Use DVR (digital video recording) and a POS system to monitor employee theft.
According to the National Restaurant Association, the cost of employee theft in the United States amounts to $8.5 billion annually, or approximately 4% of food sales. A 1999 study by the Association gives a figure of $218 per person each year.
In an industry where keeping food costs under control are vital, this amount can easily mean the difference between success and failure for many food and beverage operators. But keeping on top of employee theft can prove to be difficult.
Checking every employee, every bag, and relying on sales reports to indicate discrepancies is tedious and not very precise. Surveillance systems, often used by operators, have traditionally relied on VHF tapes and have typically been ineffective in catching perpetrators.
Now there's a new and very effective way of monitoring employee theft, and it uses DVR and technology most restaurateurs already have in place- their point of sale system.
Keeping on top of what employees are ringing into the till has proven to be challenging, until now. A recent partnership between Tesoro Technologies Inc's Volanté Systems and i3DVR International addresses that issue in a unique way. Since 1993, Volanté Systems has been providing point of sale solutions to the hospitality industry. i3DVR International manufactures closed circuit televisions and digital video recorders. The integration of the two technologies now means that items entered into the POS system also appear on video surveillance recordings.
For example, an employee serves an order of a sandwich and a coffee to her friend, but only enters the coffee into the point of sale system. The surveillance camera not only records the employee serving the order, but the actual text of the order that was entered into the point of sale system appears simultaneously on the recording as well. In this instance, there is no question that a theft has taken place.
Volanté's POS software provides this type of instant verification by interfacing with i3DVR's PACDM™ software. PACDM™ allows the capabilities of both search and text overlay functionality. The communication protocol being used is TCP/IP releasing data in an XML stream format. PACDM™ allows business owners to collect critical data about their operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with digital precision.
The beauty of digital security recordings is that they allow for rewinding and verification to the exact time an order was punched in. This type of software integration enables overlay and search functionality down to an exact image frame.
In addition to video surveillance, precise reporting is also an added feature of this type of technology. The data collected is inputted to a database and analyzed for the purpose of providing graphing and reporting features. According to Sherri Sanjurjo, Public Relations & Marketing Co-Ordinator for i3DVR, such accurate reporting increases productivity for managers as well.
Managers are more productive as less time is required in creating different reports. Also, they don't have to pour over all sorts of different reports to spot discrepancies, everything is streamlined for them." Says Sanjurjo.
I3DVR's PACDM™ software also has a web component, allowing users access to data from any location where there is an internet connection. Volanté's point of sale software is also internet ready, as it is developed entirely in pure Java.
Since Java is a premier language of the internet, Volanté is able to seamlessly integrate corporate activity to the powerful features of internet computing. Also, given that Java is a cross platform compatible language, Volanté will run on the operating system of your choice. (Windows 2000/XP, Unix, Linux), allowing for a flexibility that is rare in the point of sale industry.
Sanjurjo also points out the cost saving benefits of this type of software integration.
"Our customers are definitely seeing a cost savings through the reduction of theft. Monitoring is 24/7 for each employee, so the ability to catch someone is greatly increased." She adds, "This type of integration is very much needed in the marketplace. Feedback we're getting is that it's user friendly and simple to work with."
The partnership between Volanté POS Systems and i3DVR not only showcases the forefront of digital security technology, it also helps restaurant operators keep their profits in the till, where it belongs.