Seven major convenience store security risks — and how franchise owners can prepare for them

The FBI released an analysis of violent crime across the USA, and you may be shocked to learn convenience stores are the fourth most common place for violent crimes to take place — which is why addressing convenience store security risks needs to be a top priority.  

Okay, you may not be shocked. Convenience stores have always had the setting to a bit more risk. The long hours of operations, the cash on hand, and products like alcohol and cigarettes that tend to be easily accessible… it’s a recipe for trouble.  

So how do you up your convenience store security to keep your team and store safe, especially as a franchise owner overseeing numerous locations? And what risks do you need to prepare for?

This article will dive into the internal and external convenience store risks you’ll face regularly while overseeing the operations at numerous locations and — more importantly — how to deal with each.

Internal Convenience Store Security Risks

First let’s look at internal risks. These are the risks that happen within your business, meaning you have a little bit more control over them. Things like technology and training help to minimize internal risks — but you should always have a plan for when these risks do take place.  

1. Internal Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Internal theft is rampant across every industry — it’s truly just part of running a business.  Over 75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once. And convenience stores are no exception. It’s especially risky given the late hours and higher likelihood of your staff being alone at work.

Solution: Implement ways to ensure your employees feel valued right from the get-go. Implement bonuses, training opportunities, extra time off, or a regular schedule for performance-based raises. Happy employees are less likely to steal (or turnover, which is a nice bonus).  

Pro tip: You can get instances of theft sent right to your phone with DTiQ SmartAudit solutions. Suspicious transactions or videos are delivered directly to you, making it easy to catch theft early and stop it in its tracks.

2. Injury/Slip and Fall

Convenience Store Security Risk: The reality of convenience stores is that there are more hours in a day for injuries to take place. People come in at all hours, can be inebriated (which heightens their risk of injury), and staffing may be minimal at later hours, so people are more comfortable being brazen. You need to have precautions in place that minimize the risk of injury. You also need to minimize the amount you’re paying out in settlements.

Solution: The best way to prevent an injury is to minimize the chance of them even happening. Ensure your store (both inside and outside!) is properly cleaned and maintained. Avoid service, when possible, to guests who are too inebriated to properly carry themselves throughout the store. And make sure any messes are cleaned quickly (you know the slushie machines can become a slipping hazard) — this involves cleaning but also having proper warning signs in place.  

Despite your best efforts, however, injuries are going to happen. Security cameras that are “just for show” have no value when proving you did due diligence. Make sure you have cameras that work and provide you with easily accessible security footage.

3. Inability to Oversee Everything

Convenience Store Security Risk: With so many convenience store security risks (we haven’t even gotten to external risks), it can be hard to keep your eyes on everything at one store — imagine trying to see everything that’s going on across different store locations at all times. The hours are long, the business is busy… how do you stay on top of it when you have numerous convenience store locations?

Solution: The right tech stack can make all the difference. An intelligent video solution like DTiQ lets you pull the performance of all your convenience store locations no matter where you are — at any time of day or from any location. You can set up the right tech stack to essentially provide you a snapshot of performance at each individual convenience store location — from store cleanliness to uniform, to the number of refunds and everything in between.  You can even have a “report card” with store performances sent to you, meaning it’s a lot easier to oversee everything at a glance.  

External Convenience Store Security Risks

External risks are the opposite. These are risks that happen to your business and are typically outside of your control. And given the business nature of a c-store, you have to be on your a-game to tackle the external convenience store security risks.  

1. External Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Most convenience stores have long hours, stretching into the early morning and well into the night. Convenience stores are also typically known for having hefty amounts of cash on hand (whether or not this is true for each location, it’s what people perceive). This makes convenience stores a prime spot for external theft.  

Solution: Consider keeping as many hot-ticket items for theft behind the counter or behind glass. This could include cigarettes, vapes, or liquor. Convenience stores are also known for cash on hand. Minimize the amount of cash you have on hand — and make sure that guests know that. Put up signage that tells visitors that minimal cash is kept on location. For this method to be successful, however, you need a solid cash-handling team and training to match.

2. Violence

Convenience Store Security Risk: Violence is a problem everywhere, but convenience stores face a disproportionate number of violent incidences. Factors like location, late-night hours, amount of cash on hand, and lack of security can contribute to an increased risk of violence at convenience stores compared to other retail establishments.  

