Security Checklist

Preventative Measures

Criminals look for unsecured or easy targets and have often cased the area for places that fit the bill prior to attempting any actions. With this in mind there are several steps you can take to increase your restaurant security. Preventative measures should be taken now.

Exterior lighting

Criminals like the dark so inspecting your property to make sure it can be well lit when desired is the largest deterrent to criminal action. Even if you do not want to change the aesthetics of the way your building looks during service hours, you still need the ability to light all areas around your building when you are closed.


Both exterior and interior cameras are one of the best ways to deter the would-be criminals. With the price of systems on the market today it is foolish not to protect yourself with this. At the very least, false cameras can also be purchased and mounted. This is less effective, to say the least, but it still may deter many.

Get involved with your local police department and make sure they are aware of your closing time and regular routine. Getting on their routine route can be the cheapest and most effective restaurant security measure.



  • Alarm system
  • Unbreakable plastic substituted for glass
  • Iron bars or grilles
  • Wire mesh screens
  • Metal shutters or gates


  • Solid and heavy, preferably metal with a peephole look out on service access doors
  • Unbreakable plastic substituted for glass
  • Iron bars or grilles
  • Alarm System
  • Locks — finest available; consult competent locksmith


  • Handle same as windows


  • Heavy doors
  • High grade locks

Do not leave cash on premises after closing, even when a safe is available

Personal Security

Know your employees. Check references and former employers. Hire people you can trust. Train your employees on a continuous basis. Make sure they do not become careless. Establish clear systems and policies and make sure they are carried out at all times. Be receptive to employee suggestions and comments. Treat them with respect; acknowledge good performance. High employee morale insures trustworthiness. Consult your insurance agent & accountant and the local police & fire departments.

Review your restaurant security measures with all of your staff on a regular basis.

Food Loss and Waste

  • The first sign: food costs abnormally high.
  • Devise a self-checking, relatively foolproof system.
  • Give precise, written orders to vendors.
  • Check invoice against order.
  • Appoint one person to act as merchandise handler. He or she is responsible for checking merchandise for quantity, weight, and quality against purchase order and invoice. The storeroom (with lock and key) is under his or her sole control.
  • Use some form of written order to transfer food and supplies from storeroom to chef and from chef to server.
  • Make sure that use of such non-portion foods as sugar, milk and bread are in proportion to the number of persons served.
  • Inspect scrap tables and garbage cans regularly to check wasteful kitchen practices. Look for carelessly discarded silverware.
  • Keep garbage cans in a pick-up area separate from the kitchen. Make sure only your regular garbage removal contractor takes it away.

Employee Theft

  • Make frequent unannounced inspections to unearth hidden merchandise.
  • Check employment application data completely and carefully, especially previous employment.
  • Have new employees fill out bonding applications even if you do not use them.
  • Indoctrinate new employees completely. Let them know where they cannot go and your inspection & checkup procedures.
  • Watch for bags, briefcases, packages when employees leave for the day.
  • Be sure windows are properly protected and all alarm systems in operation.
  • Check your premised thoroughly before closing for the night.
  • Check your keys. Make sure no one but authorized, trusted employees have them.

From the Bar

  • Require a measure to be used for all drinks. No overpouring. Mark mixing glasses with quantities for the most popular drinks. Use mechanical measuring devices.
  • Check frequently to prevent pouring of free drinks.
  • Use written records – a check or slip for each drink.
  • Take regular inventory and compare amounts consumed against total bar checks.
  • Bar checks should include brand names, if asked for. This prevents writing checks for and selling a cheap brand when the customer asked and paid for a better brand.
  • Watch for drinking by your staff.
  • Hire your bartender carefully and treat him or her with respect.

The Cash Register

  • Cashier must count and verify cash before opening register for business.
  • All discarded receipts must be destroyed.
  • Errors corrected in full view of customer and OK’d by a supervisor.
  • All “Voids” should be OK’d by a supervisor.
  • Have receipt issued for every transaction.
  • Periodic check by an outside shopping service.
  • Each cashier must have his of her own drawer, if more than one person uses the register during the same period.
  • Checks should be totalled by the cashier, not the server.
  • Prevent servers from handling too many checks at once. Insist they turn in one check with payment before picking up another.
  • To prevent customer walkouts, make the server responsible for collecting each check.
  • Remove from the table ashtrays, pitchers and other small items if they are not being used.
  • Each server should check the list of bad credit cards. Post the list at the card printing device.
  • Do not leave large amounts of cash in the restaurant. Use your bank’s night depository. Most city police departments have some type of program that you can arrange for a police escort.
  • Have a burglarproof safe equipped with an alarm system. The drop type safe set for time opening will make it impossible to get into when you do not want it accessed.