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Industry News - September 9th 2011



Biometrics Help Garden Fresh Reduce Employee Fraud in 122 Locations

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. has rolled out DigitalPersona U.are.U Fingerprint Biometrics in 122 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurant locations throughout 15 states. Garden Fresh deployed biometric fingerprint readers with the Volante Systems Point-of-Sale (POS) software to provide employees accountability and reduce unauthorized discounts and overrides.
Prior to installing fingerprint biometrics, employees used electronic registers that required a key to manage refunds, voids and discounts. The system made it difficult to track and identify who was actually accessing the cash drawer and authorizing transactions because keys were often shared. As a result, restaurants suffered losses that directly impacted the bottom line. Garden Fresh significantly reduced unauthorized transactions by replacing the electronic registers with new POS hardware software and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers.
In addition to combating employee theft, fingerprint biometrics help Garden Fresh show compliance with PCI-DSS requirements that require proof of controlled access to credit processing devices. Fingerprint biometrics enhance the security of POS systems, making it very difficult for unauthorized users to access the system. Due to the success of DigitalPersona’s U.are.U fingerprint readers, the corporation plans to extend biometrics to its time and attendance system to eliminate buddy-punching and payroll fraud.
“We chose DigitalPersona's fingerprint biometrics solution because it was easy to integrate into both our POS system and our Linux-based business applications,” says Rich Thomson, VP of management information systems at Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. “U.are.U Fingerprint Readers provide us a fast and simple way to reduce unauthorized transactions.”


Video Discredits Slip-and-Fall Claims at Orange Co. Convention Center

Orlando's Orange County Convention Center, site of the 2011 ASIS International seminar and exhibits, is also the site of a state-of-the-art IP-based video surveillance system running Ocularis software by OnSSI. The system includes approximately 300 5 megapixel cameras to keep watch on the second largest convention facility in the United States.
Orange County Convention Center's IP-based video system is a valuable proactive tool to protect the center. The system delivers value to the center every day for a variety of issues including investigations of slip-and-fall liability and insurance claims. Security console operators use the system to evaluate incidents and decide how to respond to anything reported by the physical security team walking the building. Video surveillance also helps with the implementation of safety programs for workers, including both convention center employees and contractors. Cameras watch over high dollar value items, too, such as ATMs and an audio/video storage area where connection cables using expensive copper wire could be a theft target. As an operations tool, the video system helps to manage traffic flow, whether it's people in the corridors or cars in the parking lot.
About the Technology
At the heart of the system is OnSSI's Ocularis software platform, which puts control of large video surveillance and physical security systems literally at the operator's fingertips. The Ocularis interface incorporates touchscreen functionality and map-based navigation. Ocularis also provides instant investigation during live monitoring, open platform support for hundreds of camera models, centralized user rights management and map navigation with active camera previews.
The new IP-based system, which covers the convention center's West complex, uses 10 Dell servers and two Storage Area Networks (SANs) to archive video, with the cameras distributed among the servers. The video system has a Cisco private network, and workstations are located at security consoles in the West and North/South complexes.
OCCC security manager Greg Forehand and four supervisors also have video access at their offices located within the complex. If the Orange County Sheriff's Department or Orlando Police Department is investigating an incident at the Convention Center, they can access video on the main console of the Building Operations Center in the West Complex, which includes multiple workstations and a video wall.
The North/South complex currently has an analog system with approximately 220 cameras, which will be tied into the OnSSI system in the next couple of years by either replacing the analog cameras with megapixel network cameras or by using video encoders.
Safety better managed
A big benefit of the new system is centralized video recording, an improvement over the previous use of digital video recorders (DVRs), which made access to video difficult. “We are leveraging the technology to help the sheriff's department and police department better manage the safety of shows at the convention center,” says Michael Distler, OCCC’s IT manager, who directed installation of the system and the supporting IP network.
The use of megapixel video cameras helps to identify people who may be violating safety rules. The megapixel images, provided by Arecont Vision cameras, enable operators to zoom in and read the names on ID badges required to be worn by employees as well as by day laborers, decorators and outside contractors.
Reviewing weekend video footage on Monday morning using Ocularis takes only minutes rather than hours. Ocularis makes it simple to find archived video using advanced video investigation tools such as the Time Slicer and Kinetic Motion Timeline.
Forehand says his team uses all the various Ocularis features. “We are totally committed to a safe environment for our guests,” he says. “We are extremely pleased with the overall system. The additional clarity and resolution of the megapixel images have enhanced our capabilities. This is a huge facility, and the word is out that our camera system is second to none.”
The OnSSI system was recommended by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which maintains an office at the convention center, as does the Orlando Police Department. Both law enforcement departments also use OnSSI systems in their own facilities. Federal grant money helped to pay for the early stages of system installation at the convention center.