Solution: The first step of dealing with violence is minimizing the appeal of it happening. Do this by having procedures in place to protect the people who work at your stores. Consider a booth that is closed in for employees (the same place you keep those hot-ticket items!). They can stay behind to avoid violence happening to them.  

In the case something does happen, make it easy to call for help and provide information to law enforcement. Install a panic button behind the counter and have security video that is easily accessible and sharable with law enforcement. Make it easy to provide what they need to catch anybody who is violent in your stores.  

3. Shrink

Convenience Store Security Risk: Shrink refers to the difference between the expected inventory levels and the actual inventory levels at your convenience store. The difference between these numbers is impacted by theft, damage, food that spoils or goes bad, or administrative errors.  

But what is the difference between shrink and external theft in this case? The truth is that theft can feed into shrink. If you find a lot of merchandise stolen, that is technically theft but contributes to shrink. However, shrink has so many factors that go into it beyond theft. You must look at it as an individual risk.

Solution: There’s no one solution for shrink — you have to tackle it in a few different methods.  

First, consider keeping the valuables and commonly stolen items in secure areas. You can keep them behind the cash register or in displays that require help to be opened. This makes it harder for people to stick these items in their pocket and walk out with them.

Secondly, keep a close eye on foods that can expire. If you’re throwing out a ton of food that has gone bad, that’s a huge contributor to your shrink levels. If things are getting close to expiration, consider offering them at a sale price. It’s better off the shelf with partial profit than thrown out and earning no profit.

Thirdly, optimize your security camera locations to get the best idea of overall performance and behavior within the store, not just the exits. This shows you what goods are commonly stolen, where food goes bad, if your team properly handles goods, and more — all things that contribute to shrink.

4. Illegal Sales

Convenience Store Security Risk: Convenience stores appeal to a range of clientele. You have parents bringing their kids for a treat, high schoolers coming in on lunch breaks, to adults picking up liquor. Your team has to be extra careful in ensuring all sales are legal, especially considering some items have different legal ages to sell to. You have items like pop for anybody, lottery tickets for people over 18, and cigarettes, vapes, or alcohol for people over 21.  

Solution: Selling underage, even accidentally, can be a huge legal mess for your store. Have a detailed training plan in place for your team who will handle products that are for certain ages only. You can even have examples of what to look for behind cash as a reference.  

Tackle Convenience Store Security Risks with Peace of Mind  

Convenience store security risks are a part of the job. You deal with them across your different locations and have a plan to deal with them — to a certain extent.  

But the more convenience store security protocols you take before the risks become a reality, the better off you are for the long haul. Being proactive instead of reactive ensures smooth business operations and money saved dealing with these risks.

If you need another set of eyes to keep operations as smooth as possible, see how DTiQ can help. You can contact us or book a demo to see our technology in action — and learn more about the risks it can minimize at your convenience store.

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Seven major convenience store security risks — and how franchise owners can prepare for them

The FBI released an analysis of violent crime across the USA, and you may be shocked to learn convenience stores are the fourth most common place for violent crimes to take place — which is why addressing convenience store security risks needs to be a top priority.  

Okay, you may not be shocked. Convenience stores have always had the setting to a bit more risk. The long hours of operations, the cash on hand, and products like alcohol and cigarettes that tend to be easily accessible… it’s a recipe for trouble.  

So how do you up your convenience store security to keep your team and store safe, especially as a franchise owner overseeing numerous locations? And what risks do you need to prepare for?

This article will dive into the internal and external convenience store risks you’ll face regularly while overseeing the operations at numerous locations and — more importantly — how to deal with each.

Internal Convenience Store Security Risks

First let’s look at internal risks. These are the risks that happen within your business, meaning you have a little bit more control over them. Things like technology and training help to minimize internal risks — but you should always have a plan for when these risks do take place.  

1. Internal Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Internal theft is rampant across every industry — it’s truly just part of running a business.  Over 75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once. And convenience stores are no exception. It’s especially risky given the late hours and higher likelihood of your staff being alone at work.

Solution: Implement ways to ensure your employees feel valued right from the get-go. Implement bonuses, training opportunities, extra time off, or a regular schedule for performance-based raises. Happy employees are less likely to steal (or turnover, which is a nice bonus).  

Pro tip: You can get instances of theft sent right to your phone with DTiQ SmartAudit solutions. Suspicious transactions or videos are delivered directly to you, making it easy to catch theft early and stop it in its tracks.

