The challenges of the past couple of years have also created opportunities for restaurants – but any restructuring can also open the door to increased cybersecurity risks, particularly as data is migrated and new employees are brought on board. This has been especially true throughout the course of the pandemic as cybersecurity attacks have climbed for organizations of all sizes. The costs are high: According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is $3.28 million, with an average cost per each lost or stolen record of $161. To help protect your business, consider hiring a risk management professional who can assess your data and systems, help you minimize any weak links, and enable you to train your staff to minimize your risks. Your cybersecurity procedures should ensure that know who is using your systems – every transaction should be linked to an employee, for example – and that sensitive information is protected behind firewalls and accessible only by those who need to view it. Make sure that cybersecurity training is ongoing for your staff – and that it includes information about how to avoid falling for phishing scams. Stand-alone cybersecurity insurance can provide some additional protection as well.
Restaurant employee theft is a common problem, accounting for 75 percent of inventory shortages and 4 percent sales, according to the National Restaurant Association. Your systems and tools can help you stop it soon after it starts – or even prevent it altogether. A TouchBistro report advises leaning on your POS for help. For example, your POS settings can help you place controls on what employees can do when placing orders – such as preventing the printing of a bill if an order has not actually been served, or the deletion of items on a bill before it is closed and then keeping the cash. Your POS reports can also help you investigate questionable activity by flagging transactions that were removed or modified after they were finalized and those that involved voids or discounts, and scrutinizing day-end reconciliations that create an opportunity for underreporting earnings. It can show you how many times a cash drawer was opened and by whom, so you can quickly identify the employees to speak to in the event of a shortage. It can also identify discrepancies between an employee’s scheduled hours and how many hours they are reporting. Beyond your POS, consider the use of cameras at your POS and inventory storage areas, which can help you send the message that you’re committed to keeping everybody honest.
Add cybersecurity to the list of challenges facing the food supply chain. Up to a fifth of the nation’s meat processing capacity went off the grid in June after JBS, the biggest meat processor in the U.S., was hit by a ransomware attack. Restaurants have been, and will continue to be, targets for cybercrime as well. As restaurant operators integrate new tech tools into their operation, accept digital transactions and find their footing with business streams that rely on technology, cybersecurity is an ever-important concern. As the pandemic was gaining momentum in March of last year and online transactions climbed, there was a 600 percent increase in email phishing scams. Cyber insurance may help recover losses in the event of a breach, but restaurants first need a cybersecurity program that guides business security day to day. It should ensure your operating system and security patches are up to date and establish policies on the purposes for which your computer system can be used and by whom. Doing a background check of employees and screening third-party vendors can help weed out potential threats, and you can also issue unique passcodes for staff to help identify the source of problems if they occur. Train staff on how to avoid email phishing scams and take steps to contain the damage to your systems by using firewalls between the systems in various parts of your business.