A Service Industry Worker’s Guide to Staying Alert & Safe at Night

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Working in the service industry makes for a unique experience. Whether you work for a fast-food chain, a local coffee shop, or a high-end, five-star restaurant, your job could have you interacting with hundreds of people each day. Even if you work back of house, you might end up coming face-to-face with a customer at some point during the day.

People who work in the industry know that it can be a stressful environment. Extreme bouts of stress can come when you’re short on staff and your establishment is especially overwhelmed with business; other days stress is produced by numerous customers upset with their experiences, or just because they want something to complain about. The constant stress often leads to you feeling sapped of all energy by the end of the night, leading you to go on autopilot as you make your way through closing activities. And even worse, you might not be attentive when heading home, in the dark, and possibly carrying tips. This leaves you open to an attack from thieves, so it’s a good idea to start carrying a self-defense keychain knife.

While you might feel ready to run on autopilot, you should instead keep your wits about you. The most common places of violent assault and robbery take place in restaurants, bars, and other commercial buildings, and many of these assaults can be targeted at employees.

Why Employees Are Targeted

One of the most common reasons service industry establishments are targeted is due to attempted robberies. Rather than waiting for a restaurant to be closed, robbers will target restaurants while they are open, hoping to play on the fear of its employees.

Furthermore, most robbers know that restaurants store extra cash within a safe or deposit box once all employees leave and that either of these can be accessed by a singular employee. If they can enter an establishment while still open, robbers have a higher chance of gaining access to the safe or simply getting whatever money is stored out of the register(s)—which will be more during the day than at closing.

Why Employee Safety Must Be Discussed

For service industry professionals, safety protocols must be discussed either at some point or on a recurring basis. More than anything, these security measures must be related to remaining safe at night. Even if a restaurant is closed, it doesn’t mean it is safe from intruders:

An employee could let a late customer into the establishment even after closing, who has the intention of committing a robbery.
Someone could be able to sneak in through a back door left unlocked.
An employee taking the garbage out could be approached and attacked.
An employee might get attacked when heading out to their car, all in the hope they might be carrying a bank deposit bag on them.

The possibilities are numerous. It is for this reason that you should train staff to take certain safety protocols to heart when closing up their place of work.

Improving Employee and Restaurant Safety

Video Surveillance

To enhance overall security throughout your establishment, it’s important for you to have video surveillance installed. While these can be hidden surveillance cameras, it’s a smart idea to have some that are visible—research has shown visible cameras help reduce incidents of crime. Consider placing cameras in locations that will catch common incidents:

o Cameras sitting over the register with a clear sight of customers faces, the register, and employees behind the register
o Cameras located outside at the parking lot, front door, back door, trash disposal areas, and receiving/loading areas (if applicable)
o Cameras pointed at bar top if there is one within the establishment

Employee Self-Defense

Self-defense is a must when it comes to ensuring your closing staff is protected. Used as a last line of defense in case other protocols, including security cams and locks, are maneuvered past, self-defense training is a great way to keep your employees safe at all costs.

Employees should be trained with basic self-defense items in the event that they either decide to carry them or if they are provided to equipped-and-readied staff. If such training is not feasible, consider discussing self-defense options available to your employees that are within the limits of federal and state laws. Self-defense items that can be carried while removing trash or while closing out register drawers can include pepper spray and stun batons.

Cash Handling

To improve employee safety, all pertinent staff should be trained on how to properly handle cash. For safety reasons, only management and supervisors should be allowed to access the main safe, along with closing out registers. The following are considerations you can implement within your restaurant or bar, dependent on preference:
o Keep cash in drawers to a minimum, and store all larger bills within a secure safe.
o Don’t schedule trips to the bank at the same time for each day, as you don’t want to have money leaving your establishment at a habitual, expected time.
o Dependent on the establishment, consider placing an advertisement outside that states a small amount of cash is stored in registers and in-restaurant at all times.

Securing the Restaurant, Both Windows and Doors

The only part of your establishment that should be open during the day are the front doors; any back doors, receiving areas, and windows should not be open unless they are required for access. It’s also recommended that back doors be locked from the inside at all times, ensuring that no one is allowed to enter from the rear of the establishment, as this is a common method for people to get in unnoticed.

Your establishment should consider keeping windows clear, during the day and night, so any passersby can be easily seen by staff inside or by security cameras—especially in cases where a person might be inspecting the establishment.

There’s no perfect way to protect your service industry establishment—robbers are crafty and work diligently to find a way around systems. But with the proper systems of training and self-defense items, your staff can protect themselves against potential assaults and robberies.  

In : Business

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Learn More About Being a Survivalist. My name is Jack and my blog is a great way to get new and useful tips on how to get your house ready for anything, whether its a terrible storm or a really long power outage.

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