By Bob Johns
A conversation with Panera Bread’s Jeff Levitt.
We have seen the role of the loss prevention (LP) professional change from one of “company police” to an integral part of a successful business. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Levitt, LPC, CPP, asset protection with Panera Bread, to discuss how he is handling the evolving role of LP professional.
What are some of the differences in LP between traditional retail and in restaurants?
A lot of what is going on in restaurants is the same as what is going on in retail. The big difference is the pace of restaurants versus retail. For retail, you have periods where you may do 60 percent of your business in six weeks, where the restaurant business is spread out more evenly throughout the year. The big thin, though, is that loss prevention is about people, and that doesn’t change no matter what part of retail you are involved in.
When I was at Toys R’ Us, I did not have to worry about armed robbery very much, whereas at Panera, that is a major concern, not even so much for the potential losses as the welfare of our associates. My main goal is to keep our associates safe by creating a safer environment for them. We are not as much of a target as some of the chains that are open extremely long hours, but we still have to make sure we are able to capture evidence in the event of a crime. Video is a key component of deterring both internal theft and external robbery. At the same time, it can be invaluable in prosecution and investigation.
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