By Peggy Carouthers
The threat of break-ins and armed robberies are one of the costs of doing business; however, restaurants can deter many thefts
with a little preparation. Just ask Andrew Miller, chief operating officer at Garza Management, which operates 46 Sonic locations in the Houston area. In 2017 alone, the company faced nine break-ins, resulting in cash losses. One of the biggest issues, Miller said, was the safes.
“The metal on the safe doors was very thick, but the sides were very thin,” he says. “Burglars cut a rectangle in it and opened the side of the safe like a can of tuna. Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturer’s safes are like that.”
Yet, it wasn’t just theft — Miller knew his team was losing productivity around cash handling, too. Manual cash processing was time consuming and left room for discrepancies. Additionally, managers were leaving stores to take deposits to the bank instead of helping with guest service and operations. Stores also had to work around bank holidays, meaning cash would stay in the safe longer than necessary, increasing liability if there were a theft.
“Every moment and every dollar counts,” Miller says. “There is just so much that can go wrong with manual deposits.”
In July and August of 2018, after researching solutions, Garza rolled out the Loomis SafePoint smart safe system to each store. After nine break-ins in 2017, the company only saw one break-in in 2018. There have been three break-in attempts since, but none of the burglars were able to get any cash out of the safe.
“The safes have played a large role in reducing the number of break-ins,” Miller says. “Many robberies and break-ins are linked to an employee talking about how much money they are handling with people outside of the company. Now, people simply feed bills into the safe, and we never disclose how much is inside at one time. Also, because the manager has no way to open the safe, there are fewer armed robbery attempts.”
Now, managers no longer leave the store, leading to increased security and efficiency. The SafePoint portal
also gave Miller’s team visibility into each store’s cash situation in near-real time, removing questions about when money was deposited.
Loomis also helped Garza set up a banking relationship with a single bank, streamlining the company’s previous multi-bank system. Loomis now manages cash pickups and deliveries so that managers no longer have to leave the store. Additionally, Loomis works with the bank to ensure that each store receives provisional credit
for cash that is located in the safe but has not yet been deposited with the bank, meaning that the store is better able to plan for payroll and other expenses. As a result of all these changes, Miller says Garza’s cash situation is far brighter today.
“I can’t put an exact dollar amount on how much Loomis SafePoint has saved us. That would include robberies we’ve prevented with the system and labor savings, but the cost of the system has been more than offset by what we’ve gained by increasing our security, accountability, and efficiency.”
about Loomis’ SafePoint Titan smart safe technology.