2. Injury/Slip and Fall

Convenience Store Security Risk: The reality of convenience stores is that there are more hours in a day for injuries to take place. People come in at all hours, can be inebriated (which heightens their risk of injury), and staffing may be minimal at later hours, so people are more comfortable being brazen. You need to have precautions in place that minimize the risk of injury. You also need to minimize the amount you’re paying out in settlements.

Solution: The best way to prevent an injury is to minimize the chance of them even happening. Ensure your store (both inside and outside!) is properly cleaned and maintained. Avoid service, when possible, to guests who are too inebriated to properly carry themselves throughout the store. And make sure any messes are cleaned quickly (you know the slushie machines can become a slipping hazard) — this involves cleaning but also having proper warning signs in place.  

Despite your best efforts, however, injuries are going to happen. Security cameras that are “just for show” have no value when proving you did due diligence. Make sure you have cameras that work and provide you with easily accessible security footage.

3. Inability to Oversee Everything

Convenience Store Security Risk: With so many convenience store security risks (we haven’t even gotten to external risks), it can be hard to keep your eyes on everything at one store — imagine trying to see everything that’s going on across different store locations at all times. The hours are long, the business is busy… how do you stay on top of it when you have numerous convenience store locations?

Solution: The right tech stack can make all the difference. An intelligent video solution like DTiQ lets you pull the performance of all your convenience store locations no matter where you are — at any time of day or from any location. You can set up the right tech stack to essentially provide you a snapshot of performance at each individual convenience store location — from store cleanliness to uniform, to the number of refunds and everything in between.  You can even have a “report card” with store performances sent to you, meaning it’s a lot easier to oversee everything at a glance.  

External Convenience Store Security Risks

External risks are the opposite. These are risks that happen to your business and are typically outside of your control. And given the business nature of a c-store, you have to be on your a-game to tackle the external convenience store security risks.  

1. External Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Most convenience stores have long hours, stretching into the early morning and well into the night. Convenience stores are also typically known for having hefty amounts of cash on hand (whether or not this is true for each location, it’s what people perceive). This makes convenience stores a prime spot for external theft.  

Solution: Consider keeping as many hot-ticket items for theft behind the counter or behind glass. This could include cigarettes, vapes, or liquor. Convenience stores are also known for cash on hand. Minimize the amount of cash you have on hand — and make sure that guests know that. Put up signage that tells visitors that minimal cash is kept on location. For this method to be successful, however, you need a solid cash-handling team and training to match.

2. Violence

Convenience Store Security Risk: Violence is a problem everywhere, but convenience stores face a disproportionate number of violent incidences. Factors like location, late-night hours, amount of cash on hand, and lack of security can contribute to an increased risk of violence at convenience stores compared to other retail establishments.  

Solution: The first step of dealing with violence is minimizing the appeal of it happening. Do this by having procedures in place to protect the people who work at your stores. Consider a booth that is closed in for employees (the same place you keep those hot-ticket items!). They can stay behind to avoid violence happening to them.  

In the case something does happen, make it easy to call for help and provide information to law enforcement. Install a panic button behind the counter and have security video that is easily accessible and sharable with law enforcement. Make it easy to provide what they need to catch anybody who is violent in your stores.  

3. Shrink

Convenience Store Security Risk: Shrink refers to the difference between the expected inventory levels and the actual inventory levels at your convenience store. The difference between these numbers is impacted by theft, damage, food that spoils or goes bad, or administrative errors.  

But what is the difference between shrink and external theft in this case? The truth is that theft can feed into shrink. If you find a lot of merchandise stolen, that is technically theft but contributes to shrink. However, shrink has so many factors that go into it beyond theft. You must look at it as an individual risk.

Solution: There’s no one solution for shrink — you have to tackle it in a few different methods.  

First, consider keeping the valuables and commonly stolen items in secure areas. You can keep them behind the cash register or in displays that require help to be opened. This makes it harder for people to stick these items in their pocket and walk out with them.

Secondly, keep a close eye on foods that can expire. If you’re throwing out a ton of food that has gone bad, that’s a huge contributor to your shrink levels. If things are getting close to expiration, consider offering them at a sale price. It’s better off the shelf with partial profit than thrown out and earning no profit.

Thirdly, optimize your security camera locations to get the best idea of overall performance and behavior within the store, not just the exits. This shows you what goods are commonly stolen, where food goes bad, if your team properly handles goods, and more — all things that contribute to shrink.

