Imagine this scenario. You are sitting in your favorite sit-down restaurant, celebrating a birthday, promotion, or a Spelling Bee victory. A few minutes later, a server appears outside the kitchen, and begins walking towards your table. Just a few steps from your table, the server suddenly trips. Splat! The chicken linguini goes flying in the air and lands right on your shirt.
You try, of course, not to lose your cool. You wipe your shirt clean, and then ask for a replacement dish. As you reach into your pocket for your wallet, however, you freeze in astonishment. At that moment, you realize that the “accident” was no accident. You were robbed!
Most people would feel uneasy about being filmed at home while eating their sugar-coated Choco Bombs breakfast cereal. The same is true about customers in restaurants. Crime happens everywhere, however, even in restaurants where there is a sea of potential crime scene witnesses. So, business owners are now turning to surveillance cameras to keep their dining tables crime-free.
Taking a Bite out of Sales
Internal theft in U.S. restaurants varies from $3 million to $6 million, based on different studies. One study has even estimated that the average yearly theft per restaurant worker is about $500 a year. How is it done? Common practices include stealing food or drinks from the restaurant. Other times, free food and drinks are served to friends and family members. A more complex scheme includes hand keying in a previous customer’s credit card numbers for a current sale, and then pocketing the cash. Surveillance cameras can be very useful in catching in-house thieves. How? By matching faces with the time fraudulent transactions occurred!
Giving Orders Then Taking Bread
Not all theft in restaurants is internal, however. Surveillance cameras can also help catch walk-in thieves. Some of them, like the small-time thieves in “Pulp Fiction,” even sit down as customers before they grab the cash register’s and customers’ dough. Surveillance cameras outside the restaurant can catch the make, model, color, and license plate of the getaway vehicle.
Surveillance cameras can be useful not only in restaurants but in bars as well. In one large American city, a mayor proposed that bars open until 4:00 AM be required to install surveillance cameras. The surveillance cameras will then monitor who enters and exits the building. In a post 9-11 world, many businessmen support such a measure. They argue that the benefits of surveillance cameras in restaurants and bars, is certainly worth the cost.
Cameras for Thought
Several pros exist in installing security cameras in or outside restaurants and bars:
1. Surveillance cameras can result in lower crime rates. To many criminals, the risk of having their mug captured on film is enough to deterrent to the wrongdoing they’re planning.
2. Surveillance cameras can increase customers’ confidence. Customers who are less fearful of being robbed are more likely to wine and dine in a bar or restaurant.
3. Some cities are offering incentives to bars and restaurants that install surveillance cameras in their businesses. Government officials realize that decreasing crime in businesses will increase the confidence of restaurant and bar clientele. Thus, the city will further prosper as a safer and wealthier place.
4. Finally, surveillance cameras in bars and restaurants make public areas better. Safer businesses result in safer public places throughout a city.
Crime can happen at any time and in any place. Bars and restaurants are no exceptions. Why put your clients or your profits at risk? With surveillance cameras, you keep the flavor in people’s wining and dining experiences.