protection team now spends about 80 to 90 percent of their time using the solution to remotely monitor their stores to ensure quality, cleanliness and operational compliance. If a restaurant lobby needs cleaning, for example, or if a shelf is running low on a certain product, they will call the responsible employee to rectify the issue. The system is also used to help identify where further training is needed, or compliment an employee on a job well done. The organization notes that the constant communication also serves as an effective loss prevention deterrent.

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As March Networks CMO, Net Payne oversees the company’s retail product portfolio and helps restaurant management combat shrinkage, work more efficiently and deliver measurable returns on technology investments. March Networks has been serving the restaurant community for 11 years and was recognized as #1 provider of enterprise digital video recorders (DVRs) in the Americas  by IMS Research.

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(10-26-11)

Copyright: Kandessa Media. All rights reserved.

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