Although businesses across every industry are vulnerable to security threats, restaurants may be among the most vulnerable. Restaurants face a unique set of risks that compromise the safety of their employees and guests as well as the security of their assets.

One out of every three adults in the United States dines at a restaurant on any given day, making the restaurant industry the largest segment of the retail industry.

The heightened threat of criminal activity within dining establishments can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Late-night business hours
  • Large quantities of cash stored on-site
  • High turnover rates of employees
  • Relaxed background checks on employees
  • Alcohol consumption on the premises


Employee theft, armed robbery, and criminal behavior in and around the premises are among the most significant security threats for any dining establishment. Restaurant owners and managers have a responsibility to not only protect their bottom lines, but also to keep their staff and patrons safe. In fact, hospitality venues can face legal liability for employee and/or guest violence and misconduct. As such, they must understand the risks involved with their industry as well as the most effective strategies for mitigating those risks.


During any given shift, a restaurant will typically experience high volumes of foot traffic, process dozens of credit card transactions, and generate large amounts of cash. With roughly 9.9 million Americans currently employed in the food service industry and millions more dining at restaurants every day, theft is astoundingly rampant in the restaurant industry. Studies indicate that in the restaurant industry alone, theft results in staggering losses upwards of $6 billion per year.

Studies also show that most of this theft is committed by the restaurant’s own employees, an unfortunate reality that many managers refuse to acknowledge. Employee theft is the most frequent criminal activity in restaurants due to the staff’s direct access to assets and familiarity with the operations of the restaurant. Simply put, there are countless opportunities and circumstances in which employees can easily steal and remain undetected.

One of the most frequent methods of employee theft involves manipulating sales transactions, which includes skimming the register, voiding or shorting receipts and then keeping the difference, comping friends, or over-pouring drinks. Other means of employee theft include the misuse of coupons, gift certificates, and credit cards.

It can be nearly impossible for restaurant operators alone to detect or prevent such behavior, particularly during a busy shift with high volumes of traffic and demanding managerial responsibilities elsewhere in the restaurant.


Armed Robbery

Restaurants are also particularly vulnerable to robbery. Dining establishments are attractive targets for this type of criminal activity for several reasons, including:

  • A large amount of cash accumulated on-site
  • The presence of cash registers
  • Early morning and late-night hours with fewer employees on the premises


Armed robberies can occur at any time, but they are far more likely during a restaurant’s opening and closing hours when fewer employees are on site. Current and former employees – who have a better understanding the dynamics of the restaurant’s operations – are commonly involved.

Restaurant staff – particularly managers – are often alone late at night to process the daily financial reports, complete their inventory counts, etc. This makes them particularly vulnerable targets of violence and armed robbery both inside the restaurant and in the parking lot.

Armed robberies are dangerous situations which can escalate quickly and result in serious injury or death as well as financial losses.


Criminal Behavior

 Establishments that serve alcohol are far more likely to become conducive environments for belligerent, unruly behavior among guests. Alcohol consumption lowers inhibitions, impairs judgement, and increases the risk of aggressive behavior. Studies have shown, for example, that roughly 40% of prison inmates who are incarcerated for violent offenses were under the influence of alcohol when their crime was committed.

Violent incidents can involve both customers and employees and may range from verbal threats to use of knives, guns, or fists. Violence may also be the result of street gang and/or drug activity, which can occur inside the restaurant or in the parking lot and patio areas.


How Security Risks Impact Chicago Restaurants

Failing to address security threats can have devastating consequences for a restaurant’s business and bottom line.  Unmitigated security risks not only jeopardize the safety of a restaurant’s employees and guests, they can also seriously impact its reputation: criminal activity and crisis situations have been shown to be powerful and destructive deterrents to future patrons. Negative reviews regarding customer experiences can quickly empty any restaurant and cause a lasting impact on its bottom line. In other words, maintaining a safe environment for guests is critical for a restaurant’s continued business and profitability.

It’s important to note that restaurant owners are required to provide reasonable security measures that keep their staff and guests safe. Failing to provide adequate security could result in negligence lawsuits that could cost thousands. Employers can be held legally responsible for the violent crimes by employees negligently hired.


Security Strategies for Chicago Restaurants

Our experienced team of law enforcement officers thoroughly understands the unique threats specific to restaurant and provides industry-leading comprehensive restaurant security services. With extensive backgrounds in patrolling and securing premises, loss prevention and crisis management, our off-duty police officers are the most qualified individuals for preventing security breaches before they occur. We recognize that every dining establishment faces its own unique challenges and threats, and our services are tailored to the needs of each client. We work closely with restaurant operators to develop customized security solutions that protect the safety and integrity of their dining establishment.

Our restaurant security services include:

  • Door Supervision
  • Conflict De-Escalation
  • Parking Lot Security
  • Emergency Evacuation Planning
  • Activity and Incident Reports
  • Premises Patrol
  • Risk Assessment


Call us at 708-669-7470 or contact us online at to learn more about the steps that your restaurant can take to ensure better safety and security for your guests and employees.

Learn more about our Restaurant Security Services at