Food Trucks Gaining Momentum, Says NRA

Food trucks are one of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry right now, and consumers are showing increasing interest in mobile foodservice. New research by the National Restaurant Association confirms:
  • Nearly six out of ten consumers (59 percent) would be likely to visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered one, up from 47 percent just one year ago;
  • Nearly one-fifth (18 percent) saw a food truck in their community this summer;
  • More than one-quarter (28 percent) of those who saw a food truck this summer made a mobile foodservice purchase.
“Convenience is a major driver in restaurant growth, and food trucks are certainly a convenient option by essentially bringing the restaurant to the consumer,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Our research shows that in just one year, the number of consumers who say they would be likely to visit a food truck has increased significantly. We also found that food trucks have a more noticeable presence in communities in the West and Northeast than in other parts of the United States.”
“Though food trucks are often equated with chefs and entrepreneurs, they also present opportunities for operators of established restaurants to expand their operations and presence, as a majority of consumers say they would visit a food truck run by their favorite restaurant. Mobile foodservice can be a good way to extend an existing restaurant brand beyond the four walls of the establishment,” says Riehle.
The National Restaurant Association’s new consumer survey also found that:
  • Consumers living in the West (29 percent) and Northeast (24 percent) were much more likely than those in the South (15 percent) and the Midwest (9 percent) to see a food truck parked in their community this summer;
  • When asked how they typically found the food truck they visited, 73 percent said they just saw it on the street, 54 percent said they selected it from an area where food trucks typically gather, 39 percent found out from a friend, and 13 percent found it through social media;
  • Adults with children (70 percent) were more likely than those without children (52 percent) to say that they would patronize a food truck if it was offered by their favorite restaurant;
  • A solid majority of younger consumers said they would be likely to visit a food truck if offered by their favorite restaurant; more than two-thirds of those age 18-44 compared with only 38 percent of those 65 or older.
The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,004 American adults August 25-27, 2011, about food trucks.


Select Restaurants Chooses 24-7 to Manage Multi-Concept Units

Select Restaurants, Inc., a national operator of multi-concept restaurants has chosen 24-7 Hospitality Technology (24-7) as its POS solution and support provider. Select Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates full-service restaurants in several U.S. markets including Boston's Top of the Hub at the Prudential Center, the Rusty Scupper on Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and the Parkers' Lighthouse in Long Beach, California.
“The value of knowing our multi-concept restaurants is well taken care of by 24x7 Hospitality Technology, bringing peace of mind to our company,” says Matt Woods, corporate controller of Select Restaurants. “24x7 Hospitality Technology has been a reliable business partner since we began doing business in 2005, when we first deployed the 24-7 Total Solution,” he adds. “We have restaurants in three different time zones and our restaurant managers are confident that, regardless of the time of day, they will receive dependable, knowledgeable, and more importantly timely support to assist them through each support call.”
The management system provided by 24-7 links each restaurant to its wait list, kitchen, cash management, and accounting systems. In addition, 24-7’s approach to technical support allows Select’s restaurant managers to reach technicians to handle any issue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
24-7 Hospitality Technology supports multi-concept Select Restaurants, including:
  • Parkers’ Lighthouse located on the waterfront in Long Beach includes an actual working Lighthouse. In addition to supporting a fine dinning seafood and a new steak restaurants, 24-7 computer systems support banquet and private dinning rooms, bar dinning, counter seating, full bar with entertainment, patio/outdoor dinning and takeout.
  • Top of the Hub in Boston is a restaurant soaring 52 floor above Back Bay. In addition to a fine dinning restaurant, 24-7 computer systems support the two-story adjoining Skywalk Observatory, a jazz lounge, and a kiosk in the Prudential Building Lobby.


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