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The holiday season has arrived which means restaurants and stores are busy with hungry shoppers. Gift cards are a popular choice and the majority is purchased during the season. Fortunately, the season brings increases in sales and more people are paying with cash. Unfortunately, cash is a target for dishonesty from both internal and external sources. Robbers target restaurants and stores with lax security and untrained employees. Restaurants and stores may also fall victim to their own employees. Managers frantically trying to keep up with the frenetic pace of the holiday season may take shortcuts in an otherwise strong security and loss prevention program.

The following are 21 security tips and reminders to provide a safe, secure and profitable holiday season.

  1. Never open or close alone.
  2. Review cash handling policies, procedures and expectations with your employees.
  3. Review policies on friends and family discounts with employees.
  4. Secure manager swipe cards/codes and prohibit unauthorized use.
  5. Periodically remove extra cash from the registers and put into the safe.
  6. Inspect currency for counterfeit.
  7. Never carry bank deposit bags out in the open.
  8. Ensure deposits are taken to the bank before dark.
  9. Validate deposits daily.
  10. Review daily sales information for excessive/suspicious voids, refunds, no sales, and over rings.
  11. Review documents for closed out cash tickets that are reopened and voided.
  12. Conduct criminal background checks on employees, particularly the temporary and part-timers hired for the holidays.
  13. Check that all locks, alarms, cameras, video recorders, and detex alarms are tested and working properly.
  14. Leave the parking lots on all night during the holiday season or set timers at least one hour after employees are scheduled to be leaving the premises.
  15. Control and monitor all back door openings.
  16. Secure the keys to the back door.
  17. Do not open the back door after dark.
  18. Keep the back door locked and alarmed when not in use.
  19. Make sure employees know how to react during or after a robbery.
  20. Reduce marketing materials on windows and overgrown bushes obstructing views from the street.
  21. Before closing, inspect restrooms, storage areas, etc., for anyone left behind or hiding.

The tips and reminders are part of a comprehensive security, safety, and loss prevention program. During the frenetic pace of the holiday season we may take shortcuts or forget to follow the rules and procedures that help with profitability and our safety and security.

From LossBusters, we hope you have a safe and prosperous holiday season.

For more information on security, safety, loss and crime prevention for restaurants, visit www.LossBusters.com. For daily tips on restaurant loss prevention, follow on Twitter @LossBusters

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D. B. "Libby" Libhart
D.B. “Libby” Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings such as department stores, drug stores and quick-service restaurants. Before launching his own company, LossBusters, Libby served as the Senior Director of U.S. Security and Safety for McDonald’s Corp. He entered the QSR industry with Taco Bell and subsequently YUM Brands.
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