Restaurant Back Door Security – Protecting People and Profits

They watched from the shadows as the employee propped open the back door to take his nightly run to the trash corral. He did not deviate from the routine of the last two nights. It was 1:35 AM, right on schedule. As the young man returned with his empty cart, they pulled the ski masks down over their chin and jumped out with guns drawn. They pushed the employee into the restaurant. Upon entering the office area, the two robbers sprung into frenzied action. One robber grabbed the manager, pointed his gun at her, and screamed for her to open the safe, while the other forced the other closing employees to lie down on the cold tile floor of the kitchen.

Unfortunately, this scene plays out somewhere every night in the world of fast food. A world serving the public, late at night with predators lurking, waiting and plotting to take advantage of every opportunity to forcibly rob others hard earned cash. Crime prevention solutions cost virtually nothing but implementing changes in policy, routines and discipline.

The opening of the back door expands the business to cash and product losses and the employees to serious crime, including homicide. Opening it at night greatly increases the chances of bad things happening. Yet it is one of the most serious breaches and most violated of all security policies. It is a virtual weak link that can be turned into one of the strongest bonds in creating a safer and more secure environment for customers and employees when properly executed.

This particular scene is avoidable with simple policy and procedures on limiting these dangerous exposures to crime and theft. Most importantly, the procedures must be engrained in the training and routines of employees in the restaurant and violations met with appropriate discipline. Not only is the control of the door essential in keeping employees safe and secure, but is a major component in preventing theft and inadvertent losses.


Effective policies regarding the back door include prohibited opening times such as night time and possibly peak rush times when every employee should be focused on serving the customer. Sound loss control programs ensure that the door is locked at all times and monitored by a member of management whenever it is opened. The keys to the door lock and alarm do not leave the management team or be readily available to non-management personnel.


When opened, the door should not be propped open.


When opened, the door should not be propped open. During a trash run, all the trash is placed outside the door, then closed and locked unless the open door will be monitored by a member of management. Clear trash bags are to be used and all cardboard boxes broken down. No one is allowed to enter through the back door. Any request to enter or open the back door is to be made at the front counter.


The back door must be equipped with an audible push button. The rear doors must be equipped with an audible push button. A bar alarm with a key that can not be removed while the alarm is in the "off" position, a peep hole or small (less than 4 ") covered window and anti-pry plates at the lock. Corral areas If the restaurant is equipped with a perimeter alarm system, the back door is to be included.


Apply simple technologies to audit compliance and report the unauthorized openings that jeopardize the lives of employees and the profitability of the company. enunciators and / or strobe lights near the manager's office when the door is opened. Exception reports can be generated by connecting alarm contacts to a restaurant camera system. The reports can be transmitted to supervisors and / or security representatives with attached video of open door activity.

The back door to every restaurant is essential in maintaining effective operations from trash removal to the receiving of inventory. . Sound loss control principles include the control of when the door is opened. Old habits of maintenance or stockroom employees having possession of door keys, keys hanging on hook or indiscriminate loaning of management keys are difficult to change. Maintaining control is often considered an inconvenience by management. The costs of implementing new policies, procedures and disciplines in the use of the back door are inexpensive. When the door is uncontrolled, the chance for bad things happening increases dramatically, as depicted in the opening passage above. When "nothing bad has ever happened here" and "if it is not broke, why fix it!" are the responses to not having proactive loss prevention procedures in place, the ultimate price may be extremely high.

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