How-to Prevent Violence in Restaurants

Work place violence can occur in virtually any type of workplace, but people are often surprised to learn how common it is for workplace violence to occur in restaurant settings. As the owner of a dining establishment, it is in your best interest to prevent workplace violence in order to keep yourself, your employees, and customers safe at all times. Workplace violence can cause high rates of turnover and eventually impact your business. Learn more below about the five most common causes of workplace violence in a restaurant so that you can best protect your business.

1. Lack of Basic Security Measures

Security measures are important because they help customers and employees feel safe and guarded. In a restaurant setting, you may think security precautions should be huge concern. However, according to OSHA, lack of basic security measures actually greatly increases the likelihood of workplace violence in a restaurant. Basic security measures should include security cameras outside and inside of your dining establishment, safeguards and protocol against theft, and plans in case of an emergency that could threaten your team or customers.

2. Handling Large Amounts of Cash or Valuables

Employees who handle large amounts of cash and/or valuables make them more susceptible to violence in the workplace. For wait staff that frequently carry large amounts of cash tips, this can become dangerous. Establish a security system to ensure that employees are not always carrying large amounts of cash at any time. One way to achieve this is to allow for employees to cash out at the end of their shift, rather than having them carry large amounts of cash all day. You can also put up signs that restrict the amount of cash in cash registers at any given time, dissuading burglary attempts.

3. Intense Organizational Changes

Is your restaurant or dining establishment undergoing intense organizational changes? This may include all new management, layoffs, large increases in staff or cutting back of employee hours. All of these events increase stress and therefore increase the likelihood of workplace violence. During times of intense organizational change, it is important to first and foremost be as transparent as possible with your staff. This will help relieve stress and uncertainty. It is also important to keep lines of reporting and communication open, so that staff feels safe reporting issues or violent tendencies without fear of repercussion.

4. Busy Days and Times of the Year for Dining

As we said previously, heightened stress always increases the chance of work place violence occurring. Especially during peak hours and holidays, dining establishments can get incredibly stressful for waiters. As a manager or owner, it is important to give frequent breaks to wait staff to ensure they have time to eat and use the restroom. Allow them to openly communicate their needs and help them address any concerns they have. If you notice an employee getting flustered or showing signs that they may become violent, remove them from the situation as quickly as possible.

5. Working with the Public

Workplaces that involve contact with the general public tend to have more incidences of work place violence. Obviously in the food service industry, all contact is with the public. Some safeguards against work place violence in this arena include:
• Avoid over-serving patrons. Train bartenders and wait staff to detect when a customer has had enough to drink and cut them off at that point.
• Do not allow employees to drink at work.
• If a customer and employee become violent or things start heating up, send the employee to the back room to cool down and have someone else resolve the situation.
• Ensure your employees feel safe and protected – ask a disorderly patron to leave if needed.

Start Protecting Your Restaurant from Work Place Violence

Even with all of these precautions in place, your dining establishment may still be at risk for a number of unfortunate circumstances. Protect your business with restaurant risk management coverage from RPA. Our team is specialized in keeping restaurants and other dining establishments protected from all of the tough parts of owning a business. We provide the coverage you need at an affordable price, so contact us today to get started.