4. Illegal Sales

Convenience Store Security Risk: Convenience stores appeal to a range of clientele. You have parents bringing their kids for a treat, high schoolers coming in on lunch breaks, to adults picking up liquor. Your team has to be extra careful in ensuring all sales are legal, especially considering some items have different legal ages to sell to. You have items like pop for anybody, lottery tickets for people over 18, and cigarettes, vapes, or alcohol for people over 21.  

Solution: Selling underage, even accidentally, can be a huge legal mess for your store. Have a detailed training plan in place for your team who will handle products that are for certain ages only. You can even have examples of what to look for behind cash as a reference.  

Tackle Convenience Store Security Risks with Peace of Mind  

Convenience store security risks are a part of the job. You deal with them across your different locations and have a plan to deal with them — to a certain extent.  

But the more convenience store security protocols you take before the risks become a reality, the better off you are for the long haul. Being proactive instead of reactive ensures smooth business operations and money saved dealing with these risks.

If you need another set of eyes to keep operations as smooth as possible, see how DTiQ can help. You can contact us or book a demo to see our technology in action — and learn more about the risks it can minimize at your convenience store.

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Seven major convenience store security risks — and how franchise owners can prepare for them

Posted
May 30, 2023
by
Katie McCann
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The FBI released an analysis of violent crime across the USA, and you may be shocked to learn convenience stores are the fourth most common place for violent crimes to take place — which is why addressing convenience store security risks needs to be a top priority.  

Okay, you may not be shocked. Convenience stores have always had the setting to a bit more risk. The long hours of operations, the cash on hand, and products like alcohol and cigarettes that tend to be easily accessible… it’s a recipe for trouble.  

So how do you up your convenience store security to keep your team and store safe, especially as a franchise owner overseeing numerous locations? And what risks do you need to prepare for?

This article will dive into the internal and external convenience store risks you’ll face regularly while overseeing the operations at numerous locations and — more importantly — how to deal with each.

Internal Convenience Store Security Risks

First let’s look at internal risks. These are the risks that happen within your business, meaning you have a little bit more control over them. Things like technology and training help to minimize internal risks — but you should always have a plan for when these risks do take place.  

1. Internal Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Internal theft is rampant across every industry — it’s truly just part of running a business.  Over 75% of employees admit to stealing from their employers at least once. And convenience stores are no exception. It’s especially risky given the late hours and higher likelihood of your staff being alone at work.

Solution: Implement ways to ensure your employees feel valued right from the get-go. Implement bonuses, training opportunities, extra time off, or a regular schedule for performance-based raises. Happy employees are less likely to steal (or turnover, which is a nice bonus).  

Pro tip: You can get instances of theft sent right to your phone with DTiQ SmartAudit solutions. Suspicious transactions or videos are delivered directly to you, making it easy to catch theft early and stop it in its tracks.

2. Injury/Slip and Fall

Convenience Store Security Risk: The reality of convenience stores is that there are more hours in a day for injuries to take place. People come in at all hours, can be inebriated (which heightens their risk of injury), and staffing may be minimal at later hours, so people are more comfortable being brazen. You need to have precautions in place that minimize the risk of injury. You also need to minimize the amount you’re paying out in settlements.

Solution: The best way to prevent an injury is to minimize the chance of them even happening. Ensure your store (both inside and outside!) is properly cleaned and maintained. Avoid service, when possible, to guests who are too inebriated to properly carry themselves throughout the store. And make sure any messes are cleaned quickly (you know the slushie machines can become a slipping hazard) — this involves cleaning but also having proper warning signs in place.  

Despite your best efforts, however, injuries are going to happen. Security cameras that are “just for show” have no value when proving you did due diligence. Make sure you have cameras that work and provide you with easily accessible security footage.

3. Inability to Oversee Everything

Convenience Store Security Risk: With so many convenience store security risks (we haven’t even gotten to external risks), it can be hard to keep your eyes on everything at one store — imagine trying to see everything that’s going on across different store locations at all times. The hours are long, the business is busy… how do you stay on top of it when you have numerous convenience store locations?

Solution: The right tech stack can make all the difference. An intelligent video solution like DTiQ lets you pull the performance of all your convenience store locations no matter where you are — at any time of day or from any location. You can set up the right tech stack to essentially provide you a snapshot of performance at each individual convenience store location — from store cleanliness to uniform, to the number of refunds and everything in between.  You can even have a “report card” with store performances sent to you, meaning it’s a lot easier to oversee everything at a glance.  

External Convenience Store Security Risks

External risks are the opposite. These are risks that happen to your business and are typically outside of your control. And given the business nature of a c-store, you have to be on your a-game to tackle the external convenience store security risks.  

1. External Theft

Convenience Store Security Risk: Most convenience stores have long hours, stretching into the early morning and well into the night. Convenience stores are also typically known for having hefty amounts of cash on hand (whether or not this is true for each location, it’s what people perceive). This makes convenience stores a prime spot for external theft.  

Solution: Consider keeping as many hot-ticket items for theft behind the counter or behind glass. This could include cigarettes, vapes, or liquor. Convenience stores are also known for cash on hand. Minimize the amount of cash you have on hand — and make sure that guests know that. Put up signage that tells visitors that minimal cash is kept on location. For this method to be successful, however, you need a solid cash-handling team and training to match.

2. Violence

Convenience Store Security Risk: Violence is a problem everywhere, but convenience stores face a disproportionate number of violent incidences. Factors like location, late-night hours, amount of cash on hand, and lack of security can contribute to an increased risk of violence at convenience stores compared to other retail establishments.  

Solution: The first step of dealing with violence is minimizing the appeal of it happening. Do this by having procedures in place to protect the people who work at your stores. Consider a booth that is closed in for employees (the same place you keep those hot-ticket items!). They can stay behind to avoid violence happening to them.  

In the case something does happen, make it easy to call for help and provide information to law enforcement. Install a panic button behind the counter and have security video that is easily accessible and sharable with law enforcement. Make it easy to provide what they need to catch anybody who is violent in your stores.  

3. Shrink

Convenience Store Security Risk: Shrink refers to the difference between the expected inventory levels and the actual inventory levels at your convenience store. The difference between these numbers is impacted by theft, damage, food that spoils or goes bad, or administrative errors.  

But what is the difference between shrink and external theft in this case? The truth is that theft can feed into shrink. If you find a lot of merchandise stolen, that is technically theft but contributes to shrink. However, shrink has so many factors that go into it beyond theft. You must look at it as an individual risk.

Solution: There’s no one solution for shrink — you have to tackle it in a few different methods.  

First, consider keeping the valuables and commonly stolen items in secure areas. You can keep them behind the cash register or in displays that require help to be opened. This makes it harder for people to stick these items in their pocket and walk out with them.

Secondly, keep a close eye on foods that can expire. If you’re throwing out a ton of food that has gone bad, that’s a huge contributor to your shrink levels. If things are getting close to expiration, consider offering them at a sale price. It’s better off the shelf with partial profit than thrown out and earning no profit.

Thirdly, optimize your security camera locations to get the best idea of overall performance and behavior within the store, not just the exits. This shows you what goods are commonly stolen, where food goes bad, if your team properly handles goods, and more — all things that contribute to shrink.

4. Illegal Sales

Convenience Store Security Risk: Convenience stores appeal to a range of clientele. You have parents bringing their kids for a treat, high schoolers coming in on lunch breaks, to adults picking up liquor. Your team has to be extra careful in ensuring all sales are legal, especially considering some items have different legal ages to sell to. You have items like pop for anybody, lottery tickets for people over 18, and cigarettes, vapes, or alcohol for people over 21.  

Solution: Selling underage, even accidentally, can be a huge legal mess for your store. Have a detailed training plan in place for your team who will handle products that are for certain ages only. You can even have examples of what to look for behind cash as a reference.  

Tackle Convenience Store Security Risks with Peace of Mind  

Convenience store security risks are a part of the job. You deal with them across your different locations and have a plan to deal with them — to a certain extent.  

But the more convenience store security protocols you take before the risks become a reality, the better off you are for the long haul. Being proactive instead of reactive ensures smooth business operations and money saved dealing with these risks.

If you need another set of eyes to keep operations as smooth as possible, see how DTiQ can help. You can contact us or book a demo to see our technology in action — and learn more about the risks it can minimize at your convenience store.

THE AUTHOR
Katie McCann
Manager, Content & Communications
Meet Katie, the creative force behind content and communications for DTiQ. When she's not at work, you'll find her soaking up the great outdoors with her four-legged sidekick or breaking it down in a spin class. But it's not all hustle – she knows how to kick back and enjoy some quality time with her friends, especially when there's charcuterie involved.

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