Franchise Success Call

My Restaurant Manager Was Shot!

people safety Sep 14, 2017

Having one of your people shot in an in-store robbery gone terribly wrong is not something you ever expect. But it happened to me!

It was my second week of training as the new Director of Operations of a very well-known QSR brand, and, like all new external hire leaders, I was going through the traditional brand operations orientation at a training store.

When I started that day, I had no idea that I was going to wind up outside the hospital’s intensive care unit waiting to hear how my manager was doing – a manager I had not met and whose name I heard that day for the first time. I hadn’t even “officially” taken over the region but there I was, standing outside the hospital emergency room hoping that this manager was going to make it and thinking about what I needed to do to make sure that this never happened again. Not on my watch!

Many things went wrong that day. There was a breach of safety, a bad guy decided to do the wrong thing and after that; things went very bad, very fast!

When one finds him/herself in a critical situation, we usually act on instinct and not on a conscious planned reaction. Many times, instinct fails us because it is not well informed. That is why having a safety and security plan along with thorough training is critical!

Do you have a clear safety and security plan for your restaurant team and is your team well trained on it?

Your safety and security plan should include all of the necessary elements so that every aspect of the team’s safety is covered. This is the only way to know that they are prepared to confront any situation. It doesn’t guarantee 100% safety, but as a restaurant owner it’s your moral obligation to protect your employees and it protects you from being negligent should something bad occur in your business.

Here are the elements that your Safety Strategy plan must cover:

  1. People Safety Plan – This should include every procedure and standard to follow to keep people proactively safe. Things like background checks, requiring slip resistant shoes, security policies, cash handling policies, opening and closing procedures, etc.
  2. Accident Plan - These are the processes and procedures to follow if an accident like a fall or a cut does occur. Who, what, when, where, why and how to prevent it.
  3. Incident Plan – These are the processes and procedures to follow if an incident like robbery or assault occurs. Who, what, when, where, why and how to prevent it.
    Procedures must be clear, complete and reviewed during initial training and with the entire team every 6 months or so to keep the information fresh, inform new team members and remind everyone what is at stake if procedures are not followed.

The manager from my region was badly hurt, had many surgeries, and endured a very long recovery. He never came back to work and I have no doubt that he will carry physical and mental scars from that experience forever! Sadly, what happened to him could have been prevented if proper procedures had been followed. As the leader in your organization, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that your teams are prepared, they clearly understand expectations, and what the consequences are if proper safety and security measures are not followed.  

Being in operations for over 25 years, I have seen lots of bad things happen in our industry. I truly believe that we don't spend enough time, money and resources to keep our people safe because we think that it is not going to happen to us...until it does. This event was one more reason to make sure that my restaurant teams had the information and the training they needed to be safe!  

Thankfully, no one in my stores was ever hurt again. Will it happen in yours?

Wishing you great success!


Aicha Bascaro is a 30-year veteran in the franchise industry and the author of the #1 Amazon Best Selling book “The Franchise Fix”. Aicha has created a Food Service Business Systems Assessment for business owners to be able to identify if they have the right systems in place to increase sales, reduce costs and make more money! Get your free copy HERE.