Online Exclusive: Surprised? What Video Can Reveal About Your Business
- By Douglas Wong
- Apr 21, 2016
It’s estimated that 60% of new restaurants will close or change ownership within the first three years of operation. That’s a scary statistic, especially for anyone just starting out in the business.
Restaurant owners and managers face long hours, stiff competition, and high staff turnover rates. Any way you look at it, the restaurant business is tough, so the more help you have, the better!
While some restaurant owners may see video surveillance as a “nice-to-have,” to improve security and deter theft, more owners are seeing their investment in surveillance pay off in surprising ways.
One New York City restaurant used its video surveillance to investigate criticism about its slow service. The restaurant had video surveillance in place for a number of years, so after a sudden spike in customer complaints, it decided to look into the situation. What it found was incredible.
After comparing video footage captured on a busy day in July 2004 (thanks to the discovery of an old CCTV tape) with similar video recorded in July 2014, the restaurant concluded that smartphone use by customers was slowing down its dinner service by an additional 50 minutes on average. Unlike in 2004, when customers spent just over one hour in the restaurant, in 2014 the video surveillance showed that customers were too busy on their phones to look at the menu, and many were distracted by taking photos of their food or by texting. A few examples the restaurant noted:
- In 2004, customers took roughly 8 minutes to review the menu before they were ready to order. That jumped to 21 minutes on average by 2014.
- Nine customers sent their food back for reheating in 2014, after spending time on their phones after the food was brought to their tables.
- In 2014, it took an additional 20 minutes for customers to ask for the check after they’d finished eating, again because they were distracted by their phones.
Video gave this business valuable insight into the source of its problem, in a way that a firm hired to investigate the issue could not!
But restaurants aren’t the only ones capitalizing on their surveillance. Many other businesses are extending the value of their video beyond security and loss prevention and using it to improve operational efficiency and customer service.
The Kultaranta Resort Marina in Finland, for example, uses its video surveillance to allow boat owners to check the weather at the marina before deciding whether or not to go for a sail. The resort uses a browser-based software solution, enabling remote access to video so anyone with secure permissions can login at any time from their smartphone or tablet.
FirstBank & Trust represents another example. The Texas financial institution uses its video solution primarily for security, but also provides secure access to its internal auditor. Viewing live video from each branch makes it easy for the auditor to verify that the bank’s tellers are complying with the its dual control policy when handling large checks, and identify where further training might be needed.
We often hear about organizations using their video systems in new and innovative ways to solve a challenge or make it easier to perform a task. Other examples include: verifying that packaging is correct or that shipments were sent; ensuring merchandise is properly displayed; monitoring their business’ operating hours; and ensuring employee compliance with health and safety procedures.
And now with the growing use of intelligent video analytics, organizations can go even further to extract relevant information from their video. This ranges from calculating conversion rates, to analyzing customer wait times and evaluating the success of marketing and promotional campaigns. The opportunities are almost endless.
If you’re still thinking about video surveillance as merely a security or loss prevention tool, think again. There are many different ways to leverage your video investment and improve your business performance in the process.