Operating a successful quick-service restaurant (QSR) isn’t just about serving tasty food and providing excellent service. It requires you to have the right tools and protocols in place to efficiently handle various incidents that can occur within the establishment. These incidents, which range from theft and loss to operational problems, can have a significant impact on a QSR’s reputation and profitability. To effectively address these challenges, restaurants need a robust incident management tool. In this article, we will explore the crucial role of an incident management tool in the restaurant industry and how it can benefit your business.
According to Modern Restaurant Management, 75% of restaurant shrinkage in the US is due to internal theft, costing restaurants an estimated $20 billion per year.
What is an Incident Management Tool in a Quick-Service Restaurant?
An incident management tool is a comprehensive tool designed to capture and oversee critical events within your business, all in one place. It is your go-to resource when it comes to addressing issues like theft, fraud, or any other events that negatively impact your operations.
This tool simplifies the process of identifying security or operational problems. It includes the documentation of crucial information, such as video clips and detailed descriptions, to facilitate quick resolutions. With an incident management tool, creating a case, recording evidence, communicating with restaurant leadership, and even coordinating with local law enforcement becomes a seamless process.
How Can an Incident Management for Restaurants Help Prevent Loss?
When it comes to loss prevention, the way your restaurant handles incidents can significantly impact the extent of the losses incurred and how effectively similar issues can be averted in the future:
Streamlined Incident Documentation:
As an owner or operator of a restaurant, an incident management tool offers a dedicated platform for easily documenting any unusual or suspicious events. Whether it’s an employee mishandling cash, customers engaging in fraudulent activities, or operational errors, these tools provide the means to capture real-time data and select relevant video evidence for thorough documentation. This timely identification is crucial because it allows you to proactively address issues in their early stages before they escalate and result in substantial losses.
Incident management for restaurants serve as a centralized repository for all incident-related data, including video footage, description of what happened, amount of loss incurred, and employees involved. By having all relevant information in one place, your restaurant can identify patterns and trends that might not be apparent when data is scattered across various sources. This comprehensive view of incidents empowers you to take proactive steps to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Accountability and Deterrence:
When employees are aware that their actions are being monitored and documented, it encourages greater accountability. Knowing that there’s a structured system in place for handling incidents, employees are less likely to engage in theft, fraud, or other inappropriate behaviors. This not only prevents losses but also creates a culture of accountability within your organization.
Effective Training and Coaching:
Incident management tools provide a lot of data that can be used for employee training and coaching. If incidents arise due to employee errors or misconduct, you can use the documented incidents as case studies to train your staff on the correct procedures and expected behaviors. This results in more skilled and responsible employees who are less likely to contribute to theft or loss in the future.
Loss Mitigation and Prevention:
By systematically documenting incidents and analyzing the data, you can identify the root causes of various issues. This allows your restaurant to implement targeted preventive measures. For example, if cash handling issues are consistently leading to losses, you can improve cash handling procedures or invest in additional security measures. Incident management tools for restaurants not only help mitigate existing losses but also prevent future ones by addressing the underlying issues.
Evidence for Legal Action:
In cases where theft, fraud, or other criminal activities are involved, incident management tools provide compelling evidence for legal action. The documented video footage and incident details can be shared with law enforcement or used in court to prosecute wrongdoers. This not only ensures that justice is served but also sends a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated, serving as a deterrent to potential offenders.
Use Case: Stop Employee Theft with Incident Management
In a quick-service restaurant, a store manager became increasingly concerned about consistent cash shortages in the register during shifts worked by a particular employee. Suspecting theft, the manager raised the concern to the loss prevention (LP) manager.
After receiving the concern, the LP manager initiated an investigation, quickly reviewing footage and uncovering multiple instances of the employee taking and concealing cash from the register. Leveraging the capabilities of the Incident Management system, the LP manager effortlessly documented each theft, capturing critical moments and detailing the exact amounts taken during each incident.
Armed with a documented series of incidents, the LP manager conducted a thorough interview with the employee, resulting in a confession of the thefts. The LP manager then contacted law enforcement, leading to the employee’s arrest, and the LP manager seamlessly shared the incident details as compelling evidence.
This efficient and decisive action resulted not only in a quick resolution but also enabled the implementation of corrective measures, including a discussion with the entire team about proper cash handling procedures, reinforcing accountability, and strengthening overall security within the restaurant.
Efficient Incident Tracking for a Smoother Operation
Incident management tools offer an unparalleled advantage in streamlining incident review processes. Instead of investing hours in sifting through video footage to identify flagged incidents, restaurant managers can now accomplish the same task in a fraction of the time.
For instance, let’s consider a scenario where a cashier is suspected of mishandling cash transactions. With an incident management tool, the manager can quickly review the flagged incident footage across the entire organization, by location, or even by the specific employee involved. This rapid process ensures that corrective action can be taken promptly, preventing further losses.
How Does an Incident Management Tool Contribute to a Better Restaurant?
One of the most significant challenges in addressing incidents is arriving at informed conclusions and taking decisive action. Incident management tools provide a wealth of documentation that can be easily accessed. This documentation includes video evidence and detailed information such as the observed behavior and the assigned case owner. This helps management make informed decisions and take action effectively.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. If there’s an issue with improper food handling leading to customer complaints, restaurant management can use the incident management tool to review the incident, understand the causes, and make necessary changes to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Promoting Honesty and Accountability with Incident Management for Restaurants
Incident management tools help create a culture of honesty and responsibility in a restaurant. These tools enable the identification and flagging of various incidents, including theft, loss, and operational issues. This functionality encourages employees to take responsibility for their actions, knowing that their behavior is being watched.
Further, these management tools allow for the organization of managed video content alongside data. This data includes crucial details about the incident, case ownership, and proposed corrective actions. This approach ensures that issues are not only securely saved and stored but actively managed to resolve.
Using Incident Management for Restaurants for Future Improvement
The insights gained from incident data can be invaluable for future business development. Incident management tools offer the capability to identify and manage trends, whether they are anomalies in data or observations from video footage. Let’s look at specific examples:
Food Safety and Quality Compliance Issues:
When restaurants tackle problems related to the quality of food through incident management, they can make their customers happier and maintain a good reputation for consistently serving high-quality meals.
Food Preparation Violations:
A tool like incident management for restaurants helps restaurants save money by fixing issues with how they prepare food. Additionally, they discourage theft and unauthorized actions over a long period.
Cash Handling Policy Violations:
Ensuring that money is handled properly is not just about being honest; it also prevents opportunities for employees to steal. Data from incidents related to cash handling can be essential for improving these processes.
Workplace Safety and Security Violations:
To reduce the overall number of incidents, restaurants must identify and address safety problems in the workplace. By using data from incidents, restaurants can make their workplaces safer for both employees and customers.
In the fast-paced world of QSRs, where operational efficiency and customer satisfaction are important, a tool like incident management for restaurants offers an invaluable solution. Tools like Envysion’s Incident Management streamline incident review processes, provide concrete documentation for informed decision-making, create a culture of accountability, and offer deeper insights for future business development. As the QSR industry continues to evolve, integrating incident management tools into operations can make the difference between thriving and struggling. By harnessing the power of technology to manage incidents effectively, restaurants can ensure smoother operations, heightened security, and a delightful dining experience for their customers.