Security Director News: Sammy's video captures chefs on the move

August 3, 2009 | Coverage

Security Director News

By Rhianna Daniels

SAN DIEGO - How can you make sure a recipe is followed to the smallest detail?

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza, a restaurant chain with locations in California and Las Vegas, is leveraging its video surveillance system to do just that: monitor food preparation to make sure chefs are following protocol and maintaining food-safety standards.

"This is especially important in the morning line checks," said Patty Hernandez, corporate controller of Sammy's. "We need to make sure the staff checked food temperatures and refrigeration. We can see on the cameras as they are doing it."

There are between 16 and 20 cameras, installed by Navco, in each Sammy's location, which have been paired with 3VR's searchable surveillance platform. The 3VR solution is integrated with Hospitality Solutions International's POS system to enable video to be tagged with transaction activity.

Whitney Glockner, senior marketing manager with 3VR, said the company was able to integrate with the HIS internal hospitality suite easily because it is "an open platform and it has a versatile set of APIs." The integrated solutions were beta tested in two Sammy's locations over 30 days.

Hernandez said the 3VR system has "three purposes within our company. The first is as a theft and fraud deterrent. The way the system works is you are able to connect or see both transactions on the POS system together with the video footage." For instance, if there was a ticket that was "comped" due to a no-show, company officials can search for and then view video footage to see if a guest actually paid cash or if the employee pocketed the money.

Sammy's captures all of its data nightly and creates an online exception report for comps and discounts. "In that exception report, there are exceptions to the exceptions," Hernandez explained. "We will actually view those to make sure they are valid. For instance, a no-show that has an elapsed time of less than an hour. We give away a free sundae for birthdays and anniversaries. If there was a free sundae on a cash ticket, that would be an exception."

The company is also using video to address customer complaints. Hernandez said managers can see how the server interacted with the table and also follow along with tickets to show when it was opened and when it was closed to address timing issues. "We want to make sure our service standards are met," she said.

Even though the video system offers the capabilities to monitor other functions, Hernandez said the main priority of the technology is to maintain employee and guest safety.

"For us, the camera system touches on several different areas: employee theft and fraud is one area, improving the guest service and making sure food is safe and consistent," she said. "It's really hard to put a dollar value on that especially when you are talking about safety."

Read Article on Security Director News