When it comes to armed robbery, a number of factors make quick-serve restaurants especially attractive to bandits (only a quarter of whom are ever apprehended). By adapting a few traditional bank features–including the external transaction window and bullet resistant pass-thru drawer–bullet proof companies like Total Security Solutions are making an often thankless job significantly safer.
PERFECT ROBBERY TARGETS
In contrast to traditional retail robbery targets–such as convenience stores and gas stations–fast-food establishments are much more likely to have cash on hand: Over the course of the past decade service stations and convenience stores have shifted almost entirely to debit and credit card transactions, with protocols in place to periodically drop any meaningful sum of cash into a safe inaccessible to workers. Since credit card use has only relatively recently become possible at fast food eateries, many patrons still drive up with cash in hand for their burgers and fries. Large sums can build up in registers, and are ultimately counted down late at night by managers who have spent the last 8, 10, or 12 hours on their feet working over friers and grills. Additionally, since 2007, many quick-serve restaurants have begun keeping later hours, often staying open past 2am and having staff arrive as early as 4am–in other words, up to half their workday may occur during the peak robbery hours (8pm to 3am). To top it all off, late-night fast food restaurants are usually located near expressways and far from city centers, slowing the arrival of law enforcement and making a quick getaway all the easier.
ADAPTING BANK SECURITY TO FAST FOOD
It’s clearly dangerous to expose workers to potential assailants during peak armed-robbery hours. Locking the doors is a start, but conventional drive-thru windows are far from bullet proof. And most drive-thru windows are fully operable, so staff can easily hand orders to customers. A sliding window also puts workers at a substantial risk of harm; take as an example this famous “McNugget Rampage” incident:
The best solution is to lock up by 8pm and conduct all late-night business through a UL-rated bullet resistant transaction window. Unfortunately these are generally intended for bank use, and are either equipped with simple cash trays–far too shallow to hand over anything bigger than a small fries–or large, expensive interlocking package passers, which are very challenging for a motorist to operate while leaning through her car window. Bullet resistant pass-thru drawers are, for most situations, the best solution.
PASS-THRU DRAWERS AT THE DRIVE-THRU
Pass-thru drawers are mounted through the existing wall below a ballistic transaction window. Although pass-thru drawers were initially developed for bank use, even standard bank models are roomy enough to convey most sacks of burgers or tacos. Many manufacturers have directly addressed the needs of quick-serve restauranteurs by specially adapting their drawers for fast food service. For example, several of the Shuresafe models favored by Total Security Solutions are available with free-standing or integrated cup holders. These pass-thru drawers make it easy to give customers their hot coffee and fountain beverages, spill free, and can accommodate everything from a small sack of burgers to a jumbo bucket of chicken.