With more than 2,200 locations and 41,000 associates, Panda Express is America’s largest family-owned and operated Asian dining concept. Challenged with losses at the point of sale (POS) and growing false alarm penalties, the company turned to Interface Security Systems, a managed services provider delivering managed network, interactive alarm monitoring, video surveillance and business intelligence solutions to help them decrease shrink and resolve security inadequacies.
Panda store managers faced continuous distractions from false alarms, receiving calls from the legacy alarm company at all hours of the night and incurring fines from local law enforcement for needless police dispatches.
“When an alarm went off overnight, our managers would always err on the side of caution, send police in, or go in themselves. That was dangerous in itself if there was actually a burglary happening inside the store,” said Lyle Forcum, executive director of asset protection at Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of Panda Express. “Additionally, we were losing significant amounts of money on false alarm charges.”
To address the false alarm challenge, Interface installed an IP interactive monitoring system with live video and two-way audio, which offers a virtual, guard-like level of protection in every Panda location. Operators in the Interface monitoring center instantly verify any alarm from a Panda store with live streaming video, eliminating false alarms.
Panda had also implemented a customized, exception-based POS reporting system, which notifies Panda management whenever a suspicious transaction takes place at the register. Interface took the tool a step further by integrating it with the video surveillance and alarm systems at each of the Panda locations, allowing management to immediately connect to the video of any problematic transaction. The solution enables loss prevention professionals to quickly identify anomalies and prevent shrink. Top offenders from thousands of employees doing millions of transactions can easily be bubbled up to the top. The combination of business intelligence and video surveillance resulted in a massive reduction in shrink and cash shortage at the register.
With Interface, Panda has experienced vast improvements in security for its associates, customers and assets. Forcum said that Panda is saving over $100K per year in false alarm fees and thousands of dollars per month per store in reduced shrink at the POS. The business intelligence provided allows for focused tracking and improved store operations, including people development, store performance data comparison, optimized store efficiencies, monitored intrusion data, and cash tracking. Panda and Interface have successfully partnered to create a potent security and loss prevention tool in the Quick Service Restaurant space.
“Interface is a partner that's been collaborating with us on our needs from day one,” said Forcum. “The company understands what we need, and then it develops solutions towards that end. It doesn’t just come up with an off-the-shelf product and expect us to purchase it. Interface has shown a real commitment to our business. We meet with them regularly to collaborate on new initiatives and on emerging issues that Panda faces. The company has truly become part of that solution voluntarily and eagerly. Other business partners do not do that. Interface is, in fact, a true part of the Panda